Job creep is a very real concern for nannies and household employees, one that can very easily lead to burnout and eventual turnover as you’re no longer capable of handling the pressure of new responsibilities as they pile on. While job creep can be frustrating and exhausting, it can also be quite difficult to approach your employer about the issue. Managing the balancing act between making your concerns be heard and avoiding a nasty scene with your employers isn’t easy, but it usually is possible.
Schedule a Meeting to Discuss the Matter
It’s easy to let the pressure of yet another new request overwhelm you into making an off-the-cuff comment about job creep just as your employer is getting ready to walk out the door for the day, but it probably will do more harm than good. Asking your employer to schedule a meeting when you can sit down together for a discussion will not only give you time to assemble your thoughts into a coherent statement, but also to calm down and approach the situation with all the grace and professional poise that you have at your disposal. Your employers are more likely to give credence to your claims if you handle your increasing responsibilities in a manner that fosters a dialog, rather than giving into your frustration and becoming overwrought.
When you have your employers sitting in front of you, patiently waiting to discuss your concerns, you can get a case of nerves that makes it difficult to approach the situation, or even a sense of guilt if you enjoy an otherwise strong working relationship that you’re worried about negatively affecting. On the other side of the coin, it doesn’t take much to get carried away and begin exaggerating the issue if you feel that your concerns aren’t being heard. Regardless of the reaction, it’s important that you stay calm and are absolutely honest about what you’re experiencing, as it’s the only way to make sure that a new agreement can be reached.
More often than not, your employers will not realize that they’re adding to your list of responsibilities or asking you to do things that aren’t typically part of a nanny’s duties. When they’re approached with your calm, rational and understanding attitude regarding curbing job creep or making a new compensation arrangement and drawing up a new nanny agreement, they’re far more likely to make the effort to accommodate your needs and understand your perspective on the issue.
Use Your Nanny Contract to Your Advantage
A written work agreement, or “nanny contract,” is the single most powerful tool that a nanny has in her arsenal when it comes to staving off disputes and putting an end to job creep, especially if her responsibilities and expected duties are clearly outlined in the document. Presenting your work agreement at the meeting you call concerning your worries about job creep and burn out will not only help to underline that you are being asked to complete chores and manage aspects of the household that are contractually not under your purview, but also that you’re going above and beyond your original work agreement and are not receiving an increased level of compensation.
Offer Reasonable Solutions
When your employers are asking you to manage aspects of their household that they’re not currently capable of managing or are increasing your duties to include chores that they don’t have time to complete, you may find them more willing to work with you on solving the problem if you can offer some practical solutions, such as splitting some of the extra duties for a slight pay raise or helping them to find a part-time household manager than can take care of these tasks while you focus on continuing to provide top-notch private care for their children.
Respectfully Address the Issue of Compensation
If you’re willing to take on the new set of responsibilities that you’ve been handed but will only entertain the idea if you receive a raise in pay, you should be cautious and respectful when addressing that issue. Stating that you refuse to take on more work without a salary increase can easily be seen as confrontational and off-putting; when faced with the choice between increasing your salary to meet your demands and simply finding another nanny that will happily do so, employers that feel as if they’ve been ambushed may opt for the latter.