As the New Year approaches the Cambridge Nanny Group‘s Nanny e-newsletter will focus common employment questions and job trends. Do you feel lost and unsure of how to go about finding your next job? It’s never a bad time to kick start your career or revitalize your job search. Make a few career-related New Year’s resolutions and commit yourself to achieving career success in 2013.

Nanny Jobs: 10 Signs You Have a Bad Boss 

Many nannies have disagreements with their employers  from time to time, and most families are great employers,  but here are 10 signs that you have a truly bad boss, the kind worth getting away from. And if you’re a parent and recognize yourself in any of the below, it’s time to immediately send yourself to boss rehab!

Don’t sacrifice your health or self-esteem. Limiting contact may help you personally but isn’t usually a good professional move. It may be time for you to look for a new position.

1. Yelling.  Employer who yell actually diminish their own authority because they look out of control. After all, a Boss confident in her own authority doesn’t need to yell because she has far more effective tools available to her.  Even if  a Boss is not  screaming angrily at an employee, speaking loudly can damage workplace morale.  Nannies: Don’t yell, and don’t work for yellers.

2. No guidance  Plans. Who needs them. If your employer doesn’t communicate clear, concrete goals for your nanny work, and convey to you what success in your position would look like, she’s falling down on one of her most important jobs.  Nannies:  Insist your family prepares a nanny family agreement.  Otherwise it’s like starting a job without being told the job duties and responsibilities and what’s expected of you.

3. Unreliability.  Your boss is consistently late and does not respect your time.  The employer tells the nanny she’ll be home by 5pm – she arrives at 7pm.  She promises to make sure she’s home by 3:15 because the nanny has a dentist appointment  – but she doesn’t arrive until after 4pm.   Of course things come up and flexibility is the hallmark of a great nanny, but if your boss is almost always unreliable thats a huge problem. Nannies: you need to be able to rely on your boss to do what she says she’s going to do, just as she needs to rely on you for the same.

5. Unreasonable demands. Holding staffers to a high standard is a good thing. But demanding people work over the weekends, or asking your nanny to work on all major holidays,  or demanding that an employee do the truly impossible, is the mark of a tyrant.  Some bad bosses  hold the nanny accountable for all behavior of the child – all of it – the good, bad, and the ugly.  A family who points to the nanny anytime something is less than perfect with little junior is certainly making an unreasonable demand.

6. Indirectness. When a boss sugarcoats to the point that her message is missed, or presents requirements as mere suggestions, a nanny  ends up confused about expectations, and the manager ends up frustrated that her “suggestions” weren’t acted upon.  A good boss is clear and concise in communication.

7. Ruling by fear.  Employer who rule through rigid control, negativity,  stone-walling and a climate of anxiety and fear don’t trust that they can get things done any other way. Of course, it backfires in the end because fearful employees won’t bring up new ideas for fear of being attacked and won’t be honest about problems. Moreover, very few great nannies with options are going to want to work for a fear-based employer.

8. Defensiveness. Employers who respond defensively when their decisions are questioned end up quashing dissent and making nannies less likely to suggest new and different ways of doing things.  Bosses who are secure in their authority aren’t threatened by dissent, and they recognize that others’ ideas are sometimes better than their own.

9. Drama. A good manager minimizes drama, rather than causing it. It’s normal for all of us to react somehow to stress and for our emotions to manifest themselves. The difference between a good manager and a bad manager, however, is that a bad manager sends signals that the stressful circumstances are controlling him or her and not the inverse. This isn’t to say that a good manager need exude the emotional output a buddhist monk; instead, good managers maintain control and don’t allow stress to dictate their behavior. Bad managers do the opposite.

10. They don’t deliver tough messages – Until it’s too late. If your manager avoids conflict and tough conversations, chances are high that employees don’t hear much feedback and problems don’t get addressed – like never.  Good employers deliver tough messages — but they do so within the context of a relationship built on trust. If you’re hearing that your employer was dissatisfied with your performance on the day they are letting you go there was a huge communication disconnect and it’s probably in everyone’s best interest that you find a family that’s a better fit.

Other signs may include:

  • Ignores the classic, time honored cliché, “Praise in public, criticize in private.”
  • Doesn’t support you when something goes wrong.
  • Fault finder. Constantly complains about what’s wrong or incorrect.
  • Micro-manages and needs to know everything.
  • acts paranoid and is overly neurotic.
  • Jumps to conclusions without getting all the facts or information.
  • If it isn’t her idea, then it can’t be good.
  • Implements two-faced attacks.
  • Tells sarcastic jokes or teases.
  • Breaks confidences and gossips.

If you have a bad boss,  it’s important to remember not to sacrifice your health or self-esteem. Polite confrontation should always be your first move. However, a bad boss lacking supervisory skills may not recognize your attempts to make things better. Limiting contact may help you personally but isn’t usually a good professional move.   The best solution is to look for employment elsewhere.  You’ll be happier in the long-run.

Love your job?  You should! If you have a phenomenal employer be sure to take the time to tell them.  Words of appreciation go a long way in building a mutual fulfilling relationship.

In the next nanny e-newsletter we’ll tackle what it it means to be a great nanny employee.   Remember, employment success it’s a two-way street.




Cambridge Nanny Group


Cambridge Nanny Group is Chicago’s leading nanny agency.



amanda hargrove