DEAR MISS MANNERS: My people-pleasing nature is at war with my desire to chase my dreams.
Several months ago, I started working for a lovely family as their nanny. I have grown to love each member of the household as dear friends. However, the job no longer aligns with my financial goals and energy budget.
At the time of my interview, I was clear about vacation time, guaranteed hours, sick time and my need to leave promptly to work on my business that I’m creating.
It took them several months to “review” the contract I thought we’d agreed upon. They removed all paid time off and created an IOU system for when I need to go home sick. This is illegal to do in my state.
The contract has since expired, and they keep mentioning our sitting down to review a new one. The last “family sit-down” resulted in husband and wife yelling at each other, further keeping me past my allotted time.
I am now regularly kept there two to three hours late, unpaid, because they “lost track of time.” Due to many comments I have heard, said to both me and their kids, I do not believe they will stay in touch after my employment.
I have thought about bringing up my old expectations, but they seem to lack the ability to listen to my needs. Everything is negotiated with offers of things I do not need or want. They also triangulate their issues with me in the middle.
How do I gracefully exit this position now, so that I don’t continue to sacrifice my business goals for this family of likely future strangers that I once cared deeply for?
GENTLE READER: How do you quit? Tell them you have so enjoyed working for them but have decided, now that your contract has expired, to concentrate on your business full-time. Then leave.
Miss Manners would have advised this even if you wanted to extend your employment with them.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: A co-worker walked into my office while I was in the middle of a task. I said “one moment, please” while I finished typing the line I was on.
She seemed taken aback by my asking for time to finish something so as not to lose my place.
What does etiquette dictate one do in this instance? Drop what you are doing and immediately attend to someone who walks into your office? Or is a request for a moment appropriate?
GENTLE READER: Entering another person’s office without an invitation is an imposition, and therefore asking that person to wait is not impolite.
That said, Miss Manners realizes that the word “co-worker” — which implies an equality of rank — is sometimes used indiscriminately. And that not all bosses are enlightened enough to think that a brief wait may be in their own interest, as it increases their worker’s efficiency.
Of course, if you did not want to be interrupted, you could be truly revolutionary and close your office door.
Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, firstname.lastname@example.org; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.
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Author: Judith Martin