Sunday, 2 May 2010

Moving On Again

Today I was offered a job. I hadn't applied for it - well, I had applied for it at the beginning of February and hadn't been given an interview. I was disappointed. I was told my frequent job changes had been against me plus I was overqualified for the job. They thought a teacher would not be content with a housekeeper/cook job.

The person they appointed is leaving. She has been given a chance of a home of her own. She's been looking after other people all her working life and at the age of 60 didn't want to turn the offer down.

When I applied for the job I loved the area - a small country village just outside Taunton in Somerset. I've always wanted to live in the country and have never managed it yet. The job is part time, working weekends plus a few hours on Fridays and Mondays. It's a live-in position looking after 3 elderly ladies in a manor house.

I've been visiting my Mother this weekend and although she's said she doesn't want to live in a home for the elderly, I wanted to visit it and thought if she saw it, she might decide it was a lovely place and change her mind. She doesn't need care and this place doesn't cater for that but they do help people once it has become their home. Mum liked the place but doesn't want to move, however, they offered the job to me to save them advertising it again.

So now I'll give you the background on why I've (almost) decided to take it.

Last Sunday night my employers came back from a business trip to China. They had been away 11 days. I had not had a day off in 14 days and quite frankly I was exhausted. They had only planned on being away for 7 days but the volcanic ash extended their stay. When they got back it became clear they weren't planning on giving me a day off until the following weekend (which would have been 19 days without a break) but jet-lag caught up with them and they didn't go into work on the Monday. I stayed in my room and caught up with tasks I had promised people I would do but hadn't been able to due to not having any time to do them. I went down in the afternoon and the youngest girl asked me to do an activity with her. I panicked and asked the mum if I could please have the day off because I had so much to do. She relented. The next day the dad was ill and spent it on the sofa so I just took the day off, but I did relent and offered to get them all some food at lunchtime.

I had been given my normal wages but no extra. After releasing the resentment I felt about the whole situation using the violet flame and EFT, I sent the parents an email asking to be paid for my time. I told them my wages for that time period worked out at £1.50 and hour. I gave them the going rate for 24 hour care and mentioned it was common to give double time pay for weekends worked over and above the week's work. I deducted 2 week's pay I'd already been given, plus one weekend's double time because I'd just had two days off after the 14 days and deducted another £100 because the house hadn't been as clean as the mum had wanted, so I was asking for an extra £500.

The next day they had a talk with me about my request. It was refused. The reasons were
  • They had told me when I first started that I would be getting no extra money for trips because the girls were at school and the time for the (weekend business trips which they were talking about) would be balanced out by having time off whilst the girls were at school
  • It was my choice to educate them at home. He said I had insisted and he hadn't wanted to take the girls out of school when he did. So therefore it was my fault that I hadn't had any breaks whilst they were away.
  • It wasn't their fault the trip was extended
  • He had provided me with a nice car, and even though it was to take the girls places it was available for my use when I had time off. (I reiterated that I had paid for all petrol that I had used for my own trips.)
  • They couldn't understand how I could have been tired because I was allowed to do anything I wanted during the days (apart from having a break from looking after the girls of course).
  • They didn't have rules for me to follow.
  • They also threw in that they thought it was odd behaviour of mine to stay in my room each evening and not watch TV with them all in the lounge.
I explained that as an introvert I renewed my energy by being on my own, whereas extroverts renew their energy by being with others. I also told them that whilst I appreciated all he had said (although I disagreed that he had taken the girls out of school at my insistence) I felt that another person who had a high enough self esteem would also be asking to be recompensed fairly for the work they did. He then went on to tell me that some young girl they had interviewed for the job before, had worked from 7 am to 7 pm each day for £85 a week. I said that she probably wanted to leave to get more money.

Whilst I was still in my resentful phase I had decided to get another job, but after 'the talk' I'd decided to stay because I like the girls and the mum and I did have autonomy over how I spent the days and the car is lovely, and no family is perfect, and it's a big hassle applying for jobs.

When the mum gave me my wages she mimed zipped lips and gave me an extra £40. Quite a lot short of the £500 I asked for but was probably as much as she could get away with without questions being asked.

So the people at Thurloxton Manor are waiting to see if when I give in my notice the dad will relent and cough up the cash.