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Need help with your helper?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    Lightbulb Need help with your helper?

    Living with live-in help may seem like a dream, but it can be a difficult transition if you have never employed home help before.

    If you have questions, problems or praises about your helper, I'd be happy to help.
    Julie Jacobson
    Author of Helper's Helper Tips and advice for employers and their domestic helpers.

  2. #2
    armstroe's Avatar
    armstroe is offline Registered User
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    Hi Julie

    I bought your book about 6 months ago - I didn't know you could reasonably expect your helper to do so much!

    Up until this week we had the same helper for almost 6 years, and after reading the Helper's Helper I decided to try out a few suggestions, such as developing a schedule of cleaning chores around the house.

    Our circumstances have changed a lot since our helper joined us (another child, two cats, bigger apartment, and finally me not working fulltime anymore). Your book really helped me clarify what sort of domestic support we now need, and now we are in the process of looking again it's going to make our job of setting out our expectations so much easier.

    We were babes in the woods 6 years ago, and our helper really "trained" us. I highly recommend your book as a tool to first time employers (and people like us!). I still think there is probably a need for a similar book for employers too. Any plans to write one????

  3. #3
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    Thank you.

    I am thrilled to hear you have found "Heler's Helper" so useful. That's why I wrote it!

    I have started wrting a new book, more targeted to employers for the US market, as that is where I am living now. But I am pleased to report life is very full and it may take some time.

    Again thanks for your support.

    Kind regards Julie
    Julie Jacobson
    Author of Helper's Helper Tips and advice for employers and their domestic helpers.

  4. #4
    rani's Avatar
    rani is offline Administrator
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    Armstroe,

    I know what you mean. We employed our first full-time helper just before D was born and although she's been great with D I would have to admit she's also "trained us" very well.
    Her contract ends in a couple of months and I'm going to start interviewing new helpers shortly. Armed with my copy of "Helper's Helper" I'm hoping I'll do a better job at selecting the right person. I've also made out a list of Questions that I failed to ask last time when interviewing. Here are a few:

    Do you smoke? (always forget to ask this)
    Do you have a boyfriend? (Will we be getting calls from drunk boyfriends in the middle of the night?)
    Do you have any outstanding debts? ( I know I'll probably won't get an honest answer. but no harm in trying)

    Julie, can you recommend any other?

    Thanks
    Rani
    Founder of GeoBaby.Com

  5. #5
    loupou is offline Baby Guru
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    New Territories
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    Suggestions

    Hi,

    I would suggest trying to find a woman over 30 who is either married, widowed, or divorced, with children over 10 years old. With that sort of "demographic" you have less to fear about calls from boyfriends (drunken or otherwise).

    I also like to ask them an open ended question about how they would discipline a child.

    For example "Let's say you were in the playground and it's time to go home, so you can start dinner. But my child says no, he wants to play. What would you do?" [this is a question for people whose kids are over 2].

    Are you willing to follow my schedule?

    What do you like to do in your spare time?

    Also, since many helpers from the Philippines are very fervent Christians, it might be well to ask her about prosyletzing [sp?]. Since I go to church and so forth, I don't mind my helper talking to my kids about Jesus (or not much) and religion. But, other people might object to this strongly, so you might want to ask her about that sort of thing, or make it very clear from the begining that you do *not* want her to discuss religion with your kids.

    Please name a few dishes that you know how to prepare.

    Can you speak some Cantonese? [very useful if she needs to go to the market, or for example, deal with workmen who come in to fix things in the flat, delivery people, etc.]
    Last edited by loupou; 03-14-2004 at 01:55 PM.

  6. #6
    rani's Avatar
    rani is offline Administrator
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    Loupou,

    Thanks again for the great advice. Our helper is over 35 and a widow so I kinda overlooked asking about bfs.

    Questions on discipline...excellent! Will definitely add this to my list.

    Thanks again.

    Rani
    Founder of GeoBaby.Com

  7. #7
    armstroe's Avatar
    armstroe is offline Registered User
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    Hi Rani and Loupou

    I am still a babe in the wood having just read your questions!

    Maybe other members could throw in their top questions as well.

    I'm actually thinking of using an agency this time too. Last time our helper came to us from a friend, so you feel you are inheriting certain conditions (well I did). Obviously it is nice to be in the position of having a friend's reliable reference, particularly over issues of how children are treated, and honesty issues.

    I guess there are no guarantees that you are going to get truthful answers always, but like the corporate interview techniques, there must be some good questions you can ask to get a more honest picture of the person you are going to entrust with your children and home.

    Any more suggestions?

  8. #8
    aldougie is offline Registered User
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    Discipline should be somewhere near the top of the list. I sent our previous helper on the Matilda Helpers Course and they cover discipline. I discovered that she thought that screaming at a child having a tantrum was the best way to sort it out!

    For me the most important thing was to ascertain whether she would follow my routines and the way that we interact with our daughter. We like rough and tumble and I couldn't bear the thought of someone cooing 'baby baby' at her or rocking her to sleep so we spent some time coming up with various scenarios that we could ask her about.

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