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REALLY need to look for a good helper to replace my current one!

  1. #1
    fennho's Avatar
    fennho is offline Registered User
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    REALLY need to look for a good helper to replace my current one!

    Hi all

    I really need to look for a good replacement helper. My current one is really getting on my nerves. There are times i hesitate in changing becos

    1) i felt pity for her cos she's here to earn a living
    2) felt that she's already used to our household and practices

    but she's really slow and lots of things. Have repeated countless times certain things but she kept ignoring them. Either that or she will forget about things. Regularly. I have a baby that has just turned 1 and becoming more active. She is not confident of handling babies. And i didnt even need or tell her to. She is here jus to be my housekeeper. The only good thing about her is she doesnt steal. But we're so tired of having to remind her basic stuffs time and time again.

    Have interviewed 2 other which we like (our requirements are pretty basic). But it seems to us that these helpers prefer Caucasian families altho we hv told them we're really very easygoing and would really like to leave the housekeeping for them to handle.

    Since many expats are leaving, anyone have got any good helpers to recommend? Naturally, we'd like to have someone who's trustworthy, reliable and good with kids AND who do not mind working for a Chinese family.

    Are there any good agencies to recommend as well?

  2. #2
    Konradsmom is offline Registered User
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    Hi fen, well you and I seem to run into the same problems !!!

    I tried interviewing a few Filipina ladies and they all wanted to work for Caucasian families ! I think their concern is that chinese families will not be able to provide them with the same level of comfort and benefits which may partly be true. Given the average chinese family lives in generally smaller flats), itmay be hard for any particular family to provide them with their own TV or their own washrooms. I had a lady who asked me for a "guaranteed bonus" and I told her frankly that I dont' even get one at work. I find I have high standards to meet which I frankly can't.

    I ended up hiring indonesian helpers but generally their English abilities are a bit weaker. I'm not sure this is a concern for you but I have had mine for over 1 year and so far everything works out fine. I don't have very high expectations either but I find that my indonesian helpers have the following traits:-

    - generally more prudent with your money re groceries. They actually would walk farther to buy stuff at the local pharmacy instead of parkn'shop coz its cheaper.
    - more willing to take instructions , they're generaly not too opinionated
    - not intrusive, meaning they don't pry into your business or family affairs

    I have a helper to whom I delegate all matters regarding the baby to and she has been great. Our son loves her and I can trust her with taking him out to the park or to playgroup all by herself.

    Mind you, not all are perfect and I have heard the same complaints from other friends who hire indonesian helpers ( mine has certainly been guilty of these faults too occasionally ), but you may have a larger population to choose from.

  3. #3
    lesliefu is offline Registered User
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    Hi Fen,

    Helpers generally prefer working for Caucasian families because they are more "free" than us Chinese. In my experience, I find that working with my helper, you have to write everything down - nothing is too stupid to write down because what happens is, they will remember for several weeks and then all of a sudden forget! I don't know what it is about them, perhaps they are feeling homesick...my sister's gone through 2 helpers in the past year - they both looked real good on paper, and actually one was very good...however she would say bad things behind my sisters back to the other helpers even though my sister was very good to her (her helpers have a TV, fridge, own bathroom for her helpers, and she is buying them food nearly every day). The other one also looked real good on paper, but when she came she told my sister that she lied on her application form - my sister has a 2 year old daughter and didn't want to hire someone who had children, or at least one that had a 2 year old daughter because they would feel sad. The funny thing is that this 2nd helper had a daughter with the same name as my sister's daughter! Everytime she worked with my sister's daughter she would feel sad and not get her work done. So, I think it's just good luck if you find someone good.

    If the helper working for you is OK -then I would recommend trying ways to work with her, to help her remember first before finding another one which you will have to train, etc. Good luck! :)

  4. #4
    Konradsmom is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by lesliefu View Post
    Hi Fen,

    ...her helpers have a TV, fridge, own bathroom for her helpers, and she is buying them food nearly every day.....
    Wow ! this is such luxury !! honestly I have difficulty coming to terms with helpers who ask for "their own" facilities. I think a separate bedroom ( and bathroom if I can provide it) is quite reasonable, but when I first heard of them asking for theiir own TV and fridge I was a bit flabbergasted. I wasn't prepared to provide these more luxurious items, when I myself am counting every $ that is spent in the household to stretch it. At these difficult times I have stopped buying things for myself and our home unless its necessary...In guess I am really just one of those very average chinese families .

  5. #5
    carang's Avatar
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    for our helper's birthday present one year, we gave her 1/2 a small tv. she really wanted one and I told her i'd go 1/2. because of this, she did not pick out the most expensive model, she saved her money and paid the other half.

    for her christmas present, we went to Direct Sales Centre and bought her the cheapest DVD they had...$255.

    it doesn't have to be the best model out there, but it is nice for her.

    we have NOT ordered any special channels for her and she doesn't even have a NOW connection in her bedroom. however, we are in the process of hiring her husband, so we may get a connection for them as a bonus.

    the problem i have with giving $ bonuses is that they often don't use it on themselves, they send it all home. i don't want to reward her hard work so that a friend of her step-sister-in-law can buy a new tv, if you know what i mean? i do still give cash bonuses sometimes, but not as often as i used to.

  6. #6
    carang's Avatar
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    fennho,
    a helper should be there to make your life easier. if it's not working out that way, then maybe you do need to find someone else.

    however, my first suggestion would be this...

    on friday morning, tell your helper that because she's been with you for XX months, you and your hubby would like to have a meeting with her on saturday to discuss how things are going.

    we did this with our helper after her first 6 months with us. i found at that time that she was having a bit of an attitude but i was reluctant to fire her.

    after i told her that we wanted to meet with her on saturday, her behaviour changed INSTANTLY! when saturday came around, i started by saying that these are the things i think she was doing well.....blah blah blah.

    then i moved on to areas that i thought needed improvement. i never said, "i think you suck at such and such." what i said was this,
    " now that baby #1 is 6 months, his needs are changing as are ours. because i'm going back to work, i need to know that you are comfortable with him and that all of his needs are being met. he is getting to be more active and because of this, i want ..... etc"

    so, it was constructive criticism rather than outright accusations. she responded very well and has been with us for 4 years and about to sign another contract in a couple of weeks.

    there are times that i become frustrated with some of her idiosyncrasies, but i try to remember that no one is perfect. my biggest peeve right now is that when she covers left-overs in the fridge, she tries to save cling wrap and doesn't cover htem properly. so, instead of saving us money, it's costing us as we end up having to throw the food away!

    we have now spoken to her and hope to see an improvement.

    good luck!

  7. #7
    fennho's Avatar
    fennho is offline Registered User
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    hi everyone

    thanks for your input :)

    Konradsmom
    err...i dont really like to generalise helpers by their nationalities lah. In an ideal world, i only want one that can communicate with me, honest, trustworthy and head not up in the clouds!

    carang
    i am open to rewards, but first and foremost, the performance needs to be remotely good even before we think of rewards, no? Already, my helper is TOTALLY not involved in the caring of the baby. I do EVERYTHING where baby is concern, including, bathing, feeding, cooking, and even marketing (buying ingredients). As for cooking adult food, when my mom is around (which is very often), she does the cooking. So her job is merely to keep the house clean and tidy. And even that she can forget things. I have talked to her nicely, calmly, reprimanded her sternly, NOTHING works. Hubby and i concluded, she's jus as stoned as can be. It's like having a robot at home. U press one button, u get the pre-programmed action, otherwise, nothing, NADA. It's really frustrating. There're many many instances that really have me wishing to strangle myself. And so we decided to look for another one. The ONLY saving grace of her is she doesnt steal. Have left money around, but it was intact. She was not honest however. Wash clothes and didnt remove stain, she will not come forward and tell me, she will hide it inside the drawer and hope i dont find it. There was once she ruined one of my baby's bib and becos i have alot of bibs, she also hid it in the dryer until i asked her about it after awhile. :( Sigh. Many more instances.

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