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Terminating Dishonest Helper - attached toddler

  1. #33
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    It's important to be careful when using the term "they"..."they do this" and "they do that" and then add, "but there are a few good ones." An "us" and "them" attitude rarely helps any relationship. Every helper is an individual. I have shared my home in Hong Kong for long lengths of time with different family members. My mother lived with us. My sister lived with us. We treated them like family because they are but we still had boundaries. I agree that boundaries are healthy and necessary--but they are healthy and necessary in every relationship. It depends a lot on your own personal upbringing, culture and values. So we have boundaries for all individuals who live in our home--it's not just a "free for all"--we respect each other and set our rules and live by them--goes for every family member.

    My helper is amazing--but she's an amazing person, not just an "amazing helper." I think when we throw the word "they" around, which lumps most domestic helpers into one category we run the risk of overlooking domestic helpers as people.

    And yes, hiring someone to live in one's home is a tricky situation no matter which way you slice it. I am grateful that my helper eats dinner with us and we discuss openly many things. If we have some delicate issue that needs to be discussed privately, we go into our bedroom or go out for a walk to discuss it. I guess our helper is privy to many things in our family. And she hasn't abused this relationship in any way.

    I had a helper previous to this one that would go sit in the corner of the kitchen at meal time eating by herself because she had "been trained" by her many years of service in HK that her place was not at the table with the rest of the family. I really was disturbed by this behavior. But, she had been trained to be like that. Unfortunately, we had to let that helper go. She only saw herself as "an employee" and therefore was unable/unwilling to think for herself--didn't suit our situation as we need someone who can problem solve and work things out when need be.

    Anyway, regarding the OP's original question. If you're going to fire the helper, fire her--do it on the spot (not the 30 days notice) and at that time be frank and say, "I would like you to now delete all the photos of my family on your phone." Follow her to her room, ask her to pack her bags while you observe to make sure nothing of yours gets packed along with her things. Tell her to call her friend or someone she can stay with--give her her 30 days pay in lieu of notice and help her move her things out. It's pretty straight-forward. Of course, she can choose not to delete her photos. What can be done? Grab her phone and take them off yourself? Hire a lawyer to sue her? I guess those might be options. I wouldn't go that route--sometimes in life you can't have everything you want so I'd just let her be. If she's kind about it and deletes them, well, problem solved. If not, let it go.

    About the toddler being attached. Nothing needs to be done except tell the child that "Auntie" had to go away. The child will likely get over it within a couple of weeks.
    “Many women have described their experiences of childbirth as being associated with a
    spiritual uplifting, the power of which they have never previously been aware …
    To such a woman childbirth is a monument of joy within her memory.
    She turns to it in thought to seek again an ecstasy which passed too soon.”

    ~ Grantly Dick-Read (Childbirth Without Fear)

    Mother of Two
    JMW, boy, born November 29, 2007, 9:43 pm, USA
    MJW, girl, born March 17, 2011, 4:14 pm, HK

  2. #34
    mummymoo is offline Registered User
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    In all fairness howardcoombs visitingthemoon is unlikely to be one of the troublesome employers as she has a solid track record, 20 and 30 years is pretty hard to refute. I doubt many on this forum have as solid a track record. I know I certainly don't.

  3. #35
    visitingthemoon is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by howardcoombs View Post
    Have you noticed around you how some families always have problems with their helpers. No matter how many times they change helpers they are never able to keep "a good one", they just keep changing and changing all the while moaning about it?

    Yes I have. And we are not one of those families. In fact, you, with your 3 helpers over 18 years, have changed helpers more than us. The same two helpers who helped one generation are STILL with us today, helping to raise the next generation.

    Quote Originally Posted by howardcoombs View Post

    When I saw you writing for the first time, I saw a hint and thought "she writes like one of those...."
    When I saw your next 2 posts, my gut told me "she is one of those...."
    Your lasts 2 posts have confirmed it. I'm certain, based on my observations and experience, that you are one of those employers and I predict that you will continue to have problems with their helpers unless you change your ways.
    If you knew how much we did for our helpers I don't think you would be so quick to conclude we are "one of those employers" and suggest I "change [my] ways." We have also hired 2 new helpers who have been with us a few months and the one (only ONE) that we have EVER had to terminate was this one. The other new helper - we like a lot. The difference is night and day, and we know we are making the right choice to let her go. We have been very patient over the past few months waiting for her to change her attitude and even overlooking the incident where she was caught stealing. We've never had to terminate a helper before. I agree with your comment to the effect that 10% are angels, 80% meet expectation, and 10% are dishonest. We know how to hire and retain good help. But I am sure that the one we are terminating fits in the bottom bracket. I can assure you... retaining help is definitely NOT our family's problem!

  4. #36
    Chinchilla is offline Registered User
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    I don't want to say anything about helpers honest or otherwise.

    But about the photos.
    How would you react if the helper turned round and asked you to delete all photos of her? And then waited until you did.

    I'm assuming that the photos are snap shots. They are part of her life and the people she's been living with. It is really reasonable to ask her to delete all records from that part of her life?

  5. #37
    MommyTo3 is offline Registered User
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    I personally don't think it's relevant how many helpers you got, have / had, etc. It's how you treat them and how you talk about them. There are plenty of helpers out there in miserable conditions wanting to leave but not having the strength to do so. So the fact that you still have the same one doesn't necessarily mean much. At least not to me.

    To me, my helper is part of my family, her home is my home, again, with boundaries, like we all have to some extent. Like HappyV said whether you like it or not. Having a few snapshots is nothing but normal.

  6. #38
    mummymoo is offline Registered User
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    It's how you treat them and how you talk about them. There are plenty of helpers out there in miserable conditions wanting to leave but not having the strength to do so.

    True, usually treating employees (and not just helpers) well and speaking fairly of them goes hand in hand with how long they stay with you. I'm certain that most people on this forum believe they treat their helpers well and speak fairly of them, but I think a stronger measure of how well you measure up as an employer is how long you can retain staff for. 20-30 years is a pretty long time for two helpers (who presumably not living in a vacuum) to not have the strength to leave. It means very little if you feel you treat your employees really well (in your opinion) and speak fairly of them, yet can't seem to have them stay in your employ....see how that doesn't really add up?

    How would you react if the helper turned round and asked you to delete all photos of her? And then waited until you did.
    If I was in the helper's home or anyone else's home for that matter and I did something like take photos they didn't approve of I would delete them when asked. I would not however expect someone in my home to ask me to delete photos ect. They are more than welcome to leave if they have problems with my home.

  7. #39
    visitingthemoon is offline Registered User
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    Actually we do have many family photos with our 2 long time helpers. In fact we have pictures with them in our wedding photos. But why would they ask to delete pictures of THEMSELVES not their children that were taken in our home- pictures they willingly consented to take? If I took pictures of them (or their children) without their knowledge in their home of course I would understand and delete them. But in my case, photos of my BABY were taken WITHOUT my knowledge. Another helper told us about this particular helpers habit of taking pictures and videos on her phone. For all I know, she could have been uploading them to Facebook. I think I am within my rights to ask her to delete them. In any event, she did.

    Anyways, I am happy to report the termination was smooth. She understood the reason why we needed the it deleted, we paid her the 30 days, had our driver drive her to a boarding house and parted ways. Our daughter asks about her and cried yes but we explained she had to go HOME to see her family and she understood.

    Let me clarify about how we dine. They don't sit in a corner while we eat. There is a separate dining area in the kitchen for them. One long time helper actually sat with us at the head table at our wedding. However, on a day to day basis we dine separately. Partly because it is logistically impossible to eat together, and we have the space to allow them their own dining area, and partly because I think they prefer it that way. They can talk amongst themselves, use their phones as this is their downtime, and the family can have private family time as well. This works for us. I do not think this means we treat them poorly. We love our helpers LIKE family but she is still not the same as family.

    Yes my home is where she resides. But residence is not the same as home. To me, residence is interpreted loosely and home is defined more narrowly. Our home is not her home although it is her residence. I think home is where their families are. We give them a trip "home" yearly, and they even refer to the trip back as "going home".
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  8. #40
    satay sue is offline Registered User
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    Agree with the fire straight away and send her on her way immediately. My previously great helper of 2.5 years transformed overnight once her notice had been given. She had an inkling it was coming, Mr SS has been out of work since early November due to the company he worked for going bankrupt, his last income was October. We kept her on for until January then gave her the 30 day notice and let her stay. Her work was shoddy, she sulked when I asked her about it (I NEVER lost my temper but she reacted like a small child). I discovered that she'd broken the ironing board (nearly broke my fingers) and other items but didn't tell me. Mini informed me that she would let him travel in a taxi without a seatbelt (he told me this after she'd gone) and other very annoying things.

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