Monday, July 26, 2010

tense

Today has been surreal. This morning, even though I spent the weekend with ice on my knee and elevating my leg, Jill knocked on my door and said, "Ruth, we're leaving. The boys are waiting for you." They left without any conversation about what was going to happen today. It bothers me a little because last night, after reading all of the comments here, I asked to speak to them privately after the boys went to bed and told them that I was caught off guard by the events of Friday. I told them that I didn't know where we stood and that I had felt undervalued by the whole shopping list question and the expectation of paying back the $400 (when I had clearly stated that I couldn't afford it at the time it happened). Jack seemed like he understood and he even said that they knew how hard I'd been working for them. Jill just said that I had a job to do and if I couldn't do it they'd have to re-think the arrangement. I did mention the issue of the injury happening on the job and I pointed out that I was on "overtime" at the time it happened. I gave them a time sheet that I've kept all along to show that I've put in a lot of "Overtime". But then Jill said something about they had intended to give me a large bonus at the end of the summer and now she felt strange about it because I mentioned feeling undervalued. It was, to me, a strange thing to say at the time because it was like she was saying "well now that you have objected to someting we won't be doing that". Why say it otherwise? I kept saying that I felt bad about the situation but that we could learn from it and Jill said, "You have a good thing going here, Ruth." I'm so confused over this. I've got two more weeks before I can go back to the dorms. I guess I can just try to hang until then and hope they don't fire me.

The kids and I had a good day despite everything. We did crafts and I let them go in the pool - Harris came over to lifeguard now that he's back in town. (Jack said it was okay.) Jack came home early and told me to go rest up so that's what I'm doing.

99 comments:

  1. ugh, sorry you are having such a rough time. i hope it gets better soon.
    --laura

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  2. Hang on for two weeks, then run for it!

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  3. Okay, so this sucks. Doesn't really surprise me, though, I and those I know have been betrayed in similar manner by too many "good Christian" people to have any expectation that Christians can be trusted. In fact, both my husband and I will choose the unchurched business partner, contractor, or client over one who openly claims Christianity every time. The worst betrayals we've ever seen were by self-proclaimed God's people and often in his name.

    I wish it weren't so. I wish that people took seriously the claim of being God's face to the world and lived up to that responsibility. We ourselves make conscious effort in our interactions with the world to live with honor and integrity, going above and beyond, "the second mile" as it were. We live that way because it is, in our opinion, the only way to live a life of service that honors all the people involved.

    I don't have any advice for you--our experiences have led us to the conclusion that trying to work things out almost never works, we have to "turn the other cheek" or "take in in the a**" regardless. I just wanted to say that I understand your frustration, confusion, and undoubtedly anger (though you haven't really mentioned that)

    Been there, done that, got a whole collection of the tee-shirts! So I feel for you!

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  4. Ruth, I agree with the other poster. You should hang in there for the next two weeks and then get out and never work for these people again. They are completely abusing their position of power and being very manipulative (probably the wife more than the husband). I really feel for you because I have been in similar awkward positions in terms of the power dynamics. Stick up for yourself, though. Your letter was awesome and if they can't be reasonable with you then you must leave them and find employment somewhere else. You deserve much better compensation than you're receiving right now.

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  5. "A good thing going"????? Really? Has this woman EVER had a nanny before? If she has, she would know that not even a fourteen-year-old babysitter comes as cheap as you are. (In other words, you are worth WAY more than she's giving you!) If anyone has a good thing going, it's her. She sounds entitled and oblivious at best. As I've stated in previous comments, I come from a background like yours. It's still a struggle for me to stand up for myself but it's something you MUST learn to do. It's tempting to be accommodating and bend over backwards for others but sadly there are certain people out there who will take advantage of you most egregiously. I would LOVE to have a word with this woman....

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  6. Ok, so we know where the crazy is coming from: her. Sounds like he was willing to step up and take care of it, and she was the one who sent him in to collect on the bill and make the very weird shopping reduction.

    Based on the situation as you've explained it, her perspective is very skewed. She seems to believe she is doing you a huge favor and you ought to be grateful to work for free in exchange for not being on the street. I keep trying to see it from her point of view to figure out something we might be missing. And I can't. As crazy as it is, some people just have a hugely outsized view of their benevolence. That "oh, we were going to give you a surprise bonus but now we're not because you sounded ungrateful" is petty and completely unprofessional, but she probably feels totally justified. A surprise if-we-feel-you-are-duly-subservient bonus is no replacement for a honest day's wage. Unfortunately, because they started this situation with the assumption that you needed them more than they needed you, I think Jill thinks of you as a charity case rather than a professional performing a valuable service.

    Who knows what her damage is, really. Mothers are known to sometimes have very contradictory feelings about having a nanny.
    Maybe she has been uncomfortable having someone living there and is now taking it out on you.

    It's very weird, regardless.

    What about getting in touch with your school ombudsman or counselors and find out what resources they might have for students who suddenly lose housing? This situation can't be unheard of. I mean, for your sake, I hope you can just get through these two weeks with a minimum of trouble, but you need to be prepared.

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  7. Ugh... if only this couple would pay you what you're owed - by my calculation, some $375 a week, even at minimum wage - instead of dangling a carrot about a bonus.

    I'm sorry, but people who are not even paying minimum wage do not get to say that you "have a good thing going here" and act all generous about giving you a bonus. These people have taken advantage of your innocence and good will and have flouted some very basic employment laws. I really do hope you hold them to account.

    Fortunately, two weeks is not a long time to find temporary housing - we've even had friends crashing on our sofa for that length of time. (You're welcome to it too!) Fortunately, too, you can file for back wages well after you're no longer working for them - upto 3 years, I believe, so you have very little to lose here.

    Please do consider getting paid what you are legally owed for the whole summer, and reimbursed for all your medical expenses, not just the $400 X-ray. (Do you have any idea how much an MRI is, or surgery, should you need it? You don't want to be paying for the privilege of taking care of this family's children this summer for the next decade, or declaring bankruptcy.)

    If I were in your position, I would have the injury looked at by a competent physician over the next day or two and make absolutely sure it's not any worse than it is. Getting medical attention for your leg should be your first priority here. As for the payment, I would send it to this family to be reimbursed once you get the bill - which will be a month or so later, when you will presumably no longer be living there. If they balk at paying it, I think you should have plenty of legal recourse, especially if you've kept good records of everything.

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  8. Jill is a lunatic. With only two more weeks, I hate to say it, but best keep your head down and don't piss her off. You don't want her getting her panties in a wad and throwing you out with no place to go.

    You have totally been taken advantage of in this situation, and I'm sorry. I also grew up in an abusive situation, and it is DAMN hard as an adult to learn how to properly speak up for yourself when it's ingrained that you're supposed to say "more please" to whatever BS people give you. Hang in there.

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  9. By the way, where is Harris staying? Could you stay with him?

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  10. Sounds like Jack is a nice guy and Jill is a b*tch. Stick it out. Only two weeks to go. Don't worry about the bonus- I'm *positive* she was lying about planning to give you a bonus to emotionally manipulate you.

    Think about it logically- if she was planning on giving you a "sizable" bonus why ask you to pay back a measly $400? Why not just take the $400 off of what they were planning on giving you as a "bonus"?

    She is further emotionally manipulating you by saying "have a good thing" there. Um, no you don't, but she's trying to manipulate you into believing you do.

    Ruth, I'm sorry to say this because I don't want you to be paranoid, but often times when people get out of abusive relationships they tend to "attract" new abusers. It's not that they bring abuse upon themselves but those sorts of abusive selfish people can sniff out a trusting broken soul and are just looking for someone to take advantage of. As you get farther and farther in your recovery, you'll start to see the signs of a toxic person sooner. Until then, be careful. Don't give too much of yourself. You don't always have to bend over backwards to please.

    Ask your therapist what he thinks of Melanie Beattie's book "Co-dependent No More". I found it very helpful in dealing with my past issues.

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  11. Ruth-

    Here is a link to Legal Aid employment law clinics in my area: http://www.las-elc.org/clinics.html. They should be able to help wherever in the state you're located, and do seem to have a telephone clinic as well for people to call in - (415) 864-8208 from 5:30-7:45pm Wednesdays.

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  12. Hey !

    First, I don't think we can assume the woman is the bad one and the guy is the good one. This just sounds like good cop bad cop and anyways if she's the one to take the decision in the end it does not matter.

    What she said about the bonus is a typical harrassing method. You say oh but that secret bonus won't get to you if you don't just shut up. (What she's giving you a bonus but you have to reimburse the 400$ BEFORE ?). plus, what's the bonus ? 300$ supplement for the last week grocery list ? A bonus of no pay is nothing...

    Do not trust them. I think you can stay the two weeks if you insist on your own rules, but I think just don't buy anything they tell you.

    I still think a letter should be sent at some point to prove you tried to talk about it. I don't know what the others think about it.

    If you feel like you should get out, then do so. Follow your gut. They'll find something for the kids, they're not your responsibility right now. Keep us posted ^^

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  13. Seriously, I can't believe this woman thinks YOU have a good thing going here! You're live-in, unpaid help, your food is provided by her, you have to rely on them for medical bills, they think you should be grateful for any scrap of kindness they show you, and they clearly are NOT paying any payroll taxes or other related fees. Sounds a lot like slavery!

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  14. What ever you do at the end of your stay with them DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING THEY GIVE YOU. They may try to stick a release of liablity over your head and you should not wavie your rights at this point. Even if they hold that special bonus over your head, DO NOT SIGN IT, unless you have a lawyer look at it. You do not know how you will heal, if you will need further help, you just don't know what the future holds for your health so do not sign anything without advice of a lawyer you engage. Just my two cents, but heck, I'm the girlfriend of a trial lawyer and I've seen a lot of crap go down. NDC

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  15. BTW, where do you use the internet, and is there any chance of them finding out you have this blog?

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  16. It probably doesn't feel like it, but you are in a relatively powerful position with respect to your employers. Based on what you've shared on this site, they have mishandled your employment in significant ways and could be liable both for a worker's compensation claim and for failure to live up to various responsibilities an employer has (paying taxes, paying into unemployment, paying minimum wage, carrying insurance, etc.).

    My point is simply that if you are feeling unsure about your short-term future, keep in mind that they have their own concerns to be anxious about. They were hoping for a nanny on the cheap, and if they start to realize that they cut corners with you that could now turn around and bite them, they could lash out. But if things deteriorate between you and them, remember that they can't bully away their responsibilities as your employer.

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  17. I have to echo what another poster said...do not sign anything these nutcases give you. Tell them you need to have it looked over by your attorney. Just. Do. Not. Sign. Anything. These people are from Planet Bizarro. Jill says you have a good thing going?? With the hours they expect and the shrinking grocery list, is that freak serious?

    Is it possible for you to stay with Harris? If there is a place for you to go, go now. If there is nowhere to go, do the absolute minimum for the remaining few weeks. No need to put any more strain on that leg than you absoluetly have to.

    Take care of yourself Ruth. You can be certain Jack and Jill won't.

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  18. I wish you lived in the northwest, you could totally have my second bedroom for as long as you wanted. :/

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  19. Hi Ruth,
    Jasmine here, the nanny/babysitter from norcal I am so sorry about Jill, what a bitch, seriously. She reminds of a woman I tried to work for and needless to say it didn't work out. This whole sense of entitlement thing is really starting to chafe my ass. I mean sometimes you find awesome, wonderful, kind families and sometimes you find people who are wastes of space. Stick it out for the two weeks, but I do encourage you to look into the legal situation and see if you can figure out what exactly you deserve for the arrangement thats going on. Whenever I'm really down about something I try to tell myself that things could be a lot worse. Maybe that will make you feel better.

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  20. This is sure to be an extremely unpopular opinion, but how exactly did you expect them to react? I don't read all the comments on your posts, so maybe I've missed a chunk of the story, but it sounds like you agreed to a ridiculous & informal arrangement from the beginning with these people. It should hardly be surprising when your employers are still trying to play by the rules that you helped create.

    I mean, agreeing to work for free was a really terrible decision. Especially given that you are broke and seem particularly accident prone. Showing Jack and Jill a carefully kept timesheet with all the "overtime" hours you've worked is completely meaningless, because you never had a contract that defined what was expected of you, and what you earned if you went beyond that. I'm not really sure what you expected that to accomplish.

    For you to have agreed to let them pay a $400 medical expense without having any means of paying them back is outlandish. You should never have expected they would cover that for you. These people aren't your family, they're not even really your friends, they are your employers. You can not expect them to take care of you. And if you haven't gone to the trouble of establishing a proper employer/employee relationship then suddenly quoting things like "State Disability Payments" at them is laughable. Yes, the letter of the law may be on your side, but seriously? The world does not work like that.

    If you enter into a position of employment acting like an unprofessional kid, then you're going to be treated like one. And I don't mean your attitude and willingness to work, it sounds like you're a fine nanny and a hard worker, but part of growing up and learning to take responsibility for yourself, is, you know, actually taking responsibility for yourself. Learning to advocate for oneself is a really hard thing for everyone, but it's so very necessary as a life skill. You did a crap job at it this time around, but it sounds like you can now pinpoint several places where you should have done better by yourself this summer, so next time you won't naively trip your way into such an inequitable relationship.

    Suck it up, pay them their $400. Chalk it up to an expensive lesson learned. If you would like to nanny again (for a different family) next summer then do your last two weeks time, at least you'll get a good reference. If you're done with nannying, then ditch out on it now by citing your bad ankle, crash on a friend's couch and go immediately to your nearest Starbucks for a new job. They offer both a paycheck and health insurance. You are sorely in need of both.

    For Pete's sake do not call the Legal Aid clinic. The last thing you need is more drama.

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  21. To anonymous @ 8:22 pm I can't wish bad enough things on your ignorant, narrow minded heartless self. I *could* go point by point and explain why you are wrong- but you wouldn't care. I can tell you just want to be nasty. So as that is the case let me say this instead.

    I hope you have a truck load of bad fortune come your way and then please remember these words "Suck it up."

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  22. Whenever you are trying to get out of a bad situation, there are always people happy to come along and tell you it's your own fault and you deserved it. Especially if they can do it anonymously.

    That voice is probably going to sound most "real" to you, because coming from your background you are used to being told that everything that happens to you is because you were wrong and bad and stupid. Ruth, please don't listen to any further abuse.

    That is not to say I think you should start a war with these people. Best case scenario is get out as smoothly as possible and chalk it up to experience. Only go as far as you have to, and the people here are telling you the truth about what leverage you have available to you if you need it. That doesn't mean you have to use it.

    Just because you didn't have the experience to do everything perfectly the first time does not mean you deserve whatever treatment someone can dish out.

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  23. I disagree with the person above about paying the money back. He said, "I'll take care of it" I don't think that implies you are going to pay him back. I could be wrong but I don't think so.

    Also they were a bit harsh. Mistakes were made. It's part of living. No need to bash you over the head with them.

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  24. I would just get the medical treatment you need and take it up with worker's comp. There is a fund for people whose employers did not purchase workers comp insurance, that will pay your bills. They may or may not go after jack and Jill for their negligence in not getting coverage. That was THEIR responsibility, not your's. Even if you were severely underpaid (what, maybe you were paid $2 per hour figuring room and board at 400 per month) you were paid by bartering and were therefore their employee. Anonymous is wrong in saying you should pay them back for medical bills. Just get workers comp to cover it. I wouldn't bother going after the wages that they owe you, I'd just get through the next 2 weeks and then move on.

    Could you go to summer school next year possibly and stay in the dorm?

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  25. That you only have two weeks left is good news. I still think you need a Plan B, but the truth is that I think everyone should have a Plan B in every situation. You never know when things will fall apart.

    I also, and this is just my personal opinion, think that it would be in your best interest not to move in with Harris as soon as you have some trouble. Retain your independence for now if you can. I know you didn't say anything about it, but I am saying it because I have been there and it can be like jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

    As for anonymous, sounds like my extremely negative grandma. People like this feel insecure about themselves, so they like to come along (like someone else said, especially if they can do it anonymously!) and kick people when they're down. They like to punish. It's what they do. It doesn't matter whether it helps the situation or not, as long as their ego is satisfied, and they get to feel superior for a few minutes.

    If it makes you feel any better, said anonymous is probably just as hard on him or herself when he or she makes a mistake. The best thing you can do is ignore people like this.

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  26. Potential Plan B: Look up hippiemom4kids on Free Jinger.

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  27. Ruth, you know me from FJ board. I am near where you live and have an empty extra amartment attached to my house you are welcome to use.
    Rose

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  28. To Anonymous at 8:21pm: way to kick a person when she is down!

    I simply can't see what Ruth's fault is here, for which you expect her to pay so dearly. Yes, she's been unworldly and naive - and who can blame her given her upbringing - but why does this mean she has no recourse when she's been taken advantage of?

    You seem to think that consent or agreement makes all sorts of unsavory arrangements legitimate, but this has never been the case. An agreement to sell myself into slavery or to sell my kidney, for example, can never be enforced. Nor can I insist on being paid for having fulfilled my part of a contract to kill someone. The agreements themselves have to be basically legitimate, in order for people to be held to their requirements. Fortunately, the law recognizes this. Thus, for example, one can't give up one's right to a minimum wage, even if one has explicitly agreed to do so. In Ruth's case, what this means is that even though she has naively agreed to a very inequitable arrangement, she does not have to be bound by it - because the arrangement is basically against the law.

    You agree that the "letter of the law" may be on Ruth's side, insinuating that the spirit of the law isn't. I have no idea why anyone would think this. The idea that consenting to illegimate arrangements does not legitimize them is a fairly basic principle in both morality and jurisprudence. Why anyone would think this a mere technicalty beats me.

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  29. Ruth, I have no idea how to go about this, but I'll throw it out there anyway. Our good friends who live in California have on multiple occasions "taken in" and / or helped people who were down on their luck for a variety of reasons. Their names have popped into my head a number of times when I've read your blog, and I sure would love to find a way for you to get in touch with them. No idea if they can provide living accommodations since they moved out there, but they might at least be able to help you navigate through some of the other stuff; job search, financial aid, healthcare, etc. Both are or have been in the education field, including at the university level, and the wife works in some kind of social services agency at the moment, so I really think they'd have some valuable insight for you.

    They are Christian but very liberal in their theology (mainstream Protestant), and definitely not evangelical; there would be absolutely no worry about them dragging you to church or anything. They actually have a daughter very near your age and are just good, kind people. I know it's the mom in me, but I'd just love to see you have a few people nearby that you could lean on a little if necessary. We all need that.

    Now I have no idea how to go about setting this up, seeing as we're perfect strangers on the internet who have both chosen to remain anonymous. I guess, let me know on here if you are interested, and we'll try to figure out a way to communicate that is still "safe."

    I feel a little silly even posting this, but would have felt worse if I didn't at least offer the opportunity, I guess.

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  30. Are you in Calif or still in MO? This is Rose (Hippiemom4kids) from FJ

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  31. Yes, the letter of the law may be on your side, but seriously? The world does not work like that.

    Might I point out that the fact it's the law means the world does in fact work that way?

    If you enter into a position of employment acting like an unprofessional kid, then you're going to be treated like one.

    That's a fair statement, but let me ask you this: how would you do when a 'kid' in your household who breaks a leg?

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  32. Ruth, I have actually been wanting to say something completely opposite from Mr. Jerkface up there:

    There are tens of thousands of nannies in the US, and a lot of them are in your exact same position. People exploit their domestic labor left and right. But a lot of these nannies don't speak English; a lot of them don't have their immigration papers in order. (Some of them were trafficked and are essentially slave labor, for pete's sake.) You are intelligent, articulate, and not likely to get deported if you make a fuss. Legal Aid would probably love to talk to you, because they see gross violations of labor law happen all the time and most of the people it happens to are afraid to press lawsuits. And lawsuits are frankly how things get done in this country.

    I am not saying you should necessarily press a lawsuit (though you SHOULD NOT SIGN ANYTHING.) You also have the right to decide how much time and energy you want to sink into this situation when it's over. I am saying that if you want to talk to legal aid, and see what their opinion is, you're standing up for a lot of women besides yourself. Don't feel ashamed to have gone this far.

    As far as surviving this situation socially, I think your initial tone of "we're in a pickle, but this is clearly a workplace accident, and you are clearly my employers." was fine. I also think saying "I view you guys as having treated me well, which was why I was surprised that, as employers, you'd react this way to a workplace accident" was fine. Honestly I think your initial tone of buttering up your employers a little might be necessary when dealing with someone whose ego is so inflated that she thinks you should be grateful for her cracker crumbs, if you want to try getting them to realize their mistake before going to a lawyer. (Legal actions take forever - you might not see any money for two years, if then - but on the other hand, knee problems are with you for a long time too.) I am so glad it's only two more weeks. You can survive two more weeks and then decide what to do outside of that pressure cooker of stress, so long as you document what's happening (privately, maybe, in greater detail) and don't sign anything that says "indemnify".

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  33. I have to say Anon @ 8:22 has some good points. Ruth does need to learn to take responsibility for herself and she needs to learn how to be an advocate for herself and be assertive when need be. Ruth put herself in a terrible position by agreeing to work for little more than room and board. She's now stuck dealing with a catty wife who doesn't want to pay for much of anything.

    Ruth needs to learn from this experience and move forward. I think she would be wise to obtain legal counsel because I do believe some illegalities have happened. But beyond that, Ruth needs to learn from this experience. Next time around I'll bet she doesn't agree to such a poor contract, she'll make sure everything is in writing and she'll be more assertive. Anon @8:22 is mostly right.

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  34. Well, I've seen this kind of dynamic before. They are using you. She was never intending to give you a bonus. What BS. If you are fired, you might be lucky.

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  35. no, she wasn't going to give you a generous bonus. If that was going to happen, they'd just have knocked off $400 on that if they wanted to get reimbursed for your medical care. Maybe she meant "generous" as in, less than $400, but as even minimum wage would come to several thousand dollars, I don't think I believe any bonus was going to be coming.

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  36. NO, SHE has a good thing going! And, I agree with the other--no one gives a babysitter a bonus. They pay the minimum possible and expect Mary Poppins. Daycare for two kids can run over $300 a WEEK and an 8 week summer camp can break the bank. She's getting dirt cheap help and knows it. She knows you have no recourse legally since she probably paid you cash and there's no proof. Lesson learned. Move on and let them go. Yes you need a place to stay. Try calling a Church that welcomes street people, gays and whoever or try the housing boards at your school. I know it's really hard to get around, but the 24 hour study room at the library would be less of a pain. Go to the school employment office and see what's posted.

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  37. Don't worry about some "bonus". My interpretation, and I have never commented here, is that Jill is a not so nice and manipulative person. I mean...that is totally unfair to dangle a bonus in front of you. It's shady, lacking in compassionan and unethical. Just chill for the next two weeks, apply for Medicaid as others have suggested, and then get back to your life at school. Use this as a lesson to learn from about being assertive and an advocate for yourself. Being assertive never feels comfortable at first, but with practice you wil get better at it.

    I doubt that they will fire you at this point. They know you do a good job (even on crutches), you could sue them quite easily, you could report them to the Department of Labor, and you cost them very little. If they do fire you, then find the nearest legal aid clinic and see if you could get a lawyer pro bono. Jack and Jill are "thumbing their noses" at the laws that were designed to protect someone like you from being exploited.

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  38. Jill is so batpoo crazy and passive-aggressive, she reminds me of a V.C. Andrews villain. I am incensed on your behalf, Ruth.

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  39. Sorry, ya'll. Judge Judy would totally agree with Anonymous 8:21, and I do, too.

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  40. "But then Jill said something about they had intended to give me a large bonus at the end of the summer and now she felt strange about it because I mentioned feeling undervalued. It was, to me, a strange thing to say at the time because it was like she was saying "well now that you have objected to someting we won't be doing that". Why say it otherwise? I kept saying that I felt bad about the situation but that we could learn from it and Jill said, "You have a good thing going here, Ruth." I'm so confused over this. I've got two more weeks before I can go back to the dorms. I guess I can just try to hang until then and hope they don't fire me."

    Hi there, Ruth.:) Realize that the words "Jill" is using are effective in manipulation technique and that is exactly what she is doing. People that are genuine and caring do NOT turn the tables on you, making you feel like the bad guy/gal when you voice your feelings. Trust me, I've dealt with employers, friends, and family members that have done this in the past. This is a technique to deflect guilt off of them and onto you.

    Also in response to Jill's "you have a good thing going" remark, I find that infurating! Checking on different websites, it appears that nannies not only get free room and board, but they get a salary as well. The ones that have a good thing going is the couple.

    Yes, I hope that you can ride this out for another two weeks and then please go apply for whatever social services you're eligible for and get through school. I really feel like these people are getting the better end of the deal. It's not to say that you haven't also benefitted as you do have free room and board, but for Jill to make the comments she made, no, she is a bit WRONG!

    Good luck with with your health, your finances, and basically just hang in there. :)

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  41. I love these oh-so-brave "Anonymous" folks. Who cares what Judge Judy would agree with? Don't get me wrong--I actually like Judge Judy, and I hold out hope that she's more intelligent than this most recent Anonymous thinks she is. I have seen her be fair and compassionate with people who are obviously not trying to beat the system. But the fact is, if there are laws on the books stating that in certain situations, verbal agreements are null and void, such as agreeing not to be paid for the work that you did, any judge would be bound by them. If the judge did not know about these laws, maybe he or she should go back to school.

    Why is it so hard for people to understand that there may be protections for people who make mistakes? Do you punishers think that people sold into slavery brought it upon themselves, too?

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  42. I agree with "Anonymous" that is getting bashed up there. The reality of life, whether we grew up in heaven or hell (like Ruth did) is that there are a-holes out there looking for naive, needy, and vulnerable people to take advantage of as they work towards getting their agenda accomplished. Not all naive and vulnerable people come from ATI backgrounds (like Ruth). Many women (like me, for example, even at "mature" ages) fall into the trap of being taken advantage of because we were trained or raised to be "pleasers", to do our work without complaining, to not expect much, to be happy with what we are given, be grateful for what we have, and just put up with it. This is not just a product of ATI, it is a product of how the culture in practically every nation in the world treats women - period. Women are raised to not expect to get paid for their worth. For those of you who have achieved nirvana and you've figured it all out, I salute you.

    In fact, a lot of employees in the U.S. are becoming more and more accustomed to being treated badly. In reality, (let's be real here, shall we), not all people work for large companies with an HR department that will "investigate" work-related abuses and not everyone works for a union that will protect worker's rights. This kind of crap goes on all over America, especially right now when times are tough economically.

    Some of you people who are bashing the person up there, I really wonder how old you really are, if you've really been through life experience yourself or if you're living in some idealized world where employers do the "right" thing all the time. Clearly, Ruth's employers are more business and life savvy than Ruth. I am old enough to be Ruth's mother and it has taken me this long to really figure things out, things that Ruth is just figuring out now. Yes, we learn from our mistakes and I am positive that Ruth will learn from this one. Considering that this is her first real employment since she left her gulag back East, I think that she is doing quite well. She is young enough that this little setback is nothing more than a little "dot" in the whole scheme of things and before long, it will fade away to nothing. Being Norma Rae is easier in movies than it is in real life. In my opinion, it's easier to move on and let it go than deal with these jerks. They have shown their true colors and that's the botom line. Don't expect a-holes to do the right thing. That is an exercise in futility.

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  43. Lainey (and others), I could care less whether someone posts Anonymously or with some made-up name. I could post as Brittney Spears; it doesn't mean that I am her. I read the content of the person's post, not their name.

    As far as everything else is concerned, do you or anyone else really believe that Ruth has a chance fighting these behemoths who have arranged the "employment" situation so that they deflect all employer-related accountability? If they were true "employers", they would have been paying a salary and associated taxes that goes with employing a nanny. What they wanted was someone needy who would take their scraps and they found one. If it wasn't Ruth, then it would have been some other helpless soul. And in this economy (especially in CA where unemployment is high), there's plenty of suckers to be had.

    For those people that are "offended" by the truth or feel that Ruth must be treated with kid gloves as she might crumble otherwise (she is much stronger than that or she wouldn't have left her situation for freedom and a better life), the only thing that I have to say is that you haven't lived long enough yet to see what life is about and what people put up with for years and decades at their work place. It doesn't make it right; it just IS.

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  44. In other words, "do [your] work without complaining, [do] not expect much, be happy with what [you] are given, be grateful for what [you] have, and just put up with it."

    Bullcrap.

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  45. Yes, it IS bullcrap when you don't have things in writing and when employers exploit that fact. It IS bullcrap when you're young, needy, naive, and vulnerable and you get tangled up in a no-win situation unless you want to spend months fighting people who have more knowledge, resources, and connections than you, people who could bulldoze you in a New York minute.

    FYI, I typed the EXACT same thing (at 10:38) that you just said.

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  46. I just want to point out that I doubt that Ruth is eligible for medicaid. It's typically only available to disabled persons and parents.

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  47. I think this is just one of those really difficult live and learn deals.

    Maybe Jack and Jill DO really see it as you getting a good deal. Rent and utilities in a one bedroom apt can be $1000 or more a month and the kids are pretty easy to watch. Yes, you might be worth a lot more but since you agreed to the terms and seemed eager for the job how are they supposed to know they've been unreasonable?

    The injury thing- Without a doubt making sure the little girl was okay and didn't run out into the road was a very kind thing. At the same time your injury wasn't caused by the boys, playing with the boys, or something that went wrong in their house (slipping in the shower, etc.). What would you have done if Jack was watching his kids and the same situation happened while you were off work? Would he have to pay? I really am so sorry that you go hurt but IMO it seems like its not their responsibility or fault. Maybe you can work out paying them back over time?

    I think this was a tricky set up and you all have to equally split the blame.

    I'm really conflicted writing this- You've already put up with so much and have already learned so many difficult life lessons that adding another one just seems cruel but I think that's what this is. You seem to have already learned a lot from this situation. Good luck Ruth!!!

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  48. Your injury happened on the job. Their homeowner's insurance should cover any medical expenses that you incur. Furthermore their financial arrangement with you is totally illegal and you could file a complaint with the dept of labor in your state and get retro pay for all the weeks you have worked.

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  49. Quoting "D":
    "Some of you people who are bashing the person up there, I really wonder how old you really are, if you've really been through life experience yourself or if you're living in some idealized world where employers do the "right" thing all the time."

    I'm 34, have had several employers, and I know this is nuts. Yes, lots of employers do the wrong thing, but that doesn't mean it's acceptable. I've been treated poorly by employers and managers, but that doesn't mean they had the right to do what they were doing. You're blaming the victim here, very much along the lines of "Well, you were wearing a short skirt on a dark street, what did you expect that man to do?" That very attitude is what keeps people in abusive relationships, whether those relationships are romantic, familial, or employer/employee.

    In my early 20's. I had a string of negative work situations. I learned that I had to take responsibility for leaving, but also that I couldn't burn my bridges. Ruth, ride out the next two weeks, then leave, but DON'T burn that bridge. Be civil, no matter how badly they treat you. Keep records, and talk to a social worker so you have a record of seeking help. These people won't give you a good reference, no matter how well you behave at this point, so don't expect that. Tread carefully, and leave politely.

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  50. I don't have any advice-only a big (virtual) hug and a "hang in there". Two weeks isn't that long, and you can handle staying inside, playing games, crafts, and so on that long.

    If you can put Hobby Lobby or Michael's on your list, they've got a ton of little craft kits on clearance now as they replace summer camp/VBS crafts with Fall and Christmas ones, so it's a good time to get a bunch of those things cheap to use with the boys. Water play is good, too-you take a chair out, sit down, and let them throw wet sponges at each other or have a water gun/squeeze bottle fight. Something like transferring water from one container to another with a small cup works to keep kids busy, too.

    Target has workbooks in their $1 section-get some of those and review school stuff with the boys for Fall.

    Mostly, just hang in there and know that the end is in sight. You've come so far and done so much. This is only a minor bump in the road.

    Praying for healing on your knee, too!

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  51. What people are reacting to in the infamous anonymous's statement is not the idea that she should learn to stand on her own two feet, or that it is likely a bad idea to set up a big confrontation. We're reacting to the victim-blaming attitude with statements like "what did you expect?" and basically calling her stupid and at fault for accepting the initial agreement. I doubt anyone else here will disagree that young people need to learn to protect themselves and learn not to be naive, etc. We have all been there.

    What she "expected" was for those people to continue acting like they acted in the beginning of the relationship. Those of us who are older know that when you're young it's easy to let your guard down and get taken advantage of when people seem really nice and caring, but aren't really your friends. (Heck, it happens to older people as well.) It's part of learning what reasonable steps to take in the future.

    People here are pointing out the true, legal facts of her employment situation.
    What she does with those facts is up to her. It is true that they have big resources although they also have a lot more to lose. If it were me (especially me at that age), I probably wouldn't start a legal battle over what's happened here. I don't think that's in her best interest at this point, especially while she's still there. But it's still worth knowing that what they're doing is at least arguably illegal and/or unethical.

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  52. Thank you, Chiara, for putting it so much more eloquently than I could.

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  53. What I respond to in the anonymouses' statement is more the assumption that US labor law is something that we should all just get used to seeing ignored. If the way Ruth's bosses are treating her is illegal, then it's illegal. If they owe her worker's comp for an on-the-job injury, then refusing to pay it is no different then stealing. If she's not legally owed worker's comp, then it's just an ugly lesson in how people suck, but there is a difference.

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  54. And thank you also, purpleshoes.

    These people aren't thinking.

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  55. Me, girlfriend of the trial lawyer, pipping up again. Actually, to the jerkface who posted I would like to point out that many judges have invalidated contracts on the basis of not being fair or being too one-sided. Heck, my entire divorce was almost vacated, a year and a half after it was final, because my ex decided that the agreement he agreed to favored me too much. Ruth has been taken advantage of and even worse? They used her feelings to extract a promise to reimburse them for the xrays, a cost that wouldn't impact their wallet in the least. I call it the "country club mentality", meaning, when I go to my boyfriend's country club I hear people discuss money and the things they do to hang unto it at the expense of doing what is right or good for others is mind-boggling. These are people that think only of themselves and have no problem exploiting others, who are insecure in any way (financially, emotionally, mentally). Just saying. Ruth, just remember how hard it is to finish out your time there and as much dread as you feel about this situation, it won't be important to you in six months, or six years. And next time, go through an agency because they will hopefully protect you. Your skills, as a good nanny, are needed, and there are more fish in the sea that would be grateful to have a trustworthy and caring person in their employe. -NDC

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  56. Here's the situation as I imagine it. :-)

    Jack's trying to be a good employer, but is getting some really weird vibes from Jill that make him second-guess every nice thing he does.

    Jill's wishing she could let you go without looking paranoid, and doing what she can to encourage you to quit so that the problem goes away without her having to admit to Jack or to herself that she is, in fact, paranoid.

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  57. Something you said the other day piqued my curiosity. You mentioned the car you use is paid for by Jack's business. A company car has to be used for work, by an employee of that company. How can he justify the car being used to schlep his kids around? See where I'm going with this... these folks are used to bucking the system to save a dime. This is how the rich stay rich. This is why you have no contract, no hourly wage, no insurance, etc. Everything is off the books, untraceable. All was going well 'til you got injured two weeks before the end of summer. They're panicking. They don't want any paper trail that will tip anyone off that they are evading labor laws. Who knows what else might be uncovered. Jill was projecting when she said, you have a good thing going. No, they have a good thing going and they're (Jill mostly) pissed that there's a bump in the road. It also sounds like Jill would be none too happy to have to take care of her 2 kids for the last 2 weeks. This woman is seriously entitled beyond belief. Notice how quickly she soured when things didn't go her way? I bet she pitched a huge fit over that $400. There is no bonus sweetie, she just said that to be mean and manipulative. You do actually have quite a lot of power in this situation and they're banking on your naivety and hoping you don't know you have rights. That's right, you have rights. I suggest you contact the labor department, at least anonymously and ask some questions. The good news is 2 weeks is not that long. You can play along for that amount of time. Hang in there Ruth!

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  58. I agree with others that there was no bonus. At best, if Jack is really the kinder person he seems to be, then HE mentioned to her in private that maybe you should get a bonus for the wonderful job you've done all summer, SHE said "No way", and then to turn the guilt upon you, pretended that the idea was real and going to happen.

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  59. I am so glad you only have 2 more weeks before you can go back to the dorms.
    I am pretty appalled at these people. "You have a good thing here." HUH????

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  60. Hi Ruth,

    I've been sick and off the internet and I come back to see this. WOW! What a mess!

    DO NOT GIVE "JACK" AND "JILL" the letter you shared in your previous entry. Document EVERY word that passes between you and either of them between now and the time you leave (and backtrack to include this "bonus" conversation).

    Refuse to pay the $400. If they give you some money and claim it would have been more but for the fact you owed them the money for the x-ray, DO NOT accept the money. This makes you complicit. If any money is offered, make sure you get a document in writing stating why they gave it to you. If they actually DO offer you money, insist on this letter and make them include a statement that your "debt" to them has been paid "in full."

    If they start anything later, this should cover you, but I agree with an early post I read that the bonus is more than likely a dangling carrot to keep you for the next two weeks.

    Hang in there, kiddo! xoxo

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  61. First off, I completely agree and echo what Suzie just said.

    My gut feeling: the woman is manipulating you, taking advantage of the good nature that you have. If she truly cared one whit, she wouldn't be bringing up this whole "if you can't work, we'll have to do something" nonsense. She knew the good thing she had going, she knows that you injured yourself while working overtime, and she knows that you're a good person who will feel bad or conflicted when she pulls this stuff. Don't fall from it.

    From here on out, be cordial, be polite, be a good nanny. But treat every interaction as you would within a business, document, document, document. Do not settle for a check that has the $400 taken out.

    Finally, as much as you will hate this, when you're done, make sure that you let it be known wherever it was that you found this job - or wherever you think that future nannies might look - what's gone on here. You don't have to be mean, you can keep to the facts. But your employer's behavior and ethics are off, and it is your right to forewarn others.

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  62. Just a comment about the alleged bonus thing. I once worked untold unpaid overtime hours for an employer who promised me a large bonus.

    What did he end up giving me? Fifty bucks.

    Since you have no income and this is a civil legal matter, I strongly urge you to contact your nearest legal aid clinic. If they aren't able to help you, contact your local bar association and see if you can get an attorney to help you pro bono. You were taken advantage of, and you're definitely owed back wages and workers' compensation coverage for your injuries.

    And as has been said many times, DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING.

    And also please notify whatever office at your university that helps students find jobs about what happened to you. Such places maintain "blacklists" of bad employers/landlords etc. (We once got a landlord blacklisted with the local military base when our landlord tried to raise our rent by 60% three weeks after my husband, who was active duty, left for a year's tour overseas.) You have a right to not only stand up for yourself, but warn future potential employees of this family.

    I wish I were closer, or I'd offer you my spare room. There are a number of such offers here; if things get really bad and you do have to leave, it might be a great idea to see if you can arrange to stay with one of these people. Have someone else contact them on your behalf, if need be, to make sure it's a legitimate offer.

    And I hope folks here are dropping lots of extra money into your tip jar to help you get the things you need!

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  63. Also, it's terrific that Harris can come over and lifeguard for the kids. It's not only good for the kids, but I'm sure having him there feels wonderful for you, knowing you have a friend who can help you out! He sounds like a great guy and a good friend.

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  64. Ruth,

    I am so sorry for your troubles. This situation is screwed up, and your employers are most definitely taking advantage of you. They are not paying you, beyond giving you room and board. This almost certainly means they are also NOT paying social security taxes on you as well. This very issue has, in recent years, taken down innumerable political appointees, with the infamous "nanny issues."

    This sort of behavior is incredibly prevalent amongst the privileged classes. They are probably worried sick that you're going to contact the relevant authorities, and their cozy little off-the-books situation, the one that has worked out hugely to their financial advantage, is going to come to light and cause them some legal troubles. They aren't losing anything by giving you room and board -- it's not as if they were planning to rent out your room to somebody else, now is it? Childcare is not cheap. They are the ones who had a good thing going, until you injured yourself, while in their employ, however legally dicey that employment may be.

    Given your situation, like most everybody else, I advise you to keep your head down and just get through the next two weeks as best you can. But if they start playing really nasty, please remember, they're the ones legally on the hook. And, please, DO NOT SIGN anything they ask you to sign, no matter what.

    Good luck!

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  65. I don't get it
    If they aren't paying you "cash" how are you supposed to "pay" them back?

    And your arrangements are free room and board in exchange for you being the boys' nanny?

    You don't receive any cash at all?

    This is messed up and seems to put you in a very dependent role. There is no way for you to save up and plan for your future.

    And, sadly, I wonder if you were able to accept these "terms" because you had grown up under such manipulative/controlling terms that it didn't raise any red flags.

    Jack seems semi supportive but Jill seems snarky. How is your relationship with her? Could she be jealous of you?

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  66. Ruth,

    She's a liar and a classic manipulator. As someone who worked as a nanny in my college days, for a family who sound quite similar, I now know you need to be extremely assertive and firm. They are the ones who've got a lot to lose in this deal, and I suspect that they're probably aware of this and perhaps even a little nervous about what avenues you may persue.

    I do believe that God keeps bringing similar situations to play in our lives until we learn how to stand up for oursleves and realize how much we're worth! Stand strong Ruth.

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  67. yes, please go to your school and speak with a financial aid counselor about your situation to see if you can get into a work-study program or obtain other financial assistance. you could also think about applying for other jobs on campus, or working in the dormitory as a Resident's Assistant (you get a free room)

    you can also talk to the mental health counselors on campus, who can help you cope with adjusting to independent life

    you can also contact the campus physician -she may not be able to help you with this bill, but she is available for checkups/tests/minor injuries. you also may be able to obtain health insurance through your college/university

    i hope your leg mends well and rapidly.

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  68. And this, Ruth, is a life lesson. Learn from it. I don't think these people are taking advantage of you because you agreed to the conditions you are working under. Next time, you'll know better. Next time, you'll make sure you get a contract, salary, and insurance coverage if that is what you want and expect. These are the things in life that make you smarter.
    Bless you and I pray your leg heals quickly and completely.

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  69. While I agree that legally your employers have basically duped you, and that you probably have to live and learn with this one; I also think it is morally repugnant for wealthy people (who can afford both a nanny and a cook) to screw you out of $400 for an injury incurred while on the clock. How absolutely reprehensible of them! Karma is a *itch!!
    Sue

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  70. Sorry, but the law is there for a reason. I sense that if she re-broke her leg, or messed up her knee and needs a CT scan, the medical bills could be in the high thousands in the blink of an eye. I know that Ruth was raised to not rock the boat and keep quiet when things go wrong, but if I were in her position, I would pull out all of the legal stops once my employment was finished to insure that I was fairly compensated for my efforts and that my medical bills were covered. A lost reference, at this point, seems trivial compared to the other things you could lose (i.e. your mobility, your ability to stay in school) if you keep quiet and don't get your leg properly treated.

    BTW, my cousin is a very successful lawyer in Missouri specializing in employment issues. I seem to recall someone mentioning that Ruth might be in MO? If you'd like me to put you in touch with him, please send me an email at traceyses at aol dot com

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  71. I totally missed that you were working for free. I tried all last night to figure out how you had approx. $500 in the bank.

    I don't think these people know (or you for that matter) how much a live in nanny costs normally. I looked into it about five years ago (right before I graduated college) and bare minimum for a live in nanny was $45k a year for two kids... minus taxes. It breaks down to about $10 per kid for a 40 hour work week. And that wasn't in a high-end part of the country.

    The family is paying for the convenience of having you there. A prime example of that would be your anecdote of "Ruth, the boys are downstairs waiting for you". There is no getting the kids up, ready, and to a sitter/center before work.

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  72. Ruth should be able to get to classes. She finished the semester out on a bum leg; her college's Disabled Center is plenty able to provide golf cart travel for her to/from classes and the library(ies) she requires until the leg re-heals. Ruth knows that drill already and should contact them ASAP so she can be accommodated on the bottom floor of her dorm, close to the cafeteria, laundry, etc.

    I attend a very large public university in the same state and wish I would have known about the golf cart shuttles when I couldn't carry my bookbag for a month after an appendectomy (and complications), plus I had to commute. My ignorance cost me last fall's semester; I'm now a semester behind my intended graduation next spring. At least I got some of my tuition back and already had a scholarship for half, so it wasn't that big of a financial hit. Just wasted time for an older student. *sigh*

    Ruth is aware of the services and this shouldn't deter her from starting school on time . I doubt classes don't begin until the last week of August anyway; the schools always have an acclimation period to the dorms/campus before classes start. THAT part of the situation should be fine since Ruth already dealt with the center last semester.

    The evil side of me wants Ruth to contact Jack's employer the minute she walks out of their door for the last time and demand a detailed expense report from Jack. I imagine he does the same with the company credit card and cell phone. I used to deal with the expense reports for a small group of salespeople and believe me, they tried to get EVERYTHING by on the company dime. Jack sound like a serial abuser in this regard. Even if Jack knows Ruth turned him in, what can he do? To expose her would be to expose his entire scam of free cooks and childcare/maids.

    I've forgotten: Does Jill work or does she mainly spend her time at the gym and/or the tanning/nail/beauty salons (let's not forget the plastic surgeon for botox and other work) like those Housewives from a county I suspect is very close to,, if not the exact locale, of Ruth's "employers."

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  73. My $.02:

    It would take a lot of work on Ruth's part to go through the legal means to get compensated for what she should be paid under labor laws. Likewise, it would take her cheapskate employers a bit of money and effort to make her legally liable for the cost of the X-ray. If they threaten her about the $400 in any way that smells legal, I would bring up the labor laws as a counter-threat. If they only nag about it, my opinion is to sludge through the next two weeks and peace out. Ruth shouldn't put her finances in jeopardy to pay back the $400 immediately, and really I wouldn't pay it back ever.

    As for the comment about Ruth acting like an "unprofessional kid," I don't get how she acted like one. Your post is criticizing Ruth for not standing up for herself, but then criticizes the one way she does stand up for herself (pointing out the overtime). You're right, they didn't have a contract detailing what Ruth should be paid, which is why the X-ray bill that they took on by handing over their credit card is completely legally on them, not Ruth. Why then, with your knowledge of the law so great that its recourse is "laughable," would you advise her to take on a debt she doesn't have? I also don't get how she was treated like an unprofessional kid. Their actions were more childlike, trying to make up for a $400 debt by taking items off a grocery list? How much food do they think Ruth eats in two weeks? You tell an unprofessional kid that they will work harder, whine less, and tuck in their shirt, not that you were going to give them a bonus but now that they've voiced concern that they're underpaid you don't think you're going to give it to them. That's just ridiculous.

    Ruth, it sounds like you're doing the best you can. Take care of yourself. Don't let them bully you into paying THEM for working all summer for them, and chalk up your resolve to the lesson you're learning now, that you can survive any uncomfortable situation for two weeks. Put your foot down, even if you have to hop on it.

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  74. Oh, oh, oh: another point. The entire reason this manipulative behavior works is that it makes Ruth think she deserved to be chastised for feeling "undervalued." Of course she didn't act like an unprofessional kid, the employers are just trying to get her to feel like she did so she'll do whatever they want her to do, i.e., pay them $400. Of course she should stick up for herself and learn people can be mean and unreasonable. She should NOT accept that she owes them $400 because they say so.

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  75. i think that the people talking now about how ruth got herself into this situation etc... i'm wondering if you were reading when she was trying to find a living situation/job for the summer. she tried very hard to find something and this was what she found. this didn't happen out of the blue. she didn't accept this over a more formal situation. she found this and there seemed to be not much else.

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  76. Not just ex-ATI; we are all needy sometimesJuly 29, 2010 at 1:39 PM

    I, for one, don't think that Ruth is an "unprofessional kid", it sounds more like the handiwork of a person that is needy and desperate, which by the way fits a lot more people than JUST Ruth, so let's keep it real.

    As much as I applaud Ruth for getting away from her hell-hole situation growing up with Daddy Darth, this little episode happens to people all the time across America and across the world and is not unheard of.

    Yes, Wanderer, we WERE reading this blog the whole time and to be perfectly honest, there are a lot more people than just Ruth in CA who are unemployed and looking for a place to live. Being taken for a ride because one is needy isn't just par for the course for ex-ATI; sometimes we all fall into this trap because we have no other recourse so we take what's handed to us because we are desperate. If I remember correctly (and I do), Ruth was warned by various posters that the terms that the "employers" were offering weren't good, fair, or equitable, that a salary ALONG with room and board is typical and normal for a nanny. However, as has already been said, when push comes to shove and one needs a place to stay ASAP once the dorm room expires at the end of the semester, then the offer seemed pretty good. I would have probably done the same thing. No one accounts for accidents like this occurring. We all hope for the best. Sometimes, things don't work out that way. Once bitten, twice shy as the saying goes. Live and learn as another saying goes. Bottom line is that this little fiasco is nothing but a little blot in the grand scheme of things.

    Of course, Ruth should not pay back the $400. Where would she get it from? Maybe she can plant some beans that were given to her by Jack in the Beanstalk and those beans could turn into money trees, or maybe she could win the golden ticket and hang out with Willy Wonka and get her $400. Or maybe Daddy Warbucks will give it to her.

    Her "employers" are privy to the fact that they paid her NOTHING in salary so I have no clue where they expect her to get the money to pay them back the $400. Maybe they think that she can pull it out of thin air. Yes, they got free childcare most of the summer and rode the gravy train out until this very last incident in which they had to pay a measly $400. Poor babies. Hope that the $400 doesn't send them into bankruptcy. God forbid.

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  77. Ruth,

    This is a yuck position to be in. I sure hope your leg didn't break again. That would just be terrible. But, you are a strong gal and will get through it. I think you have learned some lessons over this summer and won't find yourself in this position again. That is what life is all about...living and learning.

    I wish I knew where you were and I could look up the workers comp laws for you. It should be easy enough to do. You could even call the state workers comp office and see how this falls and if you are entitled to anything.

    Here is the thing, if you DID rebrake your leg, you need to get it fixed NOW!!! Otherwise if it heals improperly, docs could have to rebreak it....again....to set it right.

    I honestly think all you really need to do is mention "workers comp" to your employers who don't pay you and they will take care of medical stuff until you can get back to school.

    Anywho, if things get super bad and you need out, track me down sharonjef2003@yahoo.com I will help you any way I can.

    Take care Ruth!

    -Sharon

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  78. Ruth,

    I am very sorry about your accident. However, please try to look at it from another point of view.

    You have been given a lot by this family, they even let your boyfriend hang out at the pool. They have provided for you during a time when you had no options. Maybe a little appreciation on your part would be a good idea?

    YOU acted by your own accord, and were injured. But this is NOT their fault. Your comments and attitude towards these people is currently bordering on attempted extortion.

    Be grateful, and maybe they will forive the debt you owe them.

    It's very easy to let people egg you on into a situation that will not benefit you or your employers. Jack and Jill should be sensing a lot of gratitude from you right now. This passive-aggressive anger at them is something I'm sure no one happy with.

    I wish you the best of luck.

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  79. @anoymous 4:09. I knew daddy darth had to come out sometime. And there's that word again. "Extortion." I could say so much, but I wont. (Sighs)

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  80. @Not a Fundie: You think it's Daddy Darth? I don't. I do think whoever it is, is being awfully passive-agressive themselves, though. All I see in their post is projection.

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  81. Ruth, I will pray for you (in the good sense) and I hope things are better than they were when you posted. I'm like many of the others and would gladly let you stay with me if you are near me. I'm in California. You could possibly set up an anonymous email such as razingruth@yahoo.com so that those of us with spare rooms could let you know the city so if any are close you could work out arrangements. If you can get free legal advice at a local law school or legal aid, it might be a good thing to do. Getting legal advice does not bind you to doing anything but does clarify where you stand.

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  82. I'm sorry about what's happened to you Ruth. However, I just wanted to comment to tell you not to give another thought to Jill's "we were going to give you a big bonus" BS.

    I babysat when I was ten and I used to say the same thing to the kids I was watching, whenever they misbehaved. I'd tell them "Well, I was going to bake cookies for you later, but since you're being bad..." It's nothing but childish manipulation. She's trying to get you to back down from the justifiable issues you're bringing up.

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  83. Hm, Anonymous 4:09 sounds more like "Jack" or "Jill" or one of their friends than it does Daddy Darth.
    Ruth should be grateful for what? Her non-existent paychecks? Her probably non-existent "bonus"? The fact that she's working full time + overtime for a place to sleep? Being expected to pay back her employers for an x-ray that would normally be covered by insurance or workers comp? Not being allowed to adequately care for her injury when normally she'd be offered light duty until she healed? Yeah - sounds like a real deal for Ruth. [/sarcasm]

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  84. Anonymous @ 4:09, advertising for a position, filling that position, and exchanging goods and services for the work done by the resulting employee isn't charity, it's being an employer, and as such it's not covered by Good Samaritan laws, it's covered by labor laws, and the concurrent expectations. Of course we only see one side of the story here, but I personally am not trying to goad Ruth into anything but knowing her rights, whether or not she decides to act on those rights.

    Ruth, I hate to say it, but if there is any chance Jack and Jill are reading this, you probably want to take these entries down. Blogging about work has never made the situation better once the employers find out. Have you considered transitioning to a service where you can make some entries friends-only? I can send you a dreamwidth.org invite, for example, or there's always Livejournal.

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  85. I'd say if that post WAS made by Jack, Jill, or a friend of theirs, it shows that they're quite scared by the possibility of Ruth turning them in. That post at 4:09 is full of fear.

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  86. I once nannied for a very similar family. Fortunately, for me I wasn't a live in nanny. The kids were wonderful and the dad was really nice. The mom was only nice when she got me to do what she wanted. For example, she did not pay me to clean her house, but she would call me to come over and watch the kids. Instead of watching the kids she'd have me deep cleaning while she homeschooled the older kids and had the younger ones watch movies. I was 16-17 years old and when I complained about this to my mom she would always tell me not to make trouble and to be happy I was getting paid (I "owed them a lot" not the other way around). Bad advice. Seriously.

    One time I had to remind the parents that they had not paid me for a few hours of nannying and the mom was really angry with me. The dad, on the other hand, was horrified that he had forgot to pay me and apologized out the wazoo. It sounds to me like your family is kinda like that. The mom is willing to take advantage where she can. I'm sorry, it sounds rough.

    You are important and need to care for yourself. In some ways, if you don't care for yourself it is harder to care for others and you are obviously very nurturing toward other). Get the rest you need and let them know that you are doing your best. I think you're showing a very reasonable attitude -- erring on the side of too reasonable -- toward your employers.

    They have helped you out, but you have helped them equally if not more so. If I was the mom I'd have been the one jumping into the rabbit hole after the kid who was heading for the street. Keep your options open if you can and consider legal aid. Don't let 'em walk on you just because you're a nice person.

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  87. To anon who said this: "Your comments and attitude towards these people is currently bordering on attempted extortion.

    "Be grateful, and maybe they will forive the debt you owe them."

    Wow, you sound just like all the people in my life who gave me horrible advice and made me feel like I was worthless -- until I had to spend two and a half years in therapy learning how to value myself as a person. You disgust me.

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  88. I really should let this go, because Ruth, you have to decide best what to do, but the number of people on this thread claiming that it was specifically your fault for trying to keep a little girl from running towards a busy street just disgust me.

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  89. To the person at 4:09, I don't know how you know that Ruth's boyfriend was at the pool and frankly I could care less because it's hard to differentiate the lies from the truth here.

    My time at this blog has come to an end, because quite frankly, this is all a bunch of nothing. If you make a bad decision, then you suffer the consequences and you make better choices next time. People that believe in that approach shouldn't be attacked. We've all been taken at some point in our life; nothing new here. Live and learn. School is starting soon and life goes on.

    Ruth, if you haven't filed for some kind of state assistance in the state you're in, you're only hurting yourself. Do what is best for you and keep moving forward. Take care. :)

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  90. Adios: Lies from the truth? She's been more than truthful. She is asking for advice on her situation. Yeah, we've all been taken, but most of us were raised to be equipped to deal with it. Sanctimonious d-bag.

    Although I agree with applying for aid. Ruth, in your case its a hand up, NOT a hand out. Your situation is what the system was made for.

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  91. @annonymous 4:09
    "YOU acted by your own accord, and were injured. But this is NOT their fault. Your comments and attitude towards these people is currently bordering on attempted extortion."

    No, it's not their fault that she was injured on the job (it's not hers, either... just bad luck), but it IS their responsibility to make sure she gets the medical attention she needs, and to finance treatment for it through worker's comp or other means since she was on the job. It doesn't matter that she was on overtime... she was still working.

    She never said she had an issue with their initial agreement over room & board + groceries for watching the kids. But she does have an issue with being told the bill would be covered only to find out that that wasn't the case.

    You'd think that they'd realize they should pay without question, because if Ruth takes this to get payment through worker's comp, her employment situation will get looked into, and that's when it'll be found out that they aren't doing the necessary things for their employee(s). The $400 bill will turn out to be the better end of the deal for them should that happen.

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  92. Well good luck to them find someone else like you who would work for free.

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  93. It's great to hear the input and responses of a variety of people when dealing with a situation, which is something this blog definitely provides. That being said, when making a decision, I recommend you make sure you have all of the facts you can.

    That means going to legal aid and learning about what your rights are, how difficult it will be to pursue them, and what assistance you can obtain in doing so. (Keep in mind there are time limits on some of your potential claims, so you should do this relatively soon.) You can then decide to pursue the option that fits best with your situation. That could range from having someone at legal aid help you draft a letter to your employer to getting assistance in filing a complaint with the department of labor in your state. Regardless, being informed allows you to make the right choice for you, even if you decide to move on without taking any action at all.

    There's no need to tell your employer you're pursuing legal information. It just concerns me that some posters are implying that just going to legal aid will be harmful to your interests. In my opinion, arming yourself with the best information possible before making decisions is never a bad idea.

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  94. Anonymous at 4:09 does sound like Jill, but I don't know how she'd have found the blog unless something was done on her computer.

    I wish you'd check in Ruth, I'm worried about you.

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  95. Yes, Ruth. Please check in. I'm new here, but I'm concerned about you.

    My daughter who is trying to go to UGA this fall just interviewed for a position as a nanny much like yours--just for room and board. No, our daughter won't be taking that nanny position and probably won't be able to go to UGA (I'm really sad about that). But I'm sure we've averted a terrific disaster since nothing was going to be spelled out any better than your responsibilities were and there were many red flags regarding the mother of the child.

    Our family has recently escaped from a large IFB cult in Greenville, SC, that had an unaccredited university attached to it that my daughter was expected to attend. An unfortunate result of our previous life is that we are basically ignorant of scholarships, community service work, and anything to "work the system" and of course by definition we are completely broke.

    My daughter and I are both praying for you and want to hear how things are working out. Blessings to you as you complete your break with your cult and figure out how to finish your education. Be comforted to know that others are in the same position or worse.--If that's really any comfort ;) More comfort in the fact that many are praying and hopefully filling your tip jar.

    Amazed by it all....

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  96. $.02 - join the rest of us o' meek onesJuly 31, 2010 at 9:44 AM

    To Anonymous at 3:53, just because someone participates in social programs one is eligible for, it does not mean that they "work the system." The "system" is supposed to be a safety net for those that are going through difficult times such as Ruth as well as others. There are a lot of people "broke" nowadays, IFB and non-IFB. Not everyone in the non-IFB "secular" world knows all the ins and outs of "working the system", or getting scholarships or community service work; in fact, I would say that a lot of people do not know. That's why God created social workers and those that have gone to college for four or five years to get a Bachelor's degree in helping others. If you don't know, then see a social worker who does know.

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  97. Ivy26, you have the nerve to call another blogger a sanctimonious D-bag just because you don't agree with him/her? To be perfectly honest here, I'm beginning to think that this whole blog is a crock of crap. Apparently, anyone who has a viewpoint than the "consensus" gets attacked here. Wow, what's the difference between this and the ATI background that Ruth came from? Seems like the same dictatorship mentality to me. When people start calling other bloggers sanctimonious d-bags, then you know you're dealing with the lowest common denominator.

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  98. The bottom line is that Ruth made a decision that fell outside the realm of her duties. A similar, but more extreme case was a worker at McDonalds saw a woman being physically attacked and came to her aid. He was shot and paralyzed by the attacker. There was no question he was on duty at the time. Because HE made the choice to act, he is not eligible for ANY benefits, medical or unemployment. It may sound harsh, but it is the law.

    I've employed people like Ruth, in nanny/housekeeping positions. Whereas I'm certain Ruth has many fine qualities, people with her background, baggage and narrow range of awareness don't make ideal employees. I know this will be taken the wrong way and it not my intention to cause problems or strife. But Ruth doesn't possess many social skills and is, awkward, at best. A very nice young woman, with good intentions? Yes, of course. But you must understand that this family has made many accomodations for her, and she "appears" to want to blame them for something that isn't their fault.

    Maybe I'm wrong. Ruth, please make your own decisions while weighing what you know to be right with the assorted opinions you've heard.

    Best of luck to you.

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  99. Whereas I'm certain Ruth has many fine qualities, people with her background, baggage and narrow range of awareness don't make ideal employees. I know this will be taken the wrong way and it not my intention to cause problems or strife. But Ruth doesn't possess many social skills and is, awkward, at best.

    This statement is bizarre...up until the accident, J & J were thrilled w/ Ruth's performance...as in "ideal" nanny.

    "Narrow range of awareness?" Ruth demonstrates acute perception and apparently has sufficient social skills to build an adult life w/o the ordinary family support.

    Clearly, the only person lacking "awareness" here is YOU!

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