General Etiquette > Life...in general

Help with Housekeeper and communication -updated post 35

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TabathasGran:
This might seem like a ridiculous problem but it's important to me.

I travel frequently for work and about a year ago threw in the towel and admitted I needed help keeping my house clean.

I found a housekeeper, Shirley, online and it has improved my life greatly to have her come every other week and do the basics.  I'm more motivated to keep things organized now and not so overwhelmed by life in general. This part is really important! I like her, trust her in my home and with my pets and want to maintain a good relationship with her.

Also, most of our communication is either over text or via notes. I hardly ever see her and probably will not see her again for months.

But...she's done, or rather said, a few things that really tick me off and I want to hear opinions about a) if others would be bothered by her comments and b) if and how I should address these kinds of comments in the future. I also have some issues with how she does certain things, but I will keep that separate for now.

Here is the most recent example:

I have a friend, Ann, who hired Shirley after I introduced them. Ann has a full time job, is a single parent of two very active kids and has aging parents that she regularly assist. We are very close. Ann's life has been particularly chaotic the last few years and as a result, her house can be chaotic, too.

Just before her last visit, I texted Shirley to ask her to leave the part of my bedroom near the closet alone, as Ann had helped me organize all my work clothes and we had pulled all my shoes out and did not want her to put them back. (She tends to cram things in closets and cabinets to make a room look nice, which drives me nuts! A hidden mess is not less of a mess!)

When I got home Shirley had left me a note. In her note she said "Did I hear you right that Ann actually helped you organize your closet?! Ha!"

I was offended at her making jokes about Ann's ability to organize things. It just seems out of line to mock a friend of mine to me, especially as Ann employs her, too. Also completely unkind and lacking in understanding of just how tough it can be to keep a house clean while raising kids with no assistance.

I would prefer she text when she leaves. I think sometimes she's in and out of here so quickly that she prefers notes because then I don't know how long she was here.

I also have come to despise these notes she leaves a note each visit, always on a notecard and always containing something that sets me off and feels passive-agressive. If you want more examples I will share them.

She also makes passive aggressive comments in person. Last time she was here I said I was going to do the vacuuming. I wanted to do this because I was home, wanted to speed her visit that day for her benefit and because I vacuum after she leaves each time, anyway.  She repeatedly said "You are scaring me" as if I was incapable of cleaning, until I was ready to blow my top!

I would like your opinions on this and perhaps ideas for dealing with the PA comments without being hurtful or negative toward her. She can be a lovely person and I truly don't think she realizes how judgmental she sounds sometimes.

jmarvellous:
Is there something you DO like about your housekeeper? It seems to me like all these problems would be solved by hiring a new housekeeper whose communication style was more in line with yours.

There are just so many people in this line of work that I'm struggling to understand why you'd keep her around. I've never had a cleaner, but I have had hair stylists, elective instructors, or service industry professionals I've "fired" (i.e., not gone back to) for this sort of thing. It's a business decision, not a relationship choice.

MorgnsGrl:
To me it sounds like you don't like the way she communicates (she is rude about your friend,) you don't trust her (you think she leaves notes instead of texting because otherwise you would have proof that she is not working the amount of time she claims) and you don't like the way she cleans (she chucks everything into closets to make it "look clean" when it really isn't.) With so many strikes against her, I think you'd be better off just hiring someone else.

TootsNYC:

--- Quote from: jmarvellous on March 30, 2014, 02:45:05 PM ---Is there something you DO like about your housekeeper? It seems to me like all these problems would be solved by hiring a new housekeeper whose communication style was more in line with yours.

There are just so many people in this line of work that I'm struggling to understand why you'd keep her around. I've never had a cleaner, but I have had hair stylists, elective instructors, or service industry professionals I've "fired" (i.e., not gone back to) for this sort of thing. It's a business decision, not a relationship choice.

--- End quote ---

I sort of agree with this.

Especially since you seem to be worried about how long she spends cleaning your house. I'm wondering why that is--do you feel that she's not actually cleaning things?

And the whole "chucking things in closets" is a no-go for a cleaner, in my opinion. None of them should do it; they should be asking what you want them to do with stuff that's left out and following those directions.

It's one thing to take the empty glass from the coffee table and put it in the dishwasher. But if you've left a stack of stuff in the corner, the proper thing to do is to take it out of the corner so you can vacuum, and then put it back right where it was.

"Don't mess with my stuff."  That's a basic tenet of etiquette.

I'm w/ MorgnsGrl; three strikes against her. Find someone else. Start looking, and then switch once you've found someone.

m2kbug:

--- Quote from: MorgnsGrl on March 30, 2014, 02:51:34 PM ---To me it sounds like you don't like the way she communicates (she is rude about your friend,) you don't trust her (you think she leaves notes instead of texting because otherwise you would have proof that she is not working the amount of time she claims) and you don't like the way she cleans (she chucks everything into closets to make it "look clean" when it really isn't.) With so many strikes against her, I think you'd be better off just hiring someone else.

--- End quote ---

In addition, she's in peoples homes and sees the messes and works in a more intimate way in your personal space and life, she passes judgement, and then shares.  What is she saying behind your back about you and your home?  This whole scenario makes me very uncomfortable.  I think I would be seeking services elsewhere.  She works in an industry where she needs to keep her opinions to herself, at least as far with other clientele.  Your referral got her a job with Ann.  You don't bite the hand that feeds you.

As for words, I really have nothing specific.  You could explain to her that it is not appropriate to talk about Ann and other clients, and of course explain to her about keeping closets organized.

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