Monday, August 12, 2013

things NOT to say in an interview

today is our nanny's last day. i have major anxiety about it. it's like a really awkward/terrible break up where the guy is super great and you love him, but you're not IN love - complete with him giving back a bunch of your crap in a box and returning your house key. eef. i am NOT looking forward to going home today. i really don't do well with crying. there have already been lots of "meaningful talks" and "getting choked up." and i'm pretty sure she loves J more than her own grandchildren (C too, but she's been with J since he was 6 months old and now he's 3 (three?!) so they've got more history) so it is not going to be pretty. she really is wonderful and our kids have benefitted immensely in her care. we will all be going through withdrawals, Jack especially. she's like a surrogate mom/grandma, preschool teacher, and also housekeeper, which is worth eleventy billion bonus points. most importantly, i trust her implicitly with the children, which is rare and priceless. of course, her services are rather pricey, so we won't miss that part! she's also left us totally stranded without childcare on multiple occasions, the effects of which contributed to me getting passed up for a promotion at work, but daycare and preschool are equally at fault, as are DM and I - who decided to have two children and who want to be there for at least a portion of their upbringing (and/or cannot afford around-the-clock child care :))

the other night she texted me and said she had gone on an interview with some strange family that lived in a tiny apartment-slash-zoo and that we we going to be impossible to replace (and obviously there's some stiff competition ;)) i wrote back "awww. that's nice. well, if you start missing us too much, just take comfort in thoughts of our messy house, dirty kitchen, living through two remodel projects, and that time you outsourced all of our laundry for three weeks." i was trying to be nice and i figured she'd write back something like, "oh you guys aren't that messy!" but instead she wrote, "You are worth all that!" lol. sigh. this is what we've become.

anyway. this got me thinking about the original, stressful search for nannies and babysitters and backups and replacements and daycares, etc. i have interviewed a LOT of child care providers over the past 3 years... and have come up with a list of things you do not want to say during your interview, particularly when the position involves caring for children:

"eventually you're going to accidentally slam the kid's head into a wall so it's best not to stress out about it too much." [this lady had dubbed herself an "infant expert" but was more like harvey karp on crack. i stayed home the first day to test the waters and i walked in on her shushing J at jet-engine decibels and nearly "jiggling" his head off. the poor kid looked like he had PTSD. needless to say she didn't last the day.]

"i have a lot of experience [though no children of my own] so i am not afraid to tell parents what they're doing wrong." don't call us, we'll call you.

why did you leave your last employer? "she was a total control freak." "the kids were nightmares." "all they ate were chicken nuggets and ketchup." um, yeah, this isn't going to work out.

"you really should make your own ranch dressing. that storebought stuff is terrible." b*tch, my kid is eating a carrot. leave it alone.

"i'm sure if you really wanted to breastfeed, you could do it." F. U.

"i don't like dogs." so you're saying you're a sociopath...? (just kidding. sort of ;))

"you can just call me Anna Banana." yeahhh, no.

"you seem to be a much better mother than my daughter-in-law." oh lord. poor girl.

"you hard-working, beer-drinking american women - i feel sorry for your husbands." that's nice, but i feel more sorry for myself.

"american girls don't understand, he must be treated like persian prince that he is. he will not lift a finger." trust me, the last thing this kid needs is further evidence that the entire world revolves around him.

"i usually work for 'trophy wives' who just sit around and watch me take care of their kids." sadly (for me), that is not the experience provided here.

"i don't like it when the parents are around while i'm trying to take care of their kids." okay, i admit, it is super awkward, but it happens sometimes, and the fact that you're making this disclaimer 60 seconds in makes me suspicious. also your sketchy wrist tattoos and mysteriously unreachable references.

"i don't feel like i should be expected to cook for or clean up after your child. i'm here to play and have fun!" well i don't feel like i should be expected to do that either but dems da breaks, sugar!

when she asked about my "parenting style," i mentioned my "go to" parenting book that explains my approach to naps, schedules, etc, and she replied "oh... i don't really read books." when i looked at her like, ????? she added, "i mean, like, grown-up ones." ummmm.... yeeeah.

"we will teach your children in the montessori style, which includes learning to sweep, fold, and put things away." actually, i'm kind of liking the sound of this...

"all of the children sleep from 1pm to 4pm [on tiny mats] in the same room." me: do they actually sleep? him: oh yes. the entire time. me: what drugs are you feeding them... and where can i get some???

why do you want to be a nanny? "well, i'm really an actress, i'm just trying to make some extra money until i get my big break." "i couldn't hack it in nursing school." "i couldn't get a 'real' job out of college." yeah, no.

"i'm 18, from Brazil, and missed my calling as a victoria's secret model." yeah, sorry, the position's been filled. this reminded my girlfriend of a funny, related story - she went on a babysitting job and when she walked in the woman said "the last nanny I interviewed was a tall gorgeous Brazilian girl and coming on the heels of that Jude Law scandal I was so glad to open the door and see you." thanks a lot! ha!

and last, but certainly not least - "oh, thank you, i just love balls on my face!" we actually love this lady - she still sits for us - and in her defense, J was putting (rubber, bouncy) balls on her face, and DM and I have the sense of humor of a 16 year old boy.


okay, re: non-child-care positions.... all i really know is... the "interests" section in your resume? this is a big conspiracy between the career development office of your college/grad school and the employers of america, so that everyone can LAUGH AT YOU.

for example. the first time i sent my resume in to my current employer, i had in the interests section "beaches [like, the actual thing, not the bette midler movie], hot yoga, and cheese." this was listed right after i mentioned that i know "conversational spanish" (code for "i worked in a mexican restaurant for a long time so i know how to place very specific food orders and curse your mother in 17 different ways,") and that i had lived in both the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. taken together, i thought it made me sound worldy, casual, fit, and fun. turns out the interviewer initially rejected my resume out of hand because she said the juxtaposition of "hot yoga and cheese" conjured up images of a bad yeast infection. she still sometimes refers to me as "hot yoga", which i guess is better than some of the alternatives.

some other winners:

turtle rescue, butter tasting, amateur mixologist, three card monte, dusting, extreme housekeeping, auditioning for reality shows, creating iTunes playlists, charcoal grilling, entrepreneurialism, writing (working on a screenplay), viewing the Bodies exhibit at the Natural History Museum, walking around Old Town Sacramento, racquetball (nationally ranked junior player), and Rachael Ray. oh, and of course, Cross Fit and the Paleo Diet. eeee'rybody loves the Cross Fit and the Paleo.

also. once, during an interview, my (former) employer said this: "you minored in critical gender studies? what is that? some lesbian shit?" AND I STILL TOOK THE JOB.

the end.



  1. That's funny! I have never had to hire a nanny. I really wish I needed to cos that shit would be funny! Thanks for hooking up to the Hump Day Hook Up

  2. Definitely provides some good material! ;)

  3. Omigod -- those nanny responses are hilarious!!