Tuesday, July 04, 2006

[more animal noises]

my hero
Originally uploaded by pwilnyc.

Remember the babysitter who spaced on what time she was supposed to pick up my four-year-old from camp? She wasn't particularly contrite when I called in a panic, nor did she apologize at the end of the day. Fine. I wouldn't have accepted an apology with any kind of grace.

So, she emailed this week:

I was just curious if you needed me to babysit [Big Man] and [Mr. Three] anymore, or not. (and if you did, could I have a schedule for the rest of the times when you'll need me?) I'd appreciate it, thanks!
I emailed her back:
Thanks, [Ex-Babysitter], but we've found somebody else.
The reply (totally unnecessary unless you have a pathological need to have the last word):
that's what I expected. More timeliness though next time in telling me would have been appreciated. Have a good summer.
Timeliness, huh? If I hadn't conquered my own pathological need to have the last word (and this doesn't count!), I would email her back, hoping that some good advice might make up for my shabby treatment of her.

I would express my chagrin that all the plum snowball-stand jobs will have already been snapped up, but I would point out that given her inability to retain pertinent details, she's going to be looking for jobs a LOT, so in the long run she may thank me for releasing her into a tough job market.

I would recommend that she play to her strengths: fancy education and glossy hair. I would caution, however, that a veneer of professionalism is not only somewhat unnecessary when we're talking about a 6-hour-a-week babysitting gig, but can lead to misunderstandings when the employer interprets the language of professionalism as evidence of sort of a minimum level of professional behavior.

My most valuable advice to her, though, as she makes her way through the exciting whirl of job interviews, first days of work, and subsequent dismissals, would be to keep her chin up. I would say:
[Ex-Babysitter], a lot of ex-employers are going to try to point out your weaknesses and refuse to give you references after you've burned down their chicken place because you forgot to turn the fryer off when you left for the day. That kind of negative feedback could eventually take the edge off your Gibralteresque sense of entitlement.

Don't let it! That sense of entitlement is all you've got, really, so you should keep it wrapped up safe: buff and polish it, until its glare blinds all potential employers... so that saps like me will hire you even when more qualified and personable candidates are available (and luckily, I'm talking about [Current Babysitter], who is fun and prompt and easygoing and who doesn't bring a BOOK when she comes to babysit two boys under the age of 5).

Have a good summer!
In other words: you flail, I bail.