Monday, March 13, 2006

We finally did it.....

After much discussion and soul searching, thinking that probably we are the fussy ones, or we probably make bad employers when it comes maids, we decided to send our maid to the agent for counselling.

We gave her a one-day leave. Dropped her off at the agent's house and told her we will pick her up the next day. In the mean time, we went for a much needed break. We went to Port Dickson. I will tell more about that (the break) in another posting.

Prior to dropping her off, we had met up with the agent a week earlier, to seek his advice, as to what we should do in dealing with our maid. It has come to a point when not a day would pass by without her giving me problems. I was constantly under stress and it was beginning to also affect my hubby, and my son was also starting to feel the heat of my stress.

The peak of it was last Sunday when she let in a contractor into our house, even though it was only for a brief moment for him to pick up his things which he had left after doing some repair works to the house. I had many times told her never to open the gate to strangers.

We (my hubby, son and I) were upstairs taking an afternoon nap when I heard the gate opening and closing. At first I thought it was the neighbours (I am a light sleeper), but after a while, I realised that the sound sounded too near, and I got up to check. I was shocked to see a man loading up his van with construction things belonging to our contractor and with my maid passing a pail to him filled up with other working things.

I hurriedly rushed down, calling out to my maid, asking her why she had let in a stranger (she never met the contractor before this because it was his workers that came to do the repair works) when I had specifically told her never to open the gate 2 strangers. By the time I got down, that stranger had left the house in his van.

Her answer? "Puan tidur, saya tak nak ganggu" (You were sleeping. I did not want to disturb you). I had once told her before that should a stranger come a calling, and if noone is at home or if I did not hear her when she knocks on my bedroom door, no matter what, she is not to open the door. She should either keep on knocking on my door, or, if it is urgent that that person needs to talk to me, to tell the stranger to call me, or my hubby, on the phone, or come back later.

When I tried to explain to her the danger of opening the door to strangers, she had this very annoyed look on her face, like she is mad at me for scolding her. She just doesn't want to admit that she is in the wrong. She must think that she is one very smart women, and smart people shouldn't need to be told what can and cannot be done (or so she thinks).

She refused to look me in the eye, and all this while, while I was talking to her, she went about doing her chores with a very sour face. Even when I told her to stop doing her chores and come and sit down so that I can explain to her why I scolded her, she just wouldn't budge frm cleaning the fridge. She just kept at it (cleaning the fridge) even though I kept calling out to her. Eventually I got up and went to her (my hubby said that I shouldn't have gotten up).

That was the last straw. I could no longer take this attitude anymore. I could tolerate her not-up-to standard work, but this attitude problem is getting way out of hand where is she starting to purposely want to annoy me. I cannot forget the look on her face as I spoke to her as she cleaned the fridge that day. It was a face of great annoyance (I can't really explain or put it in words that can actually make you imagine that expression correctly), and that of someone who needs her head checked.

Anyway, back to present day (sorry for blabbering! *wink*), when we went to pick up our maid the next day, the agent told us that she complained, among many other things, that she has to work long hours (getting up early and sleeping late). She wakes up at 5.00 am (I get up at 5.15 am) and she is in bed by 10.00 to 10.30 pm on most days (my hubby and I sleep much later than that). It was only one month (mid January to mid February) that there were a few late nights as we were preparing for my brother's wedding and my FIL's birthday party.

The other late nights were when we take out my in-laws for dinner, we work outstation and take a late flight back, or when my hubby goes to the gym. Days like these are not often. On these days, she normally sleeps first at 10.00 pm and gets up only to open the door.

She has to work two houses (my MIL's house and our house). There are 3 other maids at my MIL's house - my SIL's maid, my BIL's maid and my MIL's maid. My maid's job is just to take care of my son and his things. When my son goes to school (she has taken naps sometimes during those times), she is relatively free and once in a while, my MIL would ask her to help her. She is picky (berkira) and always has accuses not to follow my MIL's instructions.

My two previous maids have been able to work happily together with my MIL's and SIL's previous maids in the same situation for the past 4-5 years with no major problems. The previous batch of maids have mutual respect for one another, and they work together to help out my MIL to take care of 4 children, cook, and clean up the house, though the major portion of the work is done by my MIL's maid as the head butler, as we like to call her role.

My maid said that she is not comfortable that we are always inspecting her work, like we dn't trust her. With my two previous maids, I always inspect their work the 1st 3 months they start working for us to make sure that they carry out their work the way I had taught them to do. After I am satisfied that they are trustworthy and will carry out their chores according to the rules I have set out, I will no longer need to inspect or monitor their work and can get on with doing my own things like stitching or card making! *wink*

It only took me a month of monitoring my 1st maid before I was satisfied that she is doing her job correctly, while it took slightly over 2 months for my 2nd maid to need monitoring, but it has been close to 6 months already with this present maid, and I am still not satisfied with the way she does things because the minute she knows that I am not within her vision, she cuts corner (curi tulang). When asked if she had done what she is supposed to do, she will quickly answer `yes', but, upon inspection, she has yet to do it. When asked why she said she had done it when she hasn't, she said that she forgot. Can you belive this woman? And she expects me to trust her? *sigh*

Anything else she complained? Yes, she does not like the fact that I sort out my laundry and load the washing machine myself. She only takes them out to dry. Again, she says that I don't trust her. She is right! I don't trust her. When she 1st came, I told her that my working clothes are to be hand washed only, but I have caught her dumping everthing inside the washing machine! Can I trust this woman?

Ooohh! The list is endless, but basically, the agent agreed with us that her head needs checking, she has a attitude problem and, to put it short, she is LAZY! She makes up accuses to get away from doing chores and lies if she thinks that it will get her off from doing certain things. She has no initiative to do things on her own, and needs to be reminded constantly even of routine things.

After all that, are we still retaining her? We had a long chat/discussion with her with the agent present. I followed-up with another pep talk with her alone when we got home last night. She is under probation for a month. Basically we told her that we are going to go on observing and monitoring her work until she can prove to us that she is worthy of our trust. She will have to change her attitude and will not make any more accuses to get out of doing chores, or when instructed to do things. I told her I do not wish to see her sour face anymore in the house and she is to respond to me immediately with a smile.

Do I have faith that she will change? Bad habits die hard but she is young. She can change IF she wants to. It is now all up to her. In the mean time, we will just have wait and see. We are leaving our options open. I wish ourselves the BEST OF LUCK! May Allah give us patience.

1 comment:

mamavespa said...

Sabar bebanyak ye...ur maid is really menyakitkan hati..