Friday, 13 January 2012

Wake me up in 30 minutes...

Some of my close friends might have heard this story but to those that haven't, here is my first horror experience with the maid, J.

J was a referral that came to interview with us. I thought ok, let's try her for she claimed to have lots of experience working with expats, had a good command of English. I did find her a tad bit talkative but MC said it was as she was nervous, her hands were shaking throughout the whole time.

Our agreement was she would be a live in maid on 6 day week, and be in charge of doing all domestic house chores. I asked J about salary expectations, she said she was fine with whatever salary offered. Then, I was clueless on market rate on salaries so I told her I'd have a think and get back to her.  She said ok.

Day 1 arrived. I had a chat with her in regards the specific job scope & salary. When she heard the salary I was offering, she didn't react well. She said her undereducated friend was drawing $xxx so why should she, someone educated, office working lady earn less?? I told her firstly I'd asked her during interview stage on salary expectations, she said none. Secondly this offered price is based on research I've been doing with various people. (Mind you, I was offering her 33% more than some neighbours). She kept going on & on about her uneducated friend, I told her this is her first month working, we can review the salary again if she is up to my standards. Topic closed for now.

The first task I'd asked her to do is the help me mop the floor for some of the common areas. 10 minutes into the task, she came to me.
J: "Mdm, I'm mopping the living room but it's hot - I'm sweating. Where is the fan?"
Me: "Oh. There isn't a fan in the living room, only central air-con. But ok, I'll turn it on for you."

J had only mopped 3 rooms in the hour, by then I decided to bring her out with me. I wanted to pick up some items from the shop and get takeaway lunch for her as there was nothing edible at home. None of our personal belongings had arrived then so cooking wasn't an option.

We got into the car, I told my driver to bring me to Pali Market. J who was seated in front turned around and said "No mdm, we go to Sahakari Bazaar. They have everything under one roof." I pondered for a while and thought ok, I'm new in town so why not?

To my disappointment when we got there, Sahakari was a C grade supermarket. I had done some shopping the previous day and didn't find anything appealing there. My intention, be in & out within 15 minutes. Our next stop was to pick up some food for J.

Me: "J, buy some food for your lunch & dinner. We have the microwave so you can heat up your dinner tonight as Sir & I are going out".
J: "Oh no mdm, no need for dinner. There is this fast food place Candies near the house, they sell their food after 10pm on discount".
Me: "10pm? That's too late for you to be taking your dinner and I won't allow you to go out at night."
J: "Never mind, we can ask someone else or the driver to go buy the food."
Me: "No, we won't be. We'll figure out something else for your dinner".

I was surprised at the her comment suggesting someone goes out to buy her dinner for her - what a princess maid I have! Our typical routine with the driver is, he will bring MC home from work and he's let off for the day. We would go out for food in our neighborhood by foot. The driver is rarely kept past 8pm unless there are functions.

We got home, I told J to have her lunch and next task for the day is ironing. By then, I was getting bit irritated with her so decided to go separate myself from her for a while.

The house was rather quiet so I went to check on her. J was nowhere in sight in the kitchen. I opened the kitchen door that looked out into the maid's area. Her door was shut so I called out to her. J opened her room door in her pajamas!!!
I was flabbergasted, and said "J, what are you doing?"
J: "Oh mdm, I'm resting. I'm having a headache, I'll sleep for another 30 mins ok?"
By then, I was so pissed off I said "Whatever" and stomped off.

I couldn't contain myself and decided to do a reference check with her ex-employer (I was silly, should have done it way earlier). My suspicions about J were all confirmed by the ex-employer who shared the following:-
1. J is very strong minded, will not listen to other's instructions.
2. She is not suited to be a cleaner as she isn't good with housework.
3. She loves talking, she more so wants to be your friend.
4. J only lasted in her house for 3 months as it wasn't going well.
5. On the plus side, J will never be the sort of maid who goes through your drawers, play with your make up or lotion as she's not into vanity (hell yea!). Her ex-employer had to on a few occasions ask her to dress more presentably and be more hygiene conscious.

I informed J that in the near future if she is unwell and needed to rest, inform me beforehand. The bold woman had the cheek of answering me back saying "Here, we are always given breaks every 30 mins." I was very mad by then and told her she had just finished her lunch, that was deemed a break too. I don't mind mini breaks once in a while, but she will know that I will NOT give sleeping breaks during the day. I might be new in India but I'm not an idiot so don't take me for a sucker - a break every 30 mins??! Nonsense.

By then I decided, dammit I should have listened to my initial instincts! It wasn't going to work out, I didn't want J anymore. Went to receptionists downstairs, informed them to spread the word that I'm on the lookout for maid. I was desperate and wanted some help (even if its temporary to help us when our belongings arrived in few days time!!!) or else I'd be screwed big time!

I went back upstairs, J tells me she has been offered a job which pays her what she wants (I don't know if it's the truth or a ploy to negotiate salary increment - I didn't care).
Me: "I'm glad for you, congratulations. You will leave today".

I rang security informed them the maid is no longer serving me. Within 5 mins, the guards came up and escorted her down. I never felt as angry as that day in a long time, the whole day's events kept reenacting in my mind - I was too soft and vowed to be more sharp in assessing the next one. Some tease I could host the next Apprentice show, perhaps!

So there you go, my first experience of maids in India. Thankfully I have got a great one now, so far so good! Am on the lookout for another to help out - wish me luck!

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