Nanny's Bad Habits Threaten To Outweigh Her Good Ones

Dear Abby

DEAR ABBY: My children's nanny, "Daisy," has been with us for more than two years. She's not the best, but I know I could do a lot worse. The most important thing is my children adore her and she is used to our routine. By and large, I'm happy to have her. However, I have two pet peeves I don't know how to address.

Daisy is always late. Not by much, mind you -- but it is consistent. She's at least five minutes late every single day. Maybe it shouldn't bother me so much, but it does. I never dock her pay for tardiness, and I always pay her on time.

To me, it's a reflection of how important she views her job. I feel it is disrespectful. The kicker is, Daisy is studying to be a nurse. I have told her unless she breaks this bad habit, she'll be fired from a future nursing job.

The second thing is, on hot, humid days, Daisy has the worst body odor imaginable. When the weather is cool, she doesn't smell, but once sticky weather arrives, the wall of stench is enough to make my nose hairs curl. One day it made me physically ill and I had to excuse her for the day without explaining why.

How should I address these problems? Or am I making too big a deal out of this? -- HAVING ISSUES IN VIRGINIA

DEAR HAVING ISSUES: Daisy may not be the best employee, but a good employer makes clear what the ground rules are when someone is hired. Because you're a stickler for punctuality, remind Daisy about what her hours are and stress that you expect her to be on time or risk having her pay docked. (If she uses public transportation, there should be some flexibility, but because she's late every day she should be told she needs to leave home a few minutes earlier.)

As to her personal hygiene issue, address it directly. Tell her you expect her to have showered, used deodorant and put on fresh clothes before coming to work -- especially in the summer.

Helpful hint: When you hire someone, have a list of written rules prepared for the individual to read and sign so there will be no misunderstandings. Doing that is being an effective boss.


DEAR ABBY: I am going to a concert by a popular band. My brother and my cousin always make fun of this band. People commenting online also post mean things about them. I know they have a right to their own opinions, but I don't get the same reactions when I talk about or listen to other popular music.

Did people do this 10 or 20 years ago? Do they think it's cool to express hatred about mainstream musicians? Maybe the more popular something is, the more people there are having negative feelings toward it. -- FREE TO LISTEN AT 13

DEAR FREE TO LISTEN: There is always a degree of backlash against hugely popular entertainers because some people think it's more "cool" to be a fan of a new, upcoming band. Years ago, some people loved the Beatles and hated the Rolling Stones, and vice versa. The behavior you describe has been going on ever since the music business began.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.


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