The Audacity to be a Job Poacher
As much as I try to analyze situations without passing judgment, this type of approach often leaves me in an emotional frenzy. I try to place myself in various situations and think rationally of what I would do, but I often come back to the same answer: Although we may deviate from the norm and very often trespass against others, the idea of deliberately undermining another nanny in an attempt to replace her is nothing short of job poaching. In colloquial St. Lucian creole dialect, we simply call it “voler,” a verb meaning to steal! But as a rational individual, I can’t analyze things so narrowly, so I’ve decided to delve deeper into this phenomenon to better understand it. Why do I find this so hard? For a minute, I stopped typing this blog and uttered loudly, “I can’t be reasonable about this. The phenomenon is too distasteful.” But I decided to continue! You see, too many nannies have lost their livelihoods because of avaricious, covetous, and darn right ungrateful individuals who betray the goodness of someone who was trying to help.
Let me set the scene for you. A nanny who’s employed by a family for years decides to have another professional nanny hold her job during an absence. Perhaps she is facing a sudden grave and unforeseen situation like the death of family members overseas or medical emergencies involving hospitalization. In her attempt to maintain continuity of service for the family, she decides, with the family’s approval, to choose someone to fill in, a fellow nanny she knows. The reality is, most such temporary jobs are accepted by nannies who are out of work. No one can deny the nobility of the hired nanny to help another, particularly one who is unemployed, but this very noble decision has ultimately cost many their jobs.
Very often, the nanny has not even boarded the aircraft to the sunny isle or is still at the emergency unit of the hospital when her replacement, aka the job poacher, is busy spewing every negative “fact” she believes she knows about that nanny. I can hear you saying, “Are you serious?” Indeed I am. Even as I type this, I wish I were writing a piece for April Fool’s Day, but, no, this is a big problem many face within the nanny community. The very unappreciative professional continues her deliberate attempts to make the permanent hired nanny appear to be the wrong choice for the parents. She shrugs her shoulders in disbelief about the nanny’s salary if the employer happens to bring it up. She’s dismayed that the hired nanny is not doing more. She presents herself as the Mary Poppins the family should have hired and gradually manages to ingratiate herself with the family, walking away with a prize: her friend’s job.
When I heard about the vast number of nannies who have faced this situation, I speculated about reasons. I could not understand why one would undermine another who has clearly afforded them the ability to make a living, no matter how impermanent the job is. In my very organic analysis of the situation, I realized that many were operating out of sheer greed and a lack of consideration for their peers. Perhaps as a community, we face a systematic issue, one that has plagued us for centuries. We seem to operate on the notion that we are like crabs in a barrel, doing everything we can to pull others down instead of offering them our support or an anchor to rise, to do better. Like crabs in a barrel, who pull down a crab that is trying to escape, we do everything possible to undermine another who’s doing better, one who may simply be trying to escape poverty. When we cause others to lose their livelihoods, are we not haunted by our consciences? Have we become immune to others’ pain? Perhaps in an attempt to justify the wrongful decision to deliberately undermine one another, we concoct false stories to pacify our ill actions, which makes a bad situation worse.
I believe in the greater good, that we all have the ability to do better, especially when we know better. Although we deviate from the norm and trespass against each other, perhaps this blog could cause us to question our actions and to realize that we are stronger, greater, and wiser when we work collectively, as a community.