Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Do nannies have the right to be less professional?

For the last few days a big discussion is going on in the world of Turkish moms...Sibel Arna, a fashion writer of a daily newspaper and also mom of a 9-month-old boy wrote an article about her boat cruise vacation with her son and their nanny and it was basically about how the nanny screwed up mainly because she probably also got into vacation mode and eg. mixed up the soup she was supposed to prepare and constantly mentioned that she would also like to swim in the sea and would love to have her family around, too...and at the end of the article Arna also gives another example of her friend's nanny who dissapeared for one hour during a resort vacation to take belly-dancing lessons(!).
Now the main problem I think was the tone of the article which was unnecessarily aggressive and rude. But I'm not sure if I agree with most of the moms who bombarded her with criticism and judged her to be mean and degrading. I think trying to turn this into a snobbish/rich/cruel/mean woman against poor/hard-working/over-sensitive/working-class girl is a bit exaggerated.
This reminded me of a similar incident that happened when I was working for Pearson...some colleagues dissapeared for a few hours during a big conference to do some shopping or sightseeing or something I can't remember now and maybe they were not fired because of that but they certainly got into big trouble. And I really don't think you can actually take belly-dancing lessons during working hours no matter what your profession is. Maybe if you're the CEO of the company. Maybe then.
In fact, I believe that being a nanny requires even more professionalism than any other job because here we're talking about a baby or a little child. It's just hard I guess because their working environment is the private place of a family, a less 'serious' environment that is...and from what I can see nannies and also cleaning ladies in Turkey after a while tend to think they're part of the family or a friend and start to behave accordingly and that's causing the problem.
Maybe the problem is that here you actually don't have to be rich to have a helper or fact, many women spend a big amount of their salaries on nannies and helpers since they can't risk it to lose track or they simply want to work and don't want to have to think about what to do when their children get older. But I guess this makes it easier for the nannies to identify themselves with their 'bosses.' They are not that different after all...many also struggling and trying to 'just do fine'. I'm sure richer people have less problems with their workers since the gap is big enough to prevent such an identification.
Anyways, this is all far from being a problem for me since I don't have a nanny and also no frequent cleaning lady (because I can do most of the work myself and also because I just can't stand it to have somebody around in the apartment!).


  1. Sibel Arna (veya yazısını kontrol etmeyen editörü) kovulana dek Hürriyet gazetesi almayın; Hürriyet'e ilan vermeyin. Ancak tepkinizi verirseniz gazete kendini düzeltme ihtiyacı duyar.

  2. Sibel Arna (veya yazısını kontrol etmeyen editörü) kovulana dek Hürriyet gazetesi almayın; Hürriyet'e ilan vermeyin. Ancak tepkinizi verirseniz gazete kendini düzeltme ihtiyacı duyar.

    Let me ask the right questions:
    1. Does the nanny have any social security (SGK) ?
    2. Turkish Work Law orders that a worker can work 45 hours/week at most. Does the nanny work 45 hours per week?
    3. How much money actually does she pay for her nanny? And for that amount of money what is the quality of service does she expect from the nanny?
    4. Fashion writer claims that her nanny screwed up. If she thinks that her nanny is not doing her job well; she may quit her job and nobody will have an objection for that. Fashion writer is payed for her articles and she screwed in her fascist article that thousands of readers of the newspaper offended. Ordinary people in Turkey get fired in the moment if they make a mistake like that. But if your family is established or if you have an affair with your boss etc. you may keep your job.

    I don't have time for translating this so-called article; but if you have a friend that knows Turkish ask his/her opinion. Original link:

  3. Oh, dear anonymous..I read the article...and I still think that although her tone is not nice people kind of exaggerate...Re. you questions I can just say:
    1)Sibel Arna is certainly not the only person in TR who doesn't pay for her employee's SGK (I know at least 15-20 people myself who have a helper or nanny and don't pay for SGK...actually the majority don't pay)
    2) Almost during my whole working life I definitely worked more than 45 hours a week...sometimes 12-13 hous a day...sometimes not sitting for a second..nobody actually cared..
    3)If a person isn't happy with her salary then I think the ethical thing to do is to quit, not to neglect your duties
    4) I think Arna's job is to write about her experience...and that's what she did..if people were offended by that that's probably their problem not hers. Being offended is kind of a habit here I think.

    I think people should take it easyier...but everybody can think what they want of course...good luck with your campaign :)))