It’s the untold story of the industry; crazed wives, bonkers bodyguards, screaming children, nocturnal principals, messed up visas, lost luggage and scheming assistants. Behind the glamour lies a political minefield of factions, infighting, schemes and intrigue. Oh and you might as well just burn your contract because it’s not worth the paper it’s printed on…
Maybe you had a nice gig before, you only worked a few hours a day and took long holidays when the principal was out of town, maybe you are fresh and decided that the regular rules of work would apply in your new position.
We’ve been there, you are standing at the crossroads deciding whether to rejoin regular life with those regular hours or push on over the seemingly insurmountable challenges of your job. I urge you to stick with it, many of us know what you are going through. Many of the hardest jobs in the short term will become the most rewarding over the long term. If the principal is demanding, you are going to learn a lot very quickly and will gain a lot of experience in a short amount of time. If the kids are challenging I urge you to keep grinding on, eventually your relationship will “click.” No other kids will ever seem so difficult!
- Can’t sleep because you are so stressed? You are probably experiencing the loss of any sort of control over your life and have realised things are deeply, deeply strange in your new job… Put your smartphone on flight mode when you go to bed. Don’t start drinking alcohol to get you to sleep, you will wake earlier and you will not be truly rested, after a few days your body will start to deteriorate. Try valerian root sleeping pills instead and drink some warm milk. Read something that you enjoy for a while before turning out the light. If you haven’t fallen asleep for an hour turn the light back on and have another read. Try to go to bed as early as possible. If you have issues or awkward personalities you have to deal with write it all down on a notepad before you get into bed.
- Make time for yourself. Try and get up early and go to the gym, run outside or swim. Exercise will help you deal with stress. If you are a guy, exercise especially weights will increase your testosterone levels and make you more assertive, which is useful if you have to deal with difficult colleagues. Getting up early can also be a great psychological bonus as undoubtedly most of your stressed out colleagues will have been staring at their mobile phones till the early hours and will look exhausted.
- Understand what needs to be done. Whether the children don’t respect you, a staff member bullies you or the principal doesn’t seem to have an idea of your working hours, you will have to address the issue in the best way possible without upsetting anyone or causing resentment. If there is a personality clash with a staff member ask that person to have a meeting with you somewhere alone. If it is with the kids speak to them openly about how you feel and tell them how you expect to be treated. Be open with everyone but at the right time and place.
- Get organised. It’s a slippery slope trying to do everything in your head and as your workload increases you will be juggling tasks frantically. Write it down. Set alarms on your phone, scan and save all the visas and passports. Set up alerts for expiring visas months before they expire so they can be renewed. Everyone always seems to mess up a visa at least once, don’t ever let it happen twice. Make lists for everything, rotas for everyone and timetables for any children. Stick the information up in communal areas so everybody doesn’t phone you for every little thing.
- Don’t make decisions under pressure. If you are thinking about quitting don’t do it there and then. If you are having extreme difficulty just make an excuse and take the day off. Re-access the job and give yourself a timetable for quitting. Tell yourself if things don’t improve in three months I am going to leave. Many times giving yourself that control over your own destiny will relieve the pressure somewhat and will give you the fortitude to overcome the hurdle. In three months time you may actually be enjoying the work and will be glad that you stuck it out.
Things are never hopeless and what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. If you are capable of doing the job and the principal hasn’t fired you I urge you to keep grinding on, in a year or two you will be a toughened, gnarled, personal service machine!