Do you find yourself looking for a maid often? Have you hired three or more maids in the past 6 months or the year? Do your maids go absconding after pay-day? If you answered yes to any one then maybe you need some free and honest advice to help you manage your maid properly retain a maid and change your life.
Maid in India
When the majority of the world keeps their own house, we have the luxury of hiring housekeepers in India. This is one of main reasons I don’t want to move from India. At affordable rates, maids do the work we either don’t have the time to do or don’t want to do.
Many have maids coming in every day at a fixed time to complete chores. Others have a house maid that lives in.
Housekeepers are usually treated as maids in India. And that’s what makes all the difference.
Let’s back up a bit.
What is the difference between a maid and a housekeeper?
In different parts of the world, the meaning and the nature of their work differs. It mainly depends on which part of the world you live in and what you perceive a housekeeper or a maid to be.
Here’s my take on it.
Housekeeper: In charge of major functions of the house. For e.g. cooking, cleaning, laundry. She works at her pace and independently.
Maid: A person who lives with you or works for more than a day in the week; is at your every beck and call. *Something like in the movie The Help.
Read it again.
Let it sink in.
Do you agree with this definition? Let me know in comments.
In India, cleaning your home daily is a mandatory task. Who can say they don’t need a maid? OK maybe there some awesome folks who can do it all. I would rather focus my energy and time on something more productive. Like writing, bingeing on Netflix or taking my kids to the park.
I treat my maid as a housekeeper. Yes, you heard me. I twist the designation and the roles and that gives an otherwise menial job some dignity.
I have a person who cooks lunch and dinner for us, and another to keep my home clean and tidy. They’ve been with me since I hired them.
I fired three other maids in a year’s time before that. I have never had a maid leave because she wanted to leave.
This is not the case for my friends and acquaintances, though.
The horror of not having the maid return after pay-day. Dishes piling up, house untidy. Guests expected. It’s stressful for people who keep losing maids in short times. And it’s heartbreaking for me to know.
Reasons Why Maids Leave or are Fired
She has No Time
The primary reason for a maid to vanish is the unavailability of time. When they already have 10 jobs and if you’re the 11th then you are not important to them. They are going to accept your job and then try to find the time to fill you in. They may not have the time for you, but they’d like to make more money. So they accept, only realising later that it can’t be done. So they leave.
She is Not up to the Mark
Or the job is not according to your expectations and you fire them. But if you happen to let go of a few maids in a row like that, then the problem is with you.
Still, there are maids who cross the line, take advantage of you or steal from, they need to leave. But not the maid who works hard and needs the work to buy food or pay the children’s tuition.
She does Not like you
Yes, maids are freelancers and they are free to choose who they want to work with. If they don’t find working for you desirable enough, they either f*up chores or leave you.
This last reason is applicable for any job in the world. A recent Gallup study found that 50% of people quit their boss, not their job. This is a big deal because the survey was conducted on 7,200 respondents!
Working with a horrible boss is stressful and exhausting. If you’ve worked with one before or hear stories of them, then you can imagine how hard it is to face them every day.
Are you one? Do you need to work on yourself? If yes, then – reflect on that for a moment.
Don’t overwork your maid or exasperate them with mean remarks or micromanagement.
If not, then –
Don’t hire the wrong maids!
I found that referrals work best.
When you interview new maids, be sure to check:
- What is their primary motivation to join?
- Why did the leave the last job?
- How many house jobs do they have currently?
- What is their background?
Play the detective and you will pick the right person to come work for you. In times like this, my eight years of corporate HR experience and a minor in psychology pays off. Yay.
Now that you know what NOT to do, what should you do? Try these things to make your maid love you
- Be generous with pay.
- Pay on time.
- Get regular updates on personal life.
- Give paid breaks.
- Be polite. Say thank you and please.
- Make a request, not demand this and that. She is not your slave.
- Be genuine with compliments.
- Recognise good work.
- Treat your maid the same way you would like to be treated, with respect.
… sounds like some clichéd piece of advice?
It’s hard sometimes. We are only human. We know everything, but we lack the motivation or the will to do it.
With Him everything is possible.
This is how I do it.
Respect the person as an individual.
Think about that for a second. What does respecting a maid mean to you?
For me, I understand the maid is just like me. She has feelings and a physical capacity of working. I respect her time and cannot demand my maid to be at my every beck and call like a slave. I have compassion for the times she falls ill, needs an advance or a break.
Get to know them.
Do you ever smile at your maid? Ask about her day or what’s new in her life? I do. And it always starts our day on a positive note. People love to talk about themselves. It makes them feel heard, makes them feel important and feel good. You don’t have to chatter away just to be polite. That’s wasting time and energy and a person can tell when you’re faking it. Do it because you want to.
Be Kind and Generous.
I give my maid regular breaks. An impromptu weekday off and Sundays are always off. It is difficult for me to manage without them, but it isn’t impossible. What counts here is that they get some time off to relax or to do the things they want to do – with pay. The week that follows then is voluntary and productive.
I can say that my maids like to come work for me and to work with me. I can tell that they don’t come to work with the obligation. But that of duty.
They come to work because they feel good, they feel important and are well taken care of. Now isn’t that a dream job for any one of us?
It’s not easy to be kind, though.
It is easy to get worked up if the maid is not doing her job right.
The kindness is when you show them how it’s done the first time, remind them once again if it’s not followed through.
It is easy to shout and scream at your maid. It is even easier for some people to outright fire the maid and not pay her, right?
In those times, it is a great reminder for how God, my master, doesn’t get “worked up” with me every time I make mistakes. He is patient, loving and kind to me. These are some fantastic qualities of God.
It is Him who softens my heart through Jesus. Without his spirit working within me, I cannot be kind all the time. I can empathise with people. I have compassion for them but to act in kindness, with genuine love all the time, is not natural. It is difficult, but it is possible with God.
This is the story of all. We are the lazy employees in God’s Kingdom. God is the master and we are the ungrateful servants or servants who make mistakes. How does God handle that? He has patience and gives us second and third chances. Yet, we face the consequences for our actions.
So what do you think? Share the unique ways you do it here in comments.