Leaving any job is hard. Even if it's horrible, I still feel awful about quitting. It's even worse when you live with the family you work for. For my au pair job in Germany I had to give four weeks notice. All I could think about leading up to "the talk" with my host family was how that four weeks were probably going to be the most awkward of my life.
What if they scream at me or make me work thirty extra hours a week because I'm leaving? What if I'm not invited to family BBQs anymore? Or even worse, they kick me out right then and there. These thoughts honestly ran through my mind for days. But I knew it was my time to move on, so I had to be brave.
First I spent some time thinking about my decision. Am I just homesick? Do I really want to leave or do I only need a break? Is there something myself or my host parents could change to make me want to stay? After careful consideration to these questions and many more, I decided that it would be best for me to resign with grace (as soon as possible).
I started working on an official resignation letter. I know au pairing is quite informal, but it is Germany after all. Plus, in my contract it did state I needed to give written notice of my intention to leave. I didn't want to get too personal with this letter, so I wrote a generic nanny position resignation letter.
I am an emotional person. I realised I would need to maintain a business like attitude towards the situation otherwise things could get ugly. I didn't want to make it harder for my host parents, or myself for that matter. I hoped that my last four weeks would pass by as normal as could be and without fuss. I explained that I truly did want to stay in contact. This was a personal matter, nothing to do with them. That I was homesick and having surgery in a foreign land made me realise I do just want to go home. Sometimes you need your Mum, even if you are twenty three and on the other side of the world!
Yet with all my good intentions and professionalism, it didn't go quite as planned. I ended up packing my things that night (last night). The door slammed behind me as I was not allowed to even utter good bye to the girl I cared for during those six months. If that's the treatment I get for having one week off because I had appendicitis and surgery, then I guess I'm not so much a part of the family as I was led to believe.
I am not bitter. I just have to move on with my life. Of course I will miss caring for one pretty special three year old, I will miss the friends I've made. But at the end of the day, New Zealand is home. I love traveling, but it all just becomes a bit too much sometimes. And that's okay. I don't see it as failing, just moving on to something better!
|Sunrise from bedroom window in Germany.|