Once again, I am earnestly looking for compassionate, reliable caregivers these days. Sometimes I would be uncomfortable hiring people that I interview. Sometimes I offer the job to people and get turned down. That is all par for the course. But after pretty much continually going through this process for almost thirty years, there are several memories that stand out to me. So I made a list:
Signs You Would Not Do Well As Lorraine’s Caregiver:
1. You bring your mother to the interview. A few years ago, I set up an interview with a girl who expressed interest in being a caregiver for me. At the designated time, there was a knock on my door, and when I opened it, she was standing there, along with her mother and her younger brother. If the same situation were to happen today, I would have no problem telling them that I wanted the girl to interview by herself, but since I had considerably less self-esteem back then, they all barreled their way into my apartment. The mom told me that, since her daughter had never interviewed for a job before, she thought she needed to come along.
Every time I asked the girl a question, her mother would answer. I also wasn’t too keen on her younger brother hearing me tell her some of the intimate things I need caregivers to assist me with.
When I relayed the experience to my dad on the phone later that night, he asked me if I was going to hire her. When I said “no,” my dad quipped “I meant the mom.”
2. You tell me about two minutes into the interview that you need every weekend off because you have a boyfriend. 90% of the people I hire are college students. Most have significant others. I need help in and out of bed no matter what your relationship status happens to be.
3. When I ask “What are some ways that you show people respect?” and the answer is “I went to the gay pride parade when I was in Chicago a few weeks ago. Does that count?” She was totally serious.
4. When I ask if you have any questions at the end of an interview and the only one you have is “Can I bring my homework to do while I am working?”
5. When you have your father call me in order to resign on your behalf. It happened a few months ago. True story. Program rules say that I am not allowed to hire anyone who is under the age of 18. Technically, that makes us all adults. If you are old enough to collect a paycheck because you work for me, you are old enough to talk to me yourself. Just sayin.
6. We agree on a time for you to train. Ultimately that time doesn’t work for you. When I say that the alternate time that you suggest won’t work for me, you call another caregiver of mine and ask her to get me to change my mind.
7. When you ask to go to the bathroom in the middle of the interview, and you don’t wash your hands afterward. Ewww.
8. When you tell me at the conclusion of the interview that you will think about whether you want the job. At that point, whether you work for me or not isn’t your decision, and no job has been offered to you.
9. You are twenty years old and you tell me several times that we aren’t going to stretch me out on a night shift because you don’t have time and it isn’t convenient for you. Have you thought about asking if that is okay with me? Who works for who? Just checking…
10. You are with me in the emergency room and you spend about half an hour flirting with the guy who came in to draw my blood. Then, when the doctor says something to me that is incredibly disrespectful and I take offense, you tell me I need to calm down.
11. When I ask in the interview “Why do you want this job?” and your only answer is “because the experience will look good on my resume.” It is totally okay for that to be a secondary reason for working for me, but if your primary reason for wanting to be my caregiver is not to make my life easier, then you need to be employed elsewhere. This job is about meeting my needs, remember?
12. When I ask you to stop texting your friends so much during your shift and I ask if you would do that at your full-time job, and your response is “No, but that is a REAL job.”
13. You use my credit card to buy your groceries as well as mine and then don’t bring me back the receipt. You obviously get fired. A few days after I call the cops to report the whole thing, you call and ask me if I am willing to do you a favor. Are you for real?
14. You routinely come to work in clothes I wouldn’t dig a ditch in, and it is consistently obvious that you don’t shower for several days in a row. Then you tell me that, according to you, I don’t brush my teeth enough. Just for the record, I mostly brush when you are not in my presence.
15. When you bring your 20-month-old baby to work without asking, give her a bath in my tub without asking, give her my food without asking, and then try to put the entire shift on your time sheet.
My personal favorite: When you come to the door and I introduce myself. You respond with “HELLO. LOR-RAINE. MY. NAME. IS…. HOW. ARE. YOU TO-DAY??? Before I could say a word, one of my current caregivers came up behind me and said “She has a Master’s degree. Talking to her like she is stupid really isn’t necessary.”