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Staffing Hiccup

In Being Ma'am on July 29, 2010 at 6:02 pm

We’ve had a staffing hiccup at chez Colegate today – the inside maid resigned. I expected it to a certain extent. She gave her notice in earlier in the month but then withdrew it. In addition, I’ve always thought she seemed a bit surly. I’m led to believe that she wants more money and has better paid jobs elsewhere. I can’t say I’m disappointed because although she excels at floor cleaning, she’s not a good all-round cleaner. However I do need to find a replacement. 

Fortunately I’ve spent the day with some wonderful and experienced expats who gave me lots of staffing tips. It looks like I’m paying the going rate so maybe she was just unhappy. My pals are going to help me find some possible candidates to interview next week.


Gurgaon Connections

In Settling in on July 28, 2010 at 8:02 pm

My regular networking group, Gurgaon Connections, is brilliant. It’s a friendly, welcoming and relaxed weekly group. It is a tribute to the people who organise it.

Today Dean came along, we chatted to lots of people. I’ve got a new fashion and textile buddy and I’ve joined the book club (including getting loan of the book) – not bad for a day’s work!

Lessons in communication

In Being Ma'am on July 28, 2010 at 7:45 pm

Oh dear or “oh” as Vishnu our housekeeper would say. No one told him that we had a visitor to the office or what this would mean: It meant two lunch packs yesterday not one, no dinner yesterday, no lunch packs today but lunch for Ma’am at home and no dinner tonight. Vishnu says “oh” whenever he encounters something he doesn’t expect. There have been lots of ohs over the last couple of days. I only realised at lunch time that no one’s actually told him what’s going on so he can plan or even have any idea things might be different. I need to take better care of keeping him informed and I need to get my Hindi sorted – hmmm I started well in weeks one and two but nothing since.

Us and them?

In Being Ma'am on July 27, 2010 at 6:18 pm

On my way downstairs I heard a male voice that I didn’t recognise. I assumed it was one of our security guards. It was my housekeeper! I didn’t recognise his voice! I don’t speak Hindi and he doesn’t speak English which may have something to do with it  but we do communicate verbally in English; he says things like, “Ma’am water?” to which I respond. But his voice was so different, he talks at a much higher pitch when he talks to me. I wonder if it is just language or is it because he’s my servant?

Taking possession of my home

In Being Ma'am on July 26, 2010 at 9:18 pm

As an expat wife, I live in a larger house than I did in London but I share it with a lot more people; our live-in housekeeper; our driver;  our inside maid; our outside maid; our gardener; and 24 hour security guards. Since I arrived, I have sometimes felt that my home is not my own. But as I start week seven it’s time to take possession.

This is in no way a negative reflection on the people who work for me. On the contrary I have a quality team. Neither is it a power struggle; they want me to do my job too. This is about me owning a role that I didn’t have in the UK and doing it to the best of my ability.

Today we carried out a linen audit and rearranged the way it’s stored. I know what I’ve got so I can decide what I’ll use, what I’ll store and what I need to add to before guests start to visit. The housekeeper and I both know where everything is kept so we have the makings of a ‘system’ that we can both use.  

Also we can start washing everything as part of our grand spring clean which is up next …

Dirty Knickers

In Being Ma'am on July 26, 2010 at 11:41 am

There are obvious benefits to having staff, for example I have a magic washing basket. There are also drawbacks, like loss of privacy: Having a magic washing basket means letting someone else wash my dirty knickers – oooooh!