Along with great power comes great responsibility, so if you have hired a maid to work for you; then chances are that you also have to creatively strategize over employee retention. You’re letting her drink coffee from the best mug at home, allowing her to watch TV with the children and even helping her get the work done faster. But really, have you got all it takes to tackle the new modern maid. For when you hire her to do your work, you actually hire a lethal combination of mindset, attitude and skill. Here’s more on the types I encountered, and perhaps many who belong to my privileged lot did too!
The smile with my eyes maid
She’s such a sweetheart that you hire her at once. After all, people who smile with their eyes are genuine and kind-hearted, aren’t they. This maid too is perfect, nods for everything you ask her to do and then, (yes you guessed it right) does nothing. Ask her ‘What happened’ and she simply smiles with her eyes and says ‘I forgot’ or ‘I have to go home and make Chicken Biryani’. I live in the constant fear that some day she’ll forget to turn off the gas, and when the house blows up, she’ll smile and say, ‘I’ll go make raita for the biryani’.
The career advisor
With her around, you don’t need to go for career counselling of any kind. You don’t even need to ask out loud. Because, with this kind of maid comes free career advice, ready to be doled out at any instant. You didn’t go to work today? You work odd hours? When did freelancing become an actual job? An actual job is only when you wear cotton saris and work 9am to 5pm and have an ID tag around your neck with the company’s name and your picture on it. Come on, you don’t even have that?
She’s a maid?!!
Well, besides wearing matching-matching clothes, accessories, wrist watches and sandals, these are the category of maids, most people like me avoid to recruit. You may ask why? Well, I have five reasons. For one, I don’t want my husband ogling at the maid, two: I don’t want people to think that I’m the maid (this should actually be 1) and three: they usually come with a beauty regime and four: they can steal your best stuff. They will mop only if you have a mop stick, clean only with the vaccum cleaner and go OMG, how can I wash clothes without a washing machine, my nail paint will chip. As a result, you are found doing the dirty laundry, uniforms that need to be scrubbed of dirt, while the maid fixes herself a cup of coffee because she can’t start the day without the caffeine kick.
The unfortunate person
She is the kind who is full to the brim with sorrow. An unfortunate life, she tells you. Full responsibility of two grown up children, one grandchild, old parents and a couple of relatives. And you’re moved emotionally enough to hand her the job. Then you realize that she can’t come Mondays, because she has to drop the grandchild at the convent (what are the grown up kids doing anyway?) and she won’t come Sundays because that’s family time. You are unable to ask for reason, because as soon as you do so even in the politest tones (not used even with the kids), she breaks down crying.
That’s not my job
Now this woman likes to have it in black and white. I’ll cook food, won’t do the dishes. I need a good balanced-diet type breakfast before I start work. No one interrupts me in between. You hire her in the fond hope that perhaps this clarity is what was lacking in the women before her. How wrong you were. For this woman will refuse to do anything that’s even a millimetre away from her purview. ‘I cook, but I won’t throw the vegetable peel. That’s the other maid’s job.’ I will sweep, but won’t touch that kilo of dust on the window sill. That’s not floor-cleaning.’ ‘Yes my dear, all that you won’t do is my job’, is what I’ll stop myself from saying out loud, almost every time.
Woman of Steal
Levels of rice in the rice bin keep falling drastically, when you’ve been dieting. And the dal makhani packet you picked up last week mysteriously disappears. You start to wonder whether you really picked this stuff at all, when you see the strap of an extremely familiar Victoria Secret pink bra under her cream blouse. You’re embarrassed to ask, so you say pointing to the strap, ‘Nice color, I had the same shade and emm urr (thumb twiddling) I can’t find my dal makhani’ hoping that the lateral comment somehow hits home. And all she does is shrug her shoulders, ‘You should be more organized.’
The perfect maid
Oh yeah! She’s perfection incarnate, the one you have been looking for all your life. The one who will not steal, will not cheat, do a whole lot of work and not complain about freebies or saris. She will work on a low pay, cook great food, is ready to take the huge Doberman for a walk or spend the entire day hunting out that tiny mouse. She is sport for any work at any point of time and keeps the house sparklingly clean. She’ll be having a perpetual smile and a caring heart for the snotty children, wouldn’t wrinkle her nose at the dishes and will have a happy face through guests and relatives. However, she will already be hired by your neighbor and would not work for you at any cost. So, you could offer her the moon, but she’ll stick to that low pay out of loyalty while you live in the constant hope that one day you’ll find someone like her.
Sigh. Maids are wonderful people and as my niece often says, the most important person in our lives. Also as my friend Roopa once pointed out, there’s so much you can learn from them. But then there are bits in the syllabus of real life that you’d rather omit. So till the time I keep locking up my stuff and staying organized I’ll keep my eyes open for the perfect maid. And yes, if you happen to be the neighbour who finds her first, please call me. Tell her for me that she deserves the moon. And don’t DONT hire her for yourself. My number is 09898908.