05 Jun
My Boss is Mean and Pays Me Nothing!

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I need help with our tyrant of a boss. He is an arrogant oppressor. He comes from a very wealthy family and has no clue what it takes to raise a family.  The company I work for is a large industrial facility so he makes a huge amount of profit (that is an assumption) but pays us very little.

During our last pay negotiations, he offered us a 20 cent raise and had the nerve to tell us that it was a generous offer and he was offended that we didn’t want to take it. Most of my co-workers and myself are highly skilled and trained in this field and we deserve more. Right now we are so far below the national average for this industry and it is discouraging. I am making 13 dollars an hour and trying to support a family on this (as are many of my co-workers).

Most of them are afraid to fight because they fear losing their jobs which would cause other hardships. Just the look on his smug little face makes me want to vomit. Oh, did I mention he is 27 years old and his grandma gave him this company as a toy and she is even worse than him?

How do I fix this?

Signed,

Horrible Bosses is Not Just a Movie

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Dear Horrible Bosses,

Boy do I know what you are going through! I have four tyrant bosses who yell at me all day and they don’t pay me one cent. Of course, if I get really annoyed with them, I can just put them in a time-out or leave them with a babysitter which is probably not an option for you.

Mean bosses suck. Seriously. It is very difficult to go work feeling undervalued everyday and desperately needing more money to support your family. And we are still in a very tough economy which doesn’t give you a lot of leverage when trying to negotiate with your 27-year-old smug face boss.

You and your co-workers could always try to unionize to give you some more bargaining power.  But that could involve some risk and it sounds like your fellow employees aren’t ready to walk any picket lines. But it’s certainly worth researching.

I would highly recommend you start looking for other places to work. Clean up that resume and start networking in your industry. It may take a while in this economy, but it can feel empowering to just start taking a few steps towards a better potential job. And look for a place when there is low turnover because that’s where you’ll find the happiest, most appreciated employees.

Of course, there is the slightest, tiniest chance your boss could change his tune. I mean, did you see “The Proposal?” Sandra Bullock is the big meanie boss and then she ends up totally nice and falling in love with her assistant Ryan Reynolds. But if your boss isn’t Sandra Bullock, I would totally start job hunting.

Good luck to you,

Kelcey, TMH

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10 May
This Is Not the Client List

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I am 22 years old and have been massaging for 3 years. Yesterday, I had a young man set up an appointment for a massage and I interviewed him prior to the session. He was 18 years old and was so nervous that he could barely have a conversation.

Apparently, he was from a small town that only had 37 people in it. Basically, he was very socially inexperienced and being in a big city for only 9 days he was still culture shocked. Anyway, I told him to undress completely or leave his underwear on and climb under the sheets. Well, he chose to completely undress and I began to perform a Swedish massage.

I asked if he wanted the glutes done and he said yes, but I was extra careful to be respectful of his privacy. Long story short, when he lay down on his back and I began on his thighs he immediately became erect! His thingy was twitching uncontrollably all over the place, so I applied more pressure and conveniently moved down to below the knee.

When I did the next leg, the same thing. As I’m staring at his ankles, I look back up and see his bright red face and his whole chest covered in semen. I was a bit shocked. He got up, left some money and went quickly. My partner said he must have masturbated after I left, because it is impossible to ejaculate without touch. Now, I can understand an 18 year old boy, that hasn’t had much female contact, getting an erection, but ejaculating and the amount, I just don’t know. I just feel a bit dirty.  Can you offer me some advice for future occurrences and is it possible?

Signed,

Mary the Masseuse

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Dear There’s Something About Mary,

Before I get into the nitty gritty, let me get something straight. You say this gentleman was from a town of 37 people– does that mean that once he left there were only 36? Or were there 38 to start with and there are now only 37? Things like that always puzzle me.

As do underwearless massages. You know, for people who are not appearing on The Client List, Lifetime’s fun new “drama” about a woman who becomes a massage therapist with benefits, and I don’t mean health insurance.

Assuming that your question is legitimate (and I’m making the leap here because I had to edit some of the language in our question to make it less pornorific), I would suggest that you ask your clients to keep their underwear on in the future. As to whether a man can ejaculate without any hands-on-penis action, I am going to say yes, with a caveat that I am neither a sex therapist nor do I play one on TV, and that the answer may actually be no. (I am also confused when you say that he must have masturbated after you left, since your email states that you were massaging his ankles at the time of the semencident.)

Nevertheless, if you feel uncomfortable, you are under no obligation to see him again. Discuss the protocol with your partner. Let clients know that their underwear needs to be kept on. I would also recommend that you seek out further guidance from the American Massage Therapy Association.

Good luck to you,

Marinka, TMH

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24 Apr
Super Nanny’s Ready to Super Quit

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I’m a nanny and I absolutely love my job, but my bosses are driving me insane. They waffle between wanting to be completely hands-on with their three kids and basically shoving me out of the room to do chores and housework that aren’t a part of my job description.

I’ve been working for them for almost a year now, and I average 60 hour weeks, but have yet to see a single overtime check. Lately there have been a lot of comments about how random things are my responsibility (“Don’t worry about clearing the table, that’s the nanny’s job”) or how I’m paid to do things (“Don’t worry about the laundry, honey, the nanny can fold it. That’s what we’re paying her for.”)

I know that financially they’re not in as good a place as they had hoped to be due to the blow Hurricane Irene dealt our area. And I don’t want to sound greedy and demand/ beg for more money, but at the same time I’m getting fed up with being pushed around and dumped on without the compensation they claim to be giving me. What should I do?

Signed,

Ready to Move Out of This Nanny State

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Dear Ready,

First of all, I’m sorry you’re having such a tough time with your employer. I imagine it’s very hard to love kids like they’re family, yet be treated unfairly and like you’re just an employee by their parents. The role of Nanny can be inherently difficult for many reasons, including emotional. Which is why I only let the cat or the TV watch my kids when I’m not home. After all, I don’t want them getting attached to a hot lass from Sweden who doesn’t yell things like, “I’m setting fire to your Legos unless you pick them up, you nimrods!”

Now, I’m going to try my best to give you advice on this, but since there are many details I don’t know—your employment agreement, compensation, taxes, housing, etc.—it won’t necessarily be my usual brilliance. But I will say that 60 hours a week seems like a lot and you’re probably not being paid by the hour or they wouldn’t ask that of you. You’re also probably not being paid to do laundry or cleaning, but maybe that was part of your original agreement? That whole “light housekeeping” trap that many have fallen into. (Also known as “marriage,” am I right ladies? Up high!) Anyway, do you think Mary Poppins would put up with any of this shit? No, she’d whack Dick Van Dyke’s ass with her umbrella is what’d she do.

What I think you need to do is stand up for yourself and ask them to discuss your hours and compensation with an eye to possible changes. You may have agreed to certain things when you took the job, but that doesn’t mean you can’t revise them later. Be strong and let them know that you’re working too many hours and also let them know that you’re confused as to which is your priority—the kids or the cleaning. And understand that your employers aren’t necessarily bad people, but it can be easy to start pushing things off on the nanny when you have one. Take a look at the Fair Labor Standards Act to see if it applies to you.

Finally, you’re a nice person to be concerned about their financial struggles. You really are. But repeat after me: Their Money Problem Is Not My Money Problem. Meaning, fair is fair and you should be compensated for the work you’re doing whether they can afford it or not. I mean, I don’t tell my hairdresser that I’m going to pay her the same for full highlights as I do partial because my money’s tight, right? You’re a single woman and you need to look out for yourself and your own financial well-being.

Just remember that a kind, generous nanny is hard to find and your employers need to realize how fortunate they are and treat you accordingly. If they don’t, polish up your resume.

And your umbrella.

Good luck,

Wendi, TMH

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19 Mar
Do I Stay Or Do I Go?

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I’m finishing up school in a few months and got a nice externship offer that I can’t pass up. But my husband and I had planned on moving back home to the East Coast when I was done with school.

I am staying to do the externship (it’s only 6 weeks), then joining him out there, but I am worried. What if I like the job, and what if they offer it full time? It would be a very nice entry on my currently empty resume; it’s a great casino and well known.

I could do a lot with the work experience. I have always been the SAHM with a husband who’s an OTR truck driver and this is my time to let him quit and me be the breadwinner. I accept that responsibility fully, but there are doubts. I could do the externship somewhere on the East Coast but would I be passing on something that could boost our income even more? Or should I try to convince him to stay in this area if they offer me the job?

I am so confused. I need advice from someone who isn’t going to bullshit me or just say what I want to hear.

Signed,

Confused in the House

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Dear Confused,

Well that makes two of us, because who knew that casinos offered externships?  Now that I’m over that shock, let’s recap some of the things that are going on here.

1.  You  have an exciting externship opportunity.

2.  You are unsure what you should do if you love the job and it’s offered to you full time, because your husband will be on the East Coast.

3.  You are planning to be the breadwinner so that your husband can quit his OTR trucking job. (I had to look that up. OTR is “over the road” which has me worried about Under The Road trucking companies out there.  Better steer clear of those!)

You don’t mention whether your children are grown and out of the house or whether you and your husband are planning to switch and he will be a stay at home parent.

Don’t get bogged down with the fact that you and your husband planned on moving back after you were done with school. As someone very wise once said, “life happens while you’re making other plans.”  (Oh, did I say wise? I meant annoying.)  Opportunities come up when we least expect them and it can be a mistake to pass them up because of a plan previously made. (I’m being told that this advice does not apply to “if I’d known that George Clooney was available, I’d never have vowed to be faithful to you!” type scenarios.)

If you get an offer for full-time employment in a field that you love, you will need to think long and hard (and then longer and harder) before turning it down.  And please don’t make the mistake of thinking about it in a vacuum.  Discuss it with your husband, playing out all the scenarios. You refer to the East Coast as “back home” but what does that mean?  Is it your birthplace? Where most of your friends live? Do you have aging parents that need you to be near them?

These are all factors that deserve consideration and you and your husband need to weigh them carefully.  Make sure that your husband knows how much this job (assuming you get the offer) means to you.  And definitely, explore the job options back home as well.  In the end it may come down to simple economics and the decision will be made for you.

May the odds be with you,

Marinka, TMH

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23 Jan
Can You Help Me Punk My Boss?

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I work at a hotel (in the U.S.) which has brought employees in from a poor European country for the season. The girls are working as housekeepers, earning minimum wage, which is $2 less than what any of the other housekeepers START at. They had to pay for their own flights here, work visas, and they pay all their U.S. taxes. They work 6 days a week, so they are getting overtime, but I still feel like they are totally being taken advantage of. It makes me angry.

My employer doesn’t seem to be doing anything illegal, just something that I think is ICKY. When these girls go back to their homes, they will have enough money saved that they can live off it for 6 months (going to University) without working, so that’s good for them. I just hate so much that my employer is taking advantage of them. Do you have any advice on what I can do for them, aside from adopting them through an adopt-a-teenager program where I send them $20 a month when they get home and in return they send me postcards? I know this is a weird question. It just makes me feel bad.

Signed,

My Boss is a Jerk

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My Boss is a Jerk,

I don’t think this is a weird question at all. I mean, please. We live in a world where Newt Gingrich is making a legitimate run at the Presidency on the platform of open-marriage. It takes a little more to rattle the Housewives.

It’s honorable that you’re feeling badly for these disadvantaged workers, but as you suggested, it’s not exactly illegal for your boss to be an asshole to your co-workers. What’s more, if you were to do something to get the bossman in trouble, the girls would suffer as well. I think that’s what they call a Catch-22, but I’ve never been good with postmodern literature.

But, if you do it right, maybe you can boost them into the media spotlight which will basically both humiliate your boss AND get the girls some paparazzi-type celebrity status. Here’s what I suggest:

1. New York had this really obnoxious guy with a mustache who worked for the local news, and he always annoyed the crap out of the bad guys until they finally caved to get him off their back. Most of the time they were probably innocent, but that’s besides the point. Get in touch with your local media and ask for the homeliest reporter with the biggest microphone to help you out.

2. Ashton Kutcher. He still does that Punk’d show for MTV, right? (He doesn’t? Well, just tell him pretty young girls are involved and I’m sure he’ll be there in a heartbeat.) Sure, the national media attention may cause the entire hotel to fail financially, costing you your job in the process, but it’ll be a great story!

3. Aren’t hotels usually haunted? Because I feel like, if you get the girls involved, you could all chip in for some fake blood and gray face paint and really pull an epic prank on Mr. Bossman. Kind of like the ghosts of Christmas past, except they’re the ghosts of…like, hotels or something. (Okay, so maybe this one isn’t super smooth, but I’m not a damn script writer so cut me some slack already.)

Or, if you want to take the issue more seriously (bo-ring!), you could do something more responsible. Perhaps you could contact local lawyers or worker’s unions to see if there’s any legal action that can be taken. Beyond that and slashing your boss’ tires, maybe you want to just have a good heart-to-heart with the girls and then submit your resignation. That’s what Jerry McGuire would do.

Good luck,

Kristine, TMH

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