If you read the Forum you get the impression that supply of household staff can’t keep up with demand here in Jakarta. But at Jakarta Household Staff you’ll find photos and CV information for dozens of people ready to work, including drivers, house boys, etc.
So I sent an “info please” E-mail to the person in charge — her name is Tini and she also goes by Nanny Tini. A few weeks later I had a chance to meet her at a “harvest season” dinner sponsored last week by one of the Jakarta expat organizations.
It would be a good networking opportunity for her to meet expats who employ domestic staff. As it turned out, she already knew some of them. Sitting next to us, was a nanny whose current employment arrangement was the fruit of Tini’s blog.
Tini — in her 30’s — grew up working in the rice fields of Central Java. But her dream was to learn foreign languages and travel. Becoming a nanny allowed her to do this. Successful in a demanding career, she now devotes her free time to helping other Indonesian domestic workers, many older that she.
Here are notes from our very enjoyable chat over turkey and mashed potatoes last week:
Instant Expat: Wow! I’m a little surprised that you know people here.
Nanny Tini: Small world. Really small world. You wouldn’t believe the people I’ve met as a nanny. Some people don’t believe me. But I actually dreamed of growing up to be a nanny. Sometime I’ll tell you about the 7-year old who was hooked on Jack and Coke. Oh my. It’s not boring work.
Instant Expat: I found your website [Jakarta Household Staff ] really tidy. Nice design. Do you do the work yourself?
Nanny Tini: I do all the updates, including photographs and translation. I’m still working full-time as a nanny. So I’m taking it a step at a time. My friend did the artwork. I do the rest.
Instant Expat: Do people have to pay a fee to have their profile posted at Jakarta Household Staff?
Nanny Tini: No. The service is free. I’m working as a nanny for over 12 years already, including overseas. I’ve been quite lucky. I hope my website can help others who aren’t so lucky.
Instant Expat: I wasn’t exactly clear on the process for finding domestic staff using your website. How does it work? Do we pay a fee? For example, at the Sharehouse we’ve been looking for a maid.
Nanny Tini: There is no fee. Also, I’m sorry but there is no guarantee. The FAQ says if you find the right staff you can make a donation by bank transfer. I’m helping my friends look for work by posting profiles for them. I know a lot of people who worked for expat families for 10, 15, 20 years. They speak English. They have traveled overseas. But somehow they are left behind when their employer left. Even if they have so much experience.
Instant Expat: I see. OK, I want to have another look at the maids profiles on your blog. I noticed that most of them are “trustworthy.” Have you had a chance to meet all of them?
Nanny Tini: Not all of them. For example, I don’t think I’ve ever never met [the other nanny sitting at our table who found her work through Tini]. Sometimes I rely on reference letters. I don’t have an office yet. Unless they can provide a photo, then we agree to meet them at a park or public place. Of course, a lot of people would like to work as household staff for an expat family. I can’t help everyone. Experience is really important. And English. It’s really hard to find jobs for the men. Except drivers, the only skill sometimes is for example, gardener, dog walker, house boy. Like that.
[Tini recevies an SMS. Smiles. I have to laugh sometimes. Here’s one of my referrals who contacts me every day. She has great letters, training from groups like IACI, JICC I think. But she’s also seeking the same salary as before. Quite good salary. I told her, if there is work, I’ll let you know. If you don’t hear from me, it means there’s no work. Laughs. Sighs.]
Instant Expat: I also got good references from your former employers before I called you. What is the most important thing in making the domestic staff employment arrangment sucessful?
Nanny Tini: Right now, for example, if you refer to the FAQ on my website there are five obligations of employer to the staff. You’ll see medical care is there. I can send you complete details about how to employ domestic staff if you are interested. The site has only been online for about a year. Full content for some months only. I will make some updates as soon as possible. The process will take some time.
Instant Expat: Thank you very much for agreeing to meet. Is there anything you would like to add?
Nanny Tini: As mentioned in the FAQ, if we are able to help you find the right person, please don’t hesitate to let us know. You can send a tip. Or just say thanks. Unfortuantely, people are sometimes so happy with their new nanny they forget.