How to Be an Excellent And Well Like Domestic Helper

Singapore is a very quick pace and competitive society, most Singaporean women are either career women or professional housewife with very high expectation in all aspects of their family life. In either case, their time with their children and husband is the most precious moment, you should not take too much of their time to train you or nag at you. What they want is someone who can work independently as soon as possible, work hard and work smart at the same time.

So, think for a while, can you work independently, work hard and work smart? Do you know that there are many things you can help yourself to settle in quickly into your employer family?

  • The moments you arrive at your employer’s house, make it a point to check out all the cabinets and storage items. Find out where things are kept and revise it in your mind at least 4 times.
  • When you have free time, recognize those storage areas that are messy and untidy. By doing so, you get to know the house better and this is going to be of great help in future.
  • Remember you should do one thing at a time, be mindful and systematic in your work. 1 piece of good work is much better than 3 pieces of junk work, so do not rush your work. Take pride in every task you do.
  • Use your eyes to observe (see), your ear to listen, your mouth to ask and most importantly

Use your Mind to Think!!!

  • It is impossible for you to remember all things at one go, so note taking and recording are the best way to help you remember things.
  • Take note of all the important activities and your responsibilities in making things go smoothly, for example :
    • School going :   ☐ Breakfast   ☐ Water Bottle   ☐ Lunch Box   ☐ Ironed Uniform   ☐ Clean Shoes and Socks
    • Have at least 10 minutes allowances in case of last minute matter.
    • Swimming Lesson :   ☐ Swimsuits   ☐ Float   ☐ Goggle   ☐ Towel   ☐ Clothing   ☐ Hot Drink
  • You should spend time building good relationship with the children and employer.
  • You should spend time to upgrade your domestic skills like cooking, making the house look pleasing and comfortable, master the art of children handling.  All these can be done through reading and practicing at home.
  • Remember one simple rule to success : Practice! Practice! And More Practice!  Everybody learns through mistake.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with making mistake, more important is what I can learn from the mistake and improve ourselves the next time round.  Our attitude towards accepting criticism and admitting mistakes are the most important factor deciding if you can work well in a family.  Remember, Be Positive, Be Humble and Be Strong.
  • There are bound to be conflicts here and there, just take it as process of growing up in the family.  We are all adults and should know how to solve problem properly.  Throwing temper and showing your moody face does not help.  Before seeking help from agency, just ask yourself, have I tried my best?  Have I committed any mistake?  Am I responsible for the situation?
  • The first few months are tough as you have to fight against your homesickness and learn so many things.  But, have confidence in yourself, if so many Filipinos or Indonesian can make it to work here for many years, so can you!  So, don’t give up too easily.
  • The objective for coming to Singapore should be : Earn money and learn new things at the same time.  Set a goal for yourself, how much you want to save and how much to send back?  You should use this money to improve your status and living standard.  You must plan for your future.  If you don’t Nobody will!

Remember you are a total stranger to your employer’s family.  It is very natural and normal for them to keep a close watch on you during the initial period.  You should not take it as a personal offence.  Your first duty is to earn their trust and get them to like you and accept you.  You can achieve these by working hard, be useful in the house and behave well.

Once you have gained their acceptance, trust and confidence, your stay will definitely be a rewarding one.

Read the following guidelines and be sure that you fully understand them :

Projecting the right image as a domestic help.

  • Dressing / Body Odor / Bad Breath
    Dress neatly at all times.  Always take care of your personal hygiene such as bathe daily, wash your hair every alternate day, brush your teeth every morning and after meal.  No make-up or perfume is allowed while you are at home.  If you have body odor or bad breathe, get the medicine and use it to reduce the problem.  If you do not do so, it reflects yourself as inconsiderate person.
  • Courtesy : Say Good Morning / Afternoon
    Always be the first to greet your employer, his family members, relatives or visitors.  Always show a cheerful look and be friendly.  Their impression of you will either take things harder or easier for you.  Be sincere and friendly at all times, and do not forget the courtesy magic words (Please; Thank you ….)
  • Table Manner
    If you happen to have dinner together with your employer and his family, remember to say “Thanks” to them.  You should follow these sequences.
  • Asking for Food
    If you like to have something (food or soft drink) which the employer does not give you the permission to have, you must always ask permission before taking it.  Remember this is not your house, you cannot behave the same way you do in your hometown.
  • Instruction
    Pay attention to instruction given by employer, if not sure, ask your employer to explain again.
  • Admitting Mistake
    When employer points out your mistake, face it with courage and learn from the mistake.  Do not let pride and emotion rules your mind.  A positive frame of mind is essential for survival.
  • Initiative / Attentive
    If you see some work that needs to be done, do not wait to be told but take the initiative to do it.  For example, sewing a loose button for your employer’s blouse.  Inform employer shortfall of household items.  Remind employer on some adhoc activities like school sport day for the children.  Tearing coupon before leaving the car park.
  • Serving Drink
    When your employer have visitors, say good morning / good afternoon to them, ask them the type of drink they want, make the drink and serves with 2 hands.  This shows courtesy in Chinese family.
  • Visiting Employer’s Relatives
    If employers take you to their relatives’ house, do not think you are a guest and sit around like a guest.  After saying hello and good afternoon to them,  look around if they need a little bit of help.  In most cases, they may not need your help at all; however, for courtesy sake, you must always offer your help.  This is especially so if you go their in-law’s house.

Caring for the Baby / Children – The Big Challenge

  • Good Rapport with the Kids
    If your employer have young children and give you the responsibility to take care of them, be sure that you carry this responsibility seriously and maturely.  How well you look after and relate to the children make a great difference in winning your employer’s trust in you.
  • Safety of the Child
    Always have the child’s safety in your mind, keep a close watch on possible Hazards like hot liquid, electricity, bathroom, poolside, small objects, crossing the road.
  • Genuine Concern
    Have genuine concern for the child well-being.  When the child falls sick and wakes up in the mid-night, inform your employer, take initiative to comfort them and offer help to reduce interruption to your employer’s sleep.  It is hard, but your effort will be appreciated.
  • Reading Story Books
    If you can speak good English, seek your employer’s permission to read to the Child if you have the time.  Take the opportunity to relate to the child and be friend with them.  This is a value-added task, if you can do it well, your contribution will be easily noticed and you are more likely to win their respect and confidence.
  • Difficult Children
    Never punish the children physically at any circumstances or situations.  If you are having a very hard time dealing with naughty and stubborn children, report to their parent and leave the discipline to them.
  • Winning the Baby / Child Over
    Even if your employer or wife is at home, do not just do your housework and leave the children to them.  This is a common complaint from employer.  You must check if there is a need for you to take over the children.  At the beginning, children will avoid you, it is just natural becauseyou are stranger to them.  But you must keep trying and not avoiding.

Observing the House Rules

  • Telephone
    - Do not use the telephone without your employer’s permission.
    - Never make or receive long distance call using your employer’s telephone.  You are sure to upset them and make them lose their trust in you.
    - Don’t ever give your employer’s telephone number to anybody without the permission from your employer.
    - Be clear and polite when answering phone calls for your employer, and remember to pass the message to the employer.
  • Salary Advance
    Should never ask for salary advance or loan from employer.
  • Honesty
    Never tell lies to your employer or steal their belongings. Once your employer discover that you have done so, it is impossible to re-build their trust.
  • Newspaper / Television / Hi-Fi
    Do not read newspaper, watch television, and use the Hi-Fi set or taking afternoon naps without your employer’s permission.
  • Making Friends
    - Never bring friend to the employer’s house without her knowledge and permission.
    - If you need to go out from the house to run some errands for the employer, you should return home within the expected time.
    - Do not listen to other maid’s remarks about their employer, use your OwnJudgement to find out more about your employer.
  • Sending Money
    Do not send money home through letter or friends.  You should go
    through Bank Remittance.  Seek help from your employer if you are not sure how to do it.

Be Clear of Your Roles and Responsibilities

  • While you may be accepted as part of the family, you must always remember your role as a domestic help.  You should never, in any way threaten the harmony of the family by being close to the master of the family or mislead the children about their relationship with their mother.
  • Regardless of who is the paymaster, you should work closely with the  mistress of the house, give the same respect to the other family Membersof the employer.
  • No matter how angry you are, never argue with the employer.  If you cannot communicate well with the employer, seek help from the agent.

Don’t ever sit around and do nothing if it is not your rest hour.
You are here to learn the survival skills that help you to do better jobs.