The weirdness that is hiring help

Okay, we're going to dive headfirst into some weird privilege here, so be ready.

Hiring help is bizarre if you're not used to it. Maybe it's better if you have professional managerial experience, but I'm not sure. It's a very weird mix of a personal and professional relationship.

We've mostly been interviewing people off recommendations from others in the diplomatic/ex-pat community. Apparently household employees actually prefer us as employers because we treat them better than local employers might (this is 100% hearsay, so apply salt liberally). Also hiring someone who as worked for other ex-pats removes a lot of the guesswork, as they will already know our strange foreign preferences.

The major hang-up ends up being salary. This is the least comfortable part, obviously. It's also the most bizarre. The monthly salary ranges from around USD 130 to 250, probably clustering around the middle. This is for full time work. So, obviously, we're not talking about a lot of money to most people from the US. So when a potential employee asks for what is (relative to the local economy) an outlandish salary, it's tempting to just agree to it rather than have an uncomfortable negotiation.

Apparently, this is actually a pretty bad idea, though, for two reasons. First, they may just assume you're a sucker (and you are, a bit, but willingly). That's fine, as long as it was left there. But oftentimes it results in more questions about bonuses, paying for school fees, etc. So it's (again, apparently) better to be firm at the start. Second, employees accustomed to a relatively high salary may not be willing to work for less after you leave, making it harder to find work. So you (as an employer) may actually be doing them a disservice by paying them more. So pay them less, it's better for them in the long run? How's that for noblesse oblige?

Anyway, the whole thing is a headache. Then again, it's a headache that will end with us never having to drive ourselves or clean up after ourselves for two years. So it's hard to complain. Just kidding, it's really easy to complain, it just makes one feel pretty hypocritical. Still, I have found myself wishing multiple times that we just had a good butler (Mr Carson?) to whom we could delegate this whole process. But then how do you hire the butler? What a conundrum.