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Interviewing People to Live with Your Family

Jeremy:
And so we had a good conversation in our Facebook group. Nathan asks, “Jeremy, I know episode 17.” Which is man, going way back, Nathan. You must be starting at the beginning. “Of five in the fatherhood was on hiring help in the home. I would love to hear an episode on finding, screening, interviewing in the language and practical parts of the process.” So one of the things that Jeff and I have both done and have really tried to figure out is what does it look like when you are starting to have more children than maybe just you and your spouse can handle on your own? Is there a good way to sort of begin to hire somebody that to assist the household? So I’ll give you a couple thoughts and then Jeff, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

One is that we like to call this person a household assistant as opposed to a nanny or something like that because the idea is we don’t know exactly what jobs we’re going to give you. There are going to be jobs that help the household as a whole. It’s not necessarily all going to be related directly to watching the kids so that we can go do something better or something else. So that’s one thought.

The second one that really is a big part of our process was to, most people can’t afford to pay someone like this hourly. So what they will do, most people will set up a room in their house and say, in exchange for the room, you will help our family with like cleaning and sometimes watching the kids and doing some errands, but I’ll tell you one thing that’s really, really helped us and has helped a lot of other families. If you do that and simply say-

Jeff:
Dang it, you are about to take mine. You’re about to take mine.

Jeremy:
Am I? Are you sure?

Jeff:
This is my tip.

Jeremy:
Okay. Go ahead.

Jeff:
I learned it from you.

Jeremy:
I will sweep in and save this one, if you screw it up, but I will hand off the baton and see where you go.

Jeff:
No, no. You say it.

Jeremy:
Are you sure?

Jeff:
I’ll add on. I’ll that on.

Jeremy:
Okay.

Jeff:
Let’s just make sure it was the one, but it’s a good one.

Jeremy:
This is one. Okay guys. It’s a big one. Jeff and I both are very passionate about it. So what has happened in the past is people have said in exchange for living here, you’re going to do, you’re going to help our family. And what’s happened so many times when they’ve done that is like the first week, oftentimes it’s a single, a woman she’ll help out the family, maybe 15, 20 hours a week. And then over the course of two or three months, it will be less and less and less. She’ll be busy and busier and busier and busier. It gets really confusing. You’re like, oh my gosh, I have a roommate living in my house. Okay.

Jeremy:
So there’s a better way to set this up, which is to say this room costs $500 a month, let’s say. That $500 a month you can work off at. You can even make a generous $20 an hour or something by doing things for our household. And if there’s something leftover, so if you don’t work enough hours for the household, then you’ll owe us that 50 bucks rent or 100 bucks rent or whatever, but that keeps everybody honest and on the same page about what the vision is. You guys need help and you need somebody who’s going to want to help. There needs to be a clear financial component to incentivize them to continue to do that. And if you do that, then it tends to work out well. Another part of this is if they get really busy and they’re only helping five or 10 hours a week for a little bit of time, then you’re going to get more rent for that room.

Jeff:
Yeah, totally.

Jeremy:
So was that the one Jeff?

Jeff:
That was the one. But it just aligns the incentives and it just puts everything in the right way. Because yeah, the bad incentives that start to happen in almost any room living exchange for living situation is they are no longer incentivized or motivated to work to the ceiling of what you want them because they already have the room. And so it’s very easy for it to just be like, well, I’m have a room either way. And so I need to go see, it kind of messes with their, it creates a lot of tension. I want to go see my friends tonight, but we need work. And so what the money does is you’re kind of basically, it’s like you’re kind of playing with fake invisible money at some sense of like, you can wash this away every month. It doesn’t have to, we don’t have to do anything, but this is how it’s going to wash away. And I think that just totally locks everything into place in a lot better, healthier way that just prevents a ton of the very classic little landmines that people step in when they invite someone in the home to live with them and work and stuff.

Jeremy:
Awesome. And I would say too, Nathan, that you talked about screening, interviewing, this I really do and a lot of times you just want to know, it’s so much easier if you know the person, if you have somebody in common that knows them, that you can talk to about their character. Because the last thing you need if you’re drowning in your household is somebody to move in with you. That’s a huge project from just an energy perspective. If it ends up taking up a lot more time and energy than it’s really freeing you up, that’s obviously going to be a big problem.

There are some people by the way, that you want to move in, that are a lot of work because you feel like it’s a part of your family’s mission to make disciples by giving a place for that person. I love that. Just know what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for somebody to really take a lot of the burden off your family, you’re going to need somebody who’s fairly a little maintenance and you’re going to need to do the hard work of screening, looking at references, having hard conversations upfront, that kind of stuff. But great question. And I really encourage you to get a lot of you guys to try to figure this out because for so many people, this is the difference between having a small and large family is them figuring out how to get enough help to be able to handle all the physical demands of having a larger family.

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