Global Leadership Speaker and Premier Work-Life Balance Speaker
Speaking Information at (727) 467-0202 or e-mail

Disasters in Babysitting: My First Career Setback

Someone recently asked me if I’d ever been fired, and the answer is, mercifully, only once.

 It happened when I was 13 and the second-string choice of babysitters for the mother of three young boys who lived directly behind me. She’d apparently exhausted her list of preferred sitters and called me.

The kids went to play next door, so I went about the business of raiding the fridge and seeing what was on TV. I realize I am dating myself here, but this was in pre-cable days, and for those too young to know about “the rotar,” I will educate you. It was an outdoor antenna controlled by a dial on a box on your television. Turning a  wheel on the box made the antenna rotate outside, bringing in better reception. That day, I worked the rotar to fine-tune Soul Train on Channel 2, a Detroit station that didn’t come in all that great 

Several days later, my friend  told me what everyone in the neighborhood apparently knew. I’d broken the  Figa’s rotar. Mrs. Figa had told everyone. I thought would never find work as a babysitter again.

My regulars still called. And, a few months later, Mrs. Figa must have been really desperate, because she asked me to babysit. I said I was busy.

 That was not my sweet revenge.

This was:

Two years later, my family was moving from Michigan to Florida. On one of my final days as a Michigander, Mrs. Figa was out in her garden. This was pre-wireless phones and pre-caller ID — the salad days for crank callers.

 Anyhow, Mrs. Figa was on her knees in her garden and I called her house. She ran through her yard, through the garage, and into the house to the kitchen, where I could see her picking up the phone, conveniently located in her kitchen window.

Click! I hung up.

She waited a minute or two, then headed back to her garden. The second she stooped down to her knees, I called again. She ran into the house and I saw her pick up the phone again.


She waited ten minutes. Then, she headed back to her garden. When she crouched down again, I redialed. She ran in to answer the call.


She never went back out to the garden.

I realize this story does not paint me in the most flattering light, but I was only a teenager and I was a disgruntled former employee.

Fawn Germer is the best-selling author of five books and a professional speaker on leadership and performance.

  1. Cruel, Fawn! But, I love it. I just love it when you write humor.

  2. Serves her right!You had a great sense of humor way back when. I wonder what she’ll do if she ever sees this.

Leave a Reply