To take the nanny job or not?

It’s my goal but is it the right move? Our elder cautions against rushing in when the conditions aren’t right.

Dear EWC:

I’ve been working in the same part-time retail job for over two years. I’m growing more and more unhappy with it and have been looking for a job with some high standards. I specifically decided I wanted to be an after-school nanny. I have been searching for a job like this for months now, applying to individual families all over my town. I finally received a response from one of them, and spoke to the mother.

She seemed extremely uncertain about me, specifically because I’m only 18. She also is asking for someone to watch her kids in the morning before school too, which is fine, except she would need me there at 6:30, which is super early for me to get myself up and out of the house. Lastly, she mentioned that her hubby has a weird work schedule, and there might be times where he would be off for a whole week, meaning so would I. Having no work or pay for a week worried me.

What do I do? Stay at my current job and tell this family I’m not interested? Overlook the cons and take a shot at it?

Lincoln-Parker replies:

I think that you should pass on this position, for several reasons. The main reason is that neither the time hours nor the steadiness of the job fits with what you want. If those are issues that really bother you, you may find yourself quitting after a very short time. That will certainly impact your ability to get another nanny job in the future. No matter who you try to explain the circumstances, a concerned parent would ask, “Why did you accept it in the first place?”

It sounds like being a nanny and caring for other people’s children is what you want to do. I don’t know where you live, but I have adult children in a large US city and they and their friends are always in demand for part-time (and full-time) nannies. I suggest that you stick it out with your current job retail job until you find a good situation, or you might even consider doing some daycare work for a year or two to build your resume so that you are more marketable. Your age is probably working against you until you can demonstrate some experience in taking responsibility for children. If you feel that this is something that you want to do, it might be best to build the credentials that make you more marketable. In spite of the shortage, I know that my adult children conduct some pretty rigorous interviews before hiring child care personnel, so try to prepare yourself with some on the job experience and good recommendations.

Don’t rush into this. As unfulfilling as your current job might be, it may be worthwhile to stick with it a while until you find something that works for you. I am sure for the right job, you can change your lifestyle so that early mornings are not a problem, but if there are other cons, it is probably not worth it. You are being offered a job that fits with your current qualifications. I think it is better to work on those qualifications so you can find one that you will be happy with long-term. I can assure you, based on what I have seen as a grandparent, once you have proved yourself as a responsible nanny, you won’t ever have to worry about finding another job. Put yourself in a position where you enjoy the job and the kids so that it is a labor of love; that is when you will get your most satisfaction and success.


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