Monday, October 5, 2015

Taking Inventory During Times of Transition

I would like to thank Michelle LaRowe for contributing this helpful article.
It is great advice on preparing yourself for the next step going forward.

Taking Inventory During Times of Transition
by Michelle LaRowe

Whether your nanny job has a hard end date or you sense that the end of your position is coming near, you’re heading for a time of transition. But before you take the next step in your nanny journey, stop to take inventory so that you don’t forget to look forward as you’re focusing on your soon to be past.
Are You Ready to Move On?
If you’ve been in the same job for a number of years, chances are you have a strong emotional commitment and sense of loyalty to the family you’ve worked for. You may feel a variety of strong, conflicting emotions about the job ending and may be emotionally and physically drained if the job was particularly intense. Oftentimes nannies are more concerned with the well-being of the family than of themselves and as a result will put the families’ needs first when it comes to navigating their departure.  It’s no wonder that once a nanny job has finally ended, nannies often walkway feel completely exhausted and burned out.
Before committing to your next position, it’s essential that you access your readiness. Ask yourself if you’re ready to give your physical and emotional best to your next family. If you’re not, take some time for you. Picking up temporary and short-term assignments can be a great way to ensure you get an emotional break while still bringing in an income.  Doing so can also serve as career insurance,  ensuring that you keep your reputation and references intact - as it can be quite common for a nanny coming out of a long-term position to go through a string of jobs, some which may end badly,  before finding her next right match. 
Are Your Expectations Realistic?
If you’ve been off the job market for a while, you want to get in touch with current nanny industry trends and industry standards in the area you are looking to work.  The wages and benefits package you had at your last position don’t necessarily transfer to your next one. The way you communicated with your past employer won’t necessarily translate to your new one.  While you may approach the job and your new employers the same, the way they interpret you and your approach may be quite different.
When starting your new job search consider what is negotiable to you and what isn’t. Know what your bottom line is when it comes to pay and benefits and consider carefully what duties and responsibilities you are willing to take on. Be prepared to justify why you are worth your required wages and why you will be picky about the job you accept, rather than expecting to have the perfect job at the perfect pay handed to you on a silver platter. Remember, the agency or parents you are working with won’t know your job expectations unless you tell them. If you don’t sell yourself to them during your search, they won’t know what they have the opportunity to buy. 

Are You Easy to Work With?
After the first few nanny jobs, most nannies know what types of families they work best with and what types of jobs they are best suited for. Because they’ve been through a job search before and have high expectations for their next position, if not careful, their confidence can be portrayed as arrogance.  Consider when you go to a new doctor for an exam. The doctor has done hundreds of exams on new patients, but for you, this is your first experience with this doctor. How would it make you feel if the doctor rushed through the exam with an all business approach, expected you to take his word on everything without evidence, and showed no care as to how you perceived the examination process to go. Be careful not to be perceived as that doctor. Even when an agency representative knows you personally from nanny organizations or networking, she still needs to put you through their process to ensure you the highest level of representation.  Nannies who expect exceptions make it incredibly difficult for placement specialists to represent them successfully. And for many parents hiring a nanny, it’s their first time interfacing with potential nannies.  A nanny who comes across as arrogant or entitled will be a huge turnoff.
As you prepare for your job search, put yourself in the shoes of parents and nanny placement specialists. Consider how your attitude may be portrayed by them. Ask yourself if you’re prepared to consider the needs of parents and agency representatives as they put you through the screening process. Are you giving off the impression you think you are?

Transitions can be hard, but you can set yourself up for success in your next position by taking inventory of your readiness. Once you are truly ready to commit to your job search and next job, that is when you will have the greatest success.

Michelle LaRowe is the 2004 INA Nanny of the Year and executive director of Morningside Nannies, a Houston, TX based award- winning nanny placement agency.