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Glenda Propst on 10 Things Nannies Must Know Before Accepting a Live-In Position

February 7, 2013

It happens more than you may think. Live-in nannies being let go on the spot by their employers, left with no car, no savings and no place to go. Veteran nanny and industry leader Glenda Propst of www.NannyTransitions.com put together this article to educate nannies on what they should know before accepting a live-in position. – Michelle LaRowe, Editor in Chief

In many parts of the country where housing is less affordable, live-in nannies are more common. When you live in someone else’s home, their home becomes your work place, which certainly has its advantages; the greatest of being you have no rent payment and no commute.

But before accepting a nanny position that requires you to live in someone else’s home, there are important things that should you must consider. It is one thing to lose your job, but it’s another thing to lose your job and your home on the same day.

Before accepting a live-in position, it’s important to consider the following things.

  1. The details of your work agreement. Have a work agreement that defines your hours and your responsibilities. To succeed as a live-in nanny, you have to set clear boundaries so that you don’t find yourself working when you are supposed to be off duty.
  2. Your privacy needs. Discuss the importance of privacy in the job interview and be sure to let your employer know that you want a lock on your door. A private entrance would be nice, but don’t settle for anything less than a lock on your door, even if you have to buy it yourself.
  3. A departure timeline. Have a section in your work agreement that addresses a departure timeline, should you be terminated or choose to leave the job. Be sure that your work agreement gives you ample time to find a place to go or provides you with an early exit check so that you have money for a place to stay until you figure out your next move.
  4. How you’ll make connections. When you move to a new location, make connections. Seek out the local nanny support group. Ask your employer to introduce you to nannies she knows. Find a church or other organization so that you can begin to establish yourself in a community.
  5. A 3 stage back-up plan. If something happens and you have to leave your job unexpectedly, have a 24 hour plan. Have at least one person that you know that you can stay with for at least one night. Ideally, if you have 2 or 3 people like this it would give you time to figure out what you are going to do. Know what you’re doing to do that day, for the next two weeks and for the long haul, should you be faced with losing your live-in job unexpectedly.
  6. Living one day at a time. Remember that you can only live one day at a time, so if you lose your job you can’t immediately figure out what you are going to do the rest of your life. Try to break things down into smaller steps and figure things out for short periods of time. Where can I store my belongings? Do I know someone that would let me stay with them for a short time? Make your plan now so should you need it, all you have to do is execute it.
  7. Your immediate needs. Be prepared to take care of your immediate needs first. Know who you can count on to lend a hand and ask friends and family if you can add them to your emergency exit plan contact list.
  8. You’ll need time to secure a new position. Don’t walk into the first nanny agency you see, disheveled and crying “I lost my job! I need something quick!” Give yourself a day or two to figure out what your next step might be. When you’ve processed your situation, prepared your plan and evaluated your needs, you’ll be able to conduct your job search more effectively.
  9. The status of your emergency funds. Having a few months’ worth of living expenses saved up can prevent a job ending badly from turning your life into a downward spiral. Knowing you have the funds to fly home, to stay in a hotel or to rent a car to travel to a friend’s house can make a huge difference in the immediate outcome of your situation.  If you can tuck away even $25 a week for your emergency fund, it will be a lifesaver if the inevitable happens.
  10. The realities of your position. Hope for the best prepare for the worst. Do not lull yourself into a false sense of security and think “This could never happen to me.” Any live-in nanny at any time could be faced with losing her job and her home.

If you are unhappy in your job, it is almost a guarantee that your employer is unhappy with you too. And when a job goes south, it happens faster than you could ever imagine. Tensions swell, emotions rise and action comes swiftly.

As a live-in nanny, you need to make connections wherever you live. Whenever you live in someone else’s home, you are vulnerable and must prepare to care for yourself immediately should the need arise.

Glenda Propst has spent the last 28 years working as both a live-in and a live-out nanny. She has been with her current family for 19 years. Glenda lives in St. Louis with her husband Terry, and their cat LeRoy. Through her site, www.NannyTransitions.com, she offers support, guidance and advice to nannies who are in the process of leaving their work families. 


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