If You Weren’t a Nanny, What Would You Be?

If You Couldn’t Find A Decent Nanny Job, What Job Would You Do?

With so many nanny friends looking for full-time work, and about to run out of unemployment benefits, I often worry about what would do if I were in their shoes.

Andrea Flagg gave us great tips for nannies that lose their jobs in 2008 during the height of the economic recession. Her advice still applies to unemployed nannies today.
But, I’d like to discuss working in another profession, a temporary job, or part-time job until you can find a full-time nanny position. With your nanny experience you may already  possess what’s needed to be a housekeeper, day care worker, receptionist, personal assistant, a maid, a travel agent, an organizer, a chef, a caterer, or a tutor. Would you be willing to try other jobs using the skills you already use working as a nanny if you couldn’t find a decent nanny job?
Obviously, unemployed or underemployed nannies should accept just about any extra babysitting job they can find to help make ends meet. But, those jobs are typically available just on Friday nights and weekends. Would you consider some of the following positions that would also look good on your nanny resume?
Daycare assistant or teacher:
Although most daycare workers don’t make as much as an experienced nanny, daycare teachers and assistants must to effectively communicate with small children as well as parents and other caretakers, just like nannies do. Just like nannies, daycare teachers and assistants need to know how to be flexible with their plans and expectations as each child and each day may present a new challenge. Facilitating learning in a daycare environment requires teachers and assistants to be creative thinkers, patient, caring, organized, and countless other skills, nannies need as well. Undoubtedly, having worked in a daycare looks great on a nanny resume.

Personal assistant to a mother with children:

Of course a nanny’s primary responsibility is caring for children. But nannies are employed by parents and help the parents run their busy lives each and every day. What nanny doesn’t already help parents juggle their duties and errands along with helping care for the children? Organization, self-motivation, and great communication skills are all essential characteristics needed to work as a nanny or personal assistant. Personal assistants also must keep their employers’ personal information in strict confidence (just like nannies) and maintain positive control over business records and office correspondence including emails, faxes, and memos. The skills required to be a great personal assistant translate into being a great nanny job as well.
I know most of my nanny friends won’t fathom the idea of working as a housekeeper, despite the fact that working with children requires cleaning up after kids all day long. Most nannies do a lot more cleaning than just picking up toys and organizing the bedrooms. Nannies are constantly wiping down bathroom surfaces, making beds, doing laundry, and cleaning all the family’s dishes in the kitchen already. Cleaning a home for money isn’t a far stretch for unemployed caregivers needing to make extra money.
Catering or personal chef:
All nannies cook for the children in their care, but some top notch nannies I’ve met have actually been to culinary school and are paid extra to cook for the parents or for parties for the parents that employ them. If you ever considered going to culinary school this might be the time for you to do so. Or, you might like working with a caterer. Common catering job duties include food preparation, food service, and cleanup. If you like cooking and like working closely with people, catering is a great job. And if you already love working in a private home as a nanny perhaps you would also enjoy working as a personal chef in a private home. Having a love of cooking is an added bonus for nanny job candidates. 
Senior care provider:
I know several women that used to work as nannies that currently work in nursing-home facilities. But, working with the elderly requires a lot of knowledge and special skills. I’m not pretending it’s a job anyone can perform. Sensitivity, patience, knowledge, and resourcefulness is needed when caring for the elderly. Senior care providers must learn how to help an elderly person to bathe and shower safely as well as other personal hygiene needs. Good organization is needed for proper medicine scheduling and administration. More than half of residents are incontinent (meaning they have problems using the bathroom), and more than a third have difficulty with hearing or seeing. Working with seniors may require: light housework, preparing meals, administering medications, shopping for groceries and clothes, and communicating with doctors and family for the elderly patient. The skills gained while caring for the elderly would certainly benefit a nanny. But I won’t pretend it’s an easy job or that it is well suited for just anyone.


  1. I actually fell into full-time nannying after failing to find a desk job post college graduation. (Previously, I'd had experience in non-profit development at a major university.) My current employers offered me the job BECAUSE of my BA and professional resume. I love nannying. Love it. But if I had the opportunity, I'd go back to school for my BSN and become a pediatric nurse. 🙂

  2. I'd actually wouldn't mind working as a temp in offices. I type quite well and am organized.

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