Friday

L.A. Nanny

opinion dec
I am a 26 year old former nanny. I have my Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood/Elementary Education and over 14 years of childcare experience and was a stellar nanny. I worked with one family as a full time nanny from 12/08-6/10 and another from 8/10-5/11. I left the first family because both kiddies were starting school full time. The second family I had to leave because I was working for them part time and was offered a full time promotion with benefits (I had an additional part time job at night.) I can honestly say that I had fabulous experiences with both families and continue to see them regularly as I love them to pieces. Currently, I still work full time in Philadelphia but recently decided to relocate to LA with my long-term boyfriend some time in May. At that point, I have decided to start nannying again. I need to find a well paying job, especially since I will need to pay for my own medical insurance along with my share of more expensive rent and all the other expenses coming our way. I am psyched about getting back to nannying, I genuinely miss it.

My question is this: I am terrified to move to LA without a job lined up. Is there any good way to go about this? I have started contacting families through all the typical nanny websites, and while I never had any trouble finding work in the past it seems next to impossible to find a position in advance from across the country. I am planning to make a trip out to LA some time in February or March to look for housing and was hoping to have some interviews lined up, but so far no real bites. Any advice would be very much appreciated!

37 comments:

Army wife said...

Hello! I just did the same type of move. Idaho to NY. I had my job set up prior also, but I'll add I think I got really lucky. I used care.com and sitter city and made sure it clearly stated I wouldn't be able to start until August. I sent messages to every job posting that came up that I thought I would be interested in, was very open and offered interested potential employers to friend me on fb (obviously don't go this If your fb shows you in a bad light) and because my fiancé and I moved to a very unfamiliar area he made it clear he needed to also meet potential employers. Also be very persistent. I did Skype interviews and had my current job lined up ready to start when I got to NY. We obviously made a verbal agreement if when we met there was no chemistry then I wouldn't start 2 weeks after as planned, but because of our extensive phone conversations I knew that wouldn't be a problem.

My tips are be persistent, open, make it clear you have amazing refrences, and send messages to every single job you think you'd like.

MissMannah said...

I want to expand on what Army Wife said...make 2 facebooks, a personal one and a professional one. Leave the professional one open so potential bosses can see everything and can get to know you. Keep the personal one under lock and key because they don't need to know you *that* well!

OK, something in your post annoyed me. 14 years of childcare experience and you are only 26 years old? Sure it is possible you started babysitting at age 12 (as did I) but that is not professional experience and if you go into interviews saying you have 14 years experience, the parents are going to react exactly how I did, which was with an eye-roll.

Jedd Meir said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
My thoughts... said...

I am not the original poster but I have to say that I consider my childcare experience to have begun at age 12. I had been acting as a mother's helper when I was 11 for a very difficult baby. By the time the baby was 7 months old she had been kicked out of 3 daycare centers for being "inconsolable". As both parents had to work and I was comfortable caring for the baby (who was not inconsolable with me), I watched her everyday after school from 2:30-9PM and 8-10 hours over the weeken while the mother worked. As a result, for two years I watched this child 40+ hours a week. Therefore, I really do believe that time counts towards real childcare experience.

Jedd Meir said...
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MissMannah said...

You watched an infant/toddler for 40+ hours a week from the ages of 11-13 years? Somehow I just find that really hard to believe. I remember my very first time caring for an infant, I was 13 (14?) years old and the only reason they let me watch him was because my mom was 3 houses down. I ended up calling her like 30 minutes into the job because I couldn't stop him crying...just like any normal kid that age. I babysat a lot in middle and high school but usually for ages 5 and up, which is the way it should be. Any parent who leaves their baby or toddler with a kid that young is asking for trouble because the kid is just generally not mature enough to handle it.

So yeah, my childcare experience started very early too, and I say that in interviews: "I started working in professional childcare when I was 18 but I've been babysitting since I was about 11 or 12, starting with my own little sisters." That sounds a lot more believable than "I've been a professional childcare provider since I was 12 years old."

Original Poster said...

OP here...wow, I didn't expect to get bombarded with nastiness on here. 14 year of childcare experience...yes, I started babysitting for infants at the age of 12, and I elaborate on exactly what my experience consists of in job applications/interviews and, mind you, have never once received "eye rolls." I don't know maybe I have just been lucky in that I have not encountered snobby parents...I did manage to receive my Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood/Elementary Education from a 4 year University as well, thank you very much. Additionally, I was a professional nanny for over 3 years and yes, according to all of my employers (both nannying AND babysitting) I am "stellar." So, to Army Wife, the only person who actually responded to my question instead of attacking me for no reason, thank you so much for your advice. I will absolutely take it. Also, thank you "my thoughts" for the back-up. As for Miss Mannah, please do not use quotes when you are not actually quoting what was said...
Miss Mannah: "I've been a professional childcare provider since I was 12 years old."
My actual post: "I have over 14 years of childcare experience." Wow, I used to like this site and thought I would get some good advice from some genuine people. Not nasty, and unnecessary remarks from people about things unrelated to what I was asking for in terms of their opinions.

StrawberryShortKakes said...

OP, congrats on deciding to make a big move and experience a new city! I wish I could do that sometimes but I know I am just not ready for it, just yet.

As far as the other posters go, don't take what they say personally. Some posters on here don't really take other people's feelings into consideration before they type their responses, as we have seen on many occasions.

I, too, was wondering if you really had 14 years of professional experience but I wouldn't have asked it in such a rude way. If you truly began working at such an early age and you consider it professional, then by all means, tell that to potential parents. One thing I would keep in mind is that they may be a bit skeptical if they do the math (maybe not roll their eyes) so be sure to elaborate if they ask or you suspect they don't believe you or something. I think that previous posters might have thought you are trying to look like you have more experience than you do but how do they know?? I know I wouldn't trust an 11 or 12 year old with my infant (if I had one) but that is their choice.

It seems like your top priority before you move is to at least have a few potential jobs and that is understandable since, like you said, you will have a lot of financial responsibility. I like the previous poster's comment who advised you to do skype interviews and email as much as possible, use technology to your advantage. Also, I wouldn't agree to any jobs before you meet the people in person. Technology is great but you will definitely want to meet them and see the house, neighborhood, etc. before making any decisions. And my last piece of advice is to save as much money now so that in case you are out of work for a bit, you will have some money to fall back on. Best of luck!

MissMannah said...

I wasn't quoting you, I was using that as an example of what not to say in an interview. I would hope someone of your expertise and education would have been able to figure out the difference.

And why should I be taking yall's feelings into consideration?? You're not my friends/neighbors/coworkers/family.

Do you want my REAL advice, because I have moved across the country alone. Get a job and an apartment locked down before you move. I'm talking contract and lease signed because these things can always get ripped out from underneath you and they are a nightmare to change up long-distance.

Tell_it_like_it_is said...

You have very little actual nanny experience. A college degree in early childhood development is a wonderful thing, but people look for experience on a resume, and they are not, "snobby", just thorough and very concerned about who is raising their children while they are working, and, as one of your jobs didn't even last a year, your resume is not going to cut it out there, and that is why you aren't getting any, "bites".

Nannies like myself with college degrees and 15 years of full time nanny experience take umbrage when someone with less than 5 years nanny experience sells themselves as having, "14 years" of it.

I'm not saying we're right or wrong, I'm just saying we think you're a little full of yourself and you need to build up a real resume before referring to yourself as a, "stellar" nanny when you are, at best, a "stellar" babysitter.

And Missmannah is right. I moved to New York for a job and the mother was a monster-I quit and was lucky enough to find another live-in position but I was essentially SCREWED because I was young and arrogant and didn't have a security blanket. Please make sure you do, and good luck.

Jedd Meir said...
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Army Wife said...

I agree with strawberry's pointing out how important seeing the area is. I had never even been to the East Coast before we moved and relied heavily on google earth, contacting real estate agents, and local schools. Here's how I got away with doing this and being taken seriously, it's some what dishonest though. I contacted three different school districts saying we were moving to the area and I was searching for a neighborhood based on where I wanted my kids to go to school ( obviously a lie, our only kid Is our spoiled dog) BUT they can give you great info on that area, registered sex offenders, areas to avoid, etc. With the real
Estate agents I said I was looking at the safest areas to buy, again dishonest but hey somethings are necessary when you cant afford a 700$ plane ticket to check if our yourself. Typically real estate agents won't help you unless they think you're a buyer. I didn't tell them to search for a house for me or anything, just made it seem like I was interested and picked their brains. That's how I knew the safest places to look at apartments in. I ignored some of the offered jobs in areas I found out were bad, and then like I said google earthed the ones I considered.

I have to agree with the others that stating that many years as experience probably turns some employers off. Elementary ED. Is wonderful because it shows you will help build fundamentals for their children, but when it comes to experience list only actual nanny jobs on your online profile. I had only a year of real nannying before our move, but in that year I was responsible for 4 little girls between 2 and 7, and was with them from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. And did everything from parent teacher confrenses to starting gymnastic classes. So even though I wasn't doing it for that long my current employers learned through reference checking that I had been raising these girls. They were more impressed by the quality of my work with them then the amount of time I'd been nannying. Definitely mention how young you started baby sitting and stuff, just don't make it a huge part of your resume.

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

OP, I would suggest that you say something like, "I began babysitting at age 12 and have worked as a nanny for 2.5 years." Or, if you MUST include every last year of experience, start with what you did at age 18 and detail all of those jobs.

Have you looked at agencies in LA? What are their minimum qualifications? Many higher end agencies where I live won't accept a nanny candidate unless she has 3 - 5 years of FULL TIME nanny experience.

My impression of the LA market is that there are many many familes who choose to hire immigrants as nannies, paying very low wages, and then there are higher end families that want a nanny with significant experience. I don't hear about a lot of jobs in-between those extremes. Of course, if you have a teaching degree that will help you out, but if you're only using on-line sites, you may not get much interest, especially if you continue claiming 14 years of childcare experience.

I would do what you can to research LA agencies and try to register with any of them that accept candidates with your level of education and experience.

Kate said...
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LAK said...

I am a nanny in LA. Feel free to email me for recs on agencies/websites (lanannykate@ gmail . com). I have a similar background in that I started babysitting at 12 and worked part time throughout high school and college (full time during school breaks). I am 25 and have been at my current job for almost 2 years (2 years in March). I was with all of the big time agencies but found my job through a local job website. The agencies usually want a minimum of 2 years full time experience.

Many many families want the older, Spanish speaking nannies. But some families do want young, college educated nannies. Most of the agencies will not set up interviews until you are living here. You will easily be able to find a job in the $10-15/hour range. It will probably take longer to find something high paying (those are usually through agencies so you would most likely need to be living here)

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

First and foremost, do not tell people that at age 26 you have 14 yrs of childcare experience because most parents will not believe you. Sure, at 12 I could have babysat and such, but I wouldn't list any childcare experience until around 16 or 17. It just looks better on paper...like it is more believable.

If you want, you can use SKYPE to do interviews with potential families. Your situation sounds tricky and I have to say, it will be much harder for you to get a job as opposed to if you were actually in L.A. already.

I wish you the best of luck in your Nanny search. You sound like a great and qualified Nanny to me.

My thoughts... said...

I absolutely did babysit 40+ hours a week when I was 12. It was a very unique situation as even on the nights that I didn't care for her, other neighbors would hear her crying out the windows and call my mom to ask her to send me over "to put that kid to bed so we can all get some sleep". However, like the original poster said, I do not refer to this time as "professional" experience but it is still childcare experience nonetheless.

I am now over 30 years old and have never had to make a resume to get nannying jobs as they have always just been offered to me so I'm not sure what I would actually put on paper but when I discuss experience verbally, I explain each time frame starting at age 12. I think the fact that at age 12 I was reading parenting books and had subscriptions to parenting magazines and was willing to give up my own playtime to care for a small child is unique. Also, many of the families I have cared for have either known that original family or heard through the grapevine about how well I was able to care for her so it almost always comes up when discussing new positions.

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

I wonder how many nannies in their 40's who babysat when they were 12 say they "have 30+ years of childcare experience"?

I am guessing none. I do get that when you have only got 2 years or so of full time nanny experience you want and need to pad things out, but it simply makes more sense to use only your ADULT (age 18 and over) experience in your resume. If you have to shove in the teen sitting, add it to your personal statement in your portfolio.

have you tried an agency? said...

OP, have you looked into any Nanny agencies in the LA area? Perhaps it would be beneficial to sign up with a Nanny agency, who can take the away some of the struggle out of finding local LA families. As a nanny, you should not have to pay out of pocket to join a reputable agency, the families will pay the agency. You may end up finding several good families that will be a good fit for you. Just an idea :)

Anne said...

Your only mistake OP is posting with here with confidence. You know you have the knowledge and are damn good at your job and said so in your post. A number of these posters aren't used to a strange poster with confidence. Your confidence is almost like a threat to them , and they had to find something to knock you down a peg or two.

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

Or, Anne, we could be offering sincere advice to the OP in hopes of saving her embarassment and humiliation when agencies and families in LA mock her claim of 14 years of childcare experience.

Jedd Meir said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Original Poster's Final Thoughts said...

I find it really amazing that many of these rude, immature and completely unnecessary comments are coming from people who are nearly twice my age. I feel like I entered some sort of a teenage forum here by mistake...I still cannot for the life of me grasp why, based on my blog, I am getting attacked personally by a couple of you. Miss Mannah, you made a very good point earlier when you said, "why should I be taking yall's feelings into consideration?? You're not my friends/neighbors/coworkers/family." Please, do not feel the need to take my feelings into consideration. That's perfectly fine. By the same token though, what I posted was not a job application to potential employers. "Yall'" don't pay my bills. It was simply a quick and brief summary of my credentials and my situation. I therefore did not feel the need to go into depth the way I would (and do) when speaking with parents about my experience as a childcare worker. Of course I provide them with my experiences in detail. Of course I do not enter into an interview telling them I have been a professional nanny for 14 years. THAT is why I do not receive eye rolls in interviews. I have never had anyone "mock (my) claim of 14 years experience." Now, if I did come across as arrogant or full of myself in any way, I do apologize because that truly was not my intention. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am anything but those things. I realize that I am young and have a lot to learn. However, I have a great deal of experience in a wide variety of settings, including but not limited to nannying. I am confident in my abilities, I do believe that I am a great nanny and my opinion isn't going to change because of a few ignorant remarks made by people who don't even know my name. When I meet potential employers, they tend to comment on the fact that I seem like a warm and loving person. They comment on how much they love my creativity and my background in education and on how well I interact with their children. My references will then tell them how well I have taken care of and genuinely love their children. I think those things matter more than longevity. You can be a nanny for 30 years and still be a lousy one. (I am NOT claiming anyone on here IS a lousy nanny, I do not know you and wouldn't make that kind of assumption.)

Also, just to update the people who were actually trying to offer me some solid advice, I have heard from a few interested families (who sound very nice!) since I posted this blog. =) I think I just need to be patient and as many of you said, try to have a contract/lease signed before the move. I'm keeping my fingers and toes crossed and am still psyched!

I will conclude by saying that a few of you may want to rethink your attitudes on this site in general. If you are a nanny coming on here and reading the Opinion blogs and you decide to comment, I would hope your intentions would be to offer your opinion in a constructive way, not to (attempt to) make anyone feel like they are beneath you. My blog was not about whether you all think babysitting should count toward experience...maybe someone should write a separate blog on that topic but that was not my question. Maybe you were just having a bad day...who knows. Bottom line is this: I thought we nannies were all trying to accomplish the same thing. Find a decent paying job doing something we love, which is caring for children and watching them grow, being a part of the adult they become, and being great at it. I was hoping to find some support in here, and I did. (Thank you Army Wife, Strawberry, Anne, haveyoutried, and talesfromthenannyhood...) There is a difference between being honest and being intentionally nasty. Miss Mannah, "I would hope someone of your expertise and education would have been able to figure out the difference."

That's all I have to say. Thank you to everyone who offered their advice regarding my out of state move, it seems to be heading in the right direction! Happy Holidays!

OP said...

*Also, thank you LAK, I will definitely keep your information just in case.* =)

MissMannah said...

"Of course I do not enter into an interview telling them I have been a professional nanny for 14 years"

Well, maybe you should have said that right off the bat to avoid all this so-called nastiness.

I find it rather ironic that you called me out on my nastiness when I was the one who told you to get a contract before moving and then you thanked others who told you that babysitting at 12 years is not professional experience.

OP said...

Thank YOU Miss Mannah, for your advice as well. Enjoy your holiday.

MissMannah said...

Lol, for the record I wasn't angling for a thank you, but since you gave me one, you are most welcome.

And I will enjoy mine and hope you enjoy yours. I also hope you do get a good job lined up. Believe it or not, I was really trying to help, in my own way.

Another question that has been on my mind all this time is if you are going out to LA with your boyfriend, why not just stay with him? You seem to be stressing out over moving costs, finding an apartment, job, etc. I'm making the assumption that he already lives out there, but maybe I am mistaken.

OP said...

He doesn't, we're moving out there together. =)

MissMannah said...

OK, that makes more sense. I thought he already had a place and you were going to move out there to be with him but had to find a place of your own. Which would be very presumptuous for him to invite you in the first place! I can be a real ditz sometimes if things are not spelled out for me.

This might not be relevant for you because you will be living with you bf and I lived alone when I moved across country...but I had a really hard time getting an apartment lease. They didn't want to rent to me because I didn't already have a job. Duh because I hadn't moved yet. So what I had to do was take a daycare job at first in the area and the daycare faxed the apartment leasing office a copy of my welcome letter signed by the director and it said how much I was going to make and my start date. I worked at that daycare while looking for a nanny family.

OP said...

Thanks, that is a good idea if I run into that problem (which is certainly a possibility...) I actually have been applying to Pre-Schools too because while the pay isn't as good as the nanny jobs they include benefits which would be a huge expense cut. But I'd rather nanny if I can manage to find the right position. I'm sure it will be a bit easier come the spring when people are actually looking for nannies to start in May. But I like to do everything in advance. Its just how I am!

raised too many kids said...

I started to read the other posts, but quit because of all the petty judging. I've been a nanny for 22 yrs, and I've nannies all over the country (CA,NJ,NY,CT, CO,HI, OR,IL,VA...etc) East Coast and West Coast are very different when it comes to nannying, from hiring to treatment on the job. In Cali, the reputable agencies all want you to physically be here before they will deal with you. It's a PITA, but it's just the way it is. But here are some L.A. Tips for you:

Do not, under any circumstances, take less than $15.00 hr net (net!) With experience, a degree, and strong references, you are really a $20+ hr nanny.

Register with multiple agencies. The best are The Help Company, Westside Nannies, Lexington Nannies, and Elizabeth Rose. I'd forget about nannies4hire, sittercity and enannysource for L.A. (all great agencies online, but you won't get paid squat).

Also, with your experience, you should be able to get an on the books job with health insurance. Don't settle for less.

Personally, I avoid celebrity jobs because they are usually very time intensive, and if you want a life they aren't the way to go. The exception is sitcom actors. Their schedules aren't too bad usually. It's an industry town, but if you can, look for a family where the parents are directors, producers, writers, etc. They just tend to work out better in the long run.

There are a TON of stay at home moms out here. Ask a lot of questions and really do some soul searching about what kind of stay at home mom you'd be ok with. Do you want an absent, uninvolved mom, or a mom who is really going to be around and under foot?

I hope this helps you. Best of luck on your search. I would say this- even if you have to wait until you get out here to start the process, once you're here, you will find a job quickly. I wouldn't worry too much about that.

Original Poster said...

Wow...that is awesome advice. Thank you so much!!! My concern is not having anything lined up because I don't know if anyone will rent an apartment to me without proof of income?

I have gotten some sittercity and care.com responses but I will definitely keep what you said about pay in mind...it would certainly be great to find a job to offer medical benefits or pay me enough that I can afford to get them on my own! If I don't have anything lined up by the move I will get right on top of those nanny agencies and see if they can help me to find something good!

I really do think I'm worth it, not so much because of my experience (you saw on here that some people don't think I'm experienced enough hehehe) but because of the love and the quality of care I provide. I come to truly adore my charges...you are with them from the time they are babies, how can you not? Plus my kiddies have been particularly amazing...tehe.

You are right about the stay-at-home parents, I think its something to really be mindful of. I have been lucky enough to find families who are just in the middle...both worked from home sometimes, which was totally fine. They were clearly the parents, I was HELPING to raise their kiddies, sure, but I was NOT their childrens' mother. There was no confusion there, and I wouldn't have it any other way. They also weren't under foot when they did work from home. They knew I was more than capable of handling things and let me do my thing. Plus, we were out being active a good part of most days anyway. =)

raised too many kids said...

You can probably still get an apartment without a job. Another option (which is what I did when I moved back here 2 yrs ago) is to find a sublet or temp place while you look. L.A. Is so huge- you don't want to find an awesome job and wind up with a 90 minute commute because your apartment is across town. Feel free to email me if you'd like more info or want any help navigating the sometimes frustrating L.A. Nanny waters. annekdoug@gmail.com

OP said...

Thank you so much! As the move gets closer I may take you up on that as I am so unfamiliar with the areas. I am thinking/hoping to move into the West LA area (because I heard its safer and it seems that the nanny jobs pay fairly well) West Hollywood, Santa Monica...but its also expensive. Catch 22 lol.

re-post for anon #1 said...

Anonymous said...
I am a 25 year old nanny, relocated to LA from Boston with my boyfriend, and would love to tell you about my experience and offer any advice. beachlover6276 (at) yahoo (dot) com

OP said...

Thank you, repost. =) I may take you up on that. Everything go well for you?

Raised too many kids said...

West L.A. is nice. What does your boyfriend do? Will he have a job lined up when you guys come? Also, I just noticed I combined 2 of my email addies before making one non-existent address. My actual email is anneklucas@gmail.com! Please email me. My hubby might be able to help your boyfriend with a job, if you need that.