Will Keeping Options Open Come Back to Bite this Nanny?

opinion 1
First a bit of background: I'm a college student, and I've been nannying part time during the school year and in my summers. This year, I did a semester abroad in London, which I am still finishing up now, and won't be back in the States until June 9. This has made securing a summer position quite tricky. Usually I am home from school in mid-May, which gives me plenty of time to interview and find a position before schools get out in mid-June.

I've been searching and applying online, but most families are put off when they discover I am not immediately available for an interview. I have however managed to get a few nibbles and set up a few interviews for when I get back. Well one of those nibbles has turned into a huge bite. After talking to my references, one of the families has offered me a position. I have not spoken to or Skyped with this family, just a handful of messages on On the one hand, I'm tempted to accept, because it's been so difficult finding a position this summer. On the other hand, not having interacted with them at all makes me very nervous. Is it completely horrible to accept, but secretly keep my options open?


Brit nanny said...

I can definitely see why you want to keep your options open but if you accept the job you are (in their eyes at least) committing to that family. If you then change your mind you are letting them down and could get a bad name for yourself.

Maybe you could say you are interested but would like a skype or phone interview first to make sure you and the family are a good fit? Then if in the meantime you get a better offer you can politely say that you changed your mind. Then the family can't really complain because you didn't give them a definite yes.

Hope this helps =)

Go for it said...

We all have to look out for OURSELVES first and foremost, there is nothing "horrible" about that IMO.

Personally, I would accept any offer I oculd get but keep in the back of my mind the option to keep looking until an excellent match was found.

That doesn't make you dishonest or a bad person, it makes you a REALISTIC person who knows how to look out for herself.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

I think it is quite unusual for a family to hire you online w/out meeting you or AT LEAST talking to you personally. Could this be a scam??

Anyway, I would ask them to S-K-Y-P-E before accepting the job just to see if there is a possibility you all are a good fit. What looks good on paper may not be so great in the real world.

I know you need a job real bad, but I wouldn't formally accept any offer w/out at least a personal interview of some sort.

Good luck!

Bethany said...

I thought possible scam as well. I would insist on a Skype meeting first and go from there.

MissMannah said...

I don't think it would be a scam because they've signed up with A scammer wouldn't bother paying membership fees.

However, I wouldn't advise you take this job without a skype or phone interview first. If the parents balk at this idea, you should be suspicious of them anyway.

OP Here said...

I don't think this is a scam, as they called my references (and my references have confirmed to me that they were called), and I really can't see how that would factor in to any sort of scam. Also, this may be tooting my own horn a bit, but my references are amazing, and it has happened before that families who have talked to my references offered me the job upon walking in the door for an interview.

I did offer to Skype with them, but they said they were fine waiting until I got back to meet (and a regular phone call would cost a fortune). Again, this didn't strike me as odd, as I've offered to Skype with numerous families and none of them have taken me up on the offer.

This posting was a few days delayed, so at this point I have already told them I accept the job. I did however schedule my meeting with them as last in a string of interviews. Should I get an exceptionally good feeling about another family, I intend on informing this family before meeting them, so that we're all on the same page.

I do welcome any more advice anyone may have on this situation though.

Manhattan Nanny said...

I think accepting the job with the intention to keep looking incase something better comes up is unethical. Has it occurred to you that maybe they are doing the same thing? Telling you you have the job, but continuing to interview, with the intention of dumping you at the last minute if someone they think is a better match comes along?

Brit nanny said...

I agree that the family seem genuine, especially if they called your references. I was pretty much offered my current job before the interview, based on the strength of my profile and I few messages we sent each other. So I don't think it's strange that they offered you the job the way they did.

I think all you can really do is have your string of interviews but if you find a job that is better suited to you let the family know asap, to give them more time to make alternative arrangements. That way there won't be any hard feelings and the family can't really accuse you of leading them on.

Best of luck OP, hope everything goes well for you =)

OP Here said...

@Manhattan Nanny- I've considered just that, which is precisely why I feel uneasy abandoning my search.

Also, to clarify, I'm not specifically looking for something *better*. These children are at my favorite ages to work with, and the hours and pay work pretty well for me. I'm looking at other families so that if when I meet them there is an obvious red flag, I haven't completely abandoned my other options.

♥ Amy Darling ♥ said...

Miss Mannah:

I think you are wrong in thinking that all the childcare wanted ads on must be legit. From time to time, I have received a message from stating that they have removed a member for being a scam. So scams can happen on paid websites.

OP, this job does sound legit to me..and I think you are doing the right thing by keeping all of your options open. I have had people hire me for Nanny jobs, then change their tune at the last minute. If families can do it, so can Nannies.

ericsmom said...

I would go for it OP. The way the economy is it may take you another month or two to find a position.

I don't see anything wrong with always looking to see what other positions may be available. It doesn't make you a bad person. You have to look out for yourself. It doesn't mean you are going to leave this family. If you find out your a great match.

Well wishes to you!!

Bethany said...

I always say trust your gut. If it makes you nervous to have not interacted with them or if you feel you should keep looking. There is probably a reason for that.

They could be great people, but it might not end up being a good fit.

June 9th is just a few short days away if you can schedule to meet them as soon as you arrive home. Make that a condition before accepting the job.

Keep looking until you have a contract signed and in your hands.

Bethany said...

Do people still have to pay to post jobs on

Anyway, the last time I was looking for a job on there I saw listings that were scams.

Amber said...

Bethany, there are lots of scams on I can't believe Missmannah thinks scams cannot happen on a paid childcare website. They can and they do. Even on sittercity.

nycmom said...

I think it is unethical.

I would do two things:
1. Insist on a phone call (they can call you, but either way a call from the UK is not that expensive).
2. Insist on negotiating the written Job Description over the next few days.
3. Ask for a reference from them from a former nanny so you can make sure THEY are decent.

I would consider hiring you in your situation, but would insist on the above including you speaking with a former nanny or sitter of ours. It has to be a fit on both sides.

get a moniker said...

repost for anonymous:

Sorry but I think that's horrible what you're doing. By offering you the job, this family is committed to you and they expect the same of you. While I can understand looking out for number one, I highly doubt this family is "keeping their options open" for another nanny. Why don't you just communicate to them that you're hoping for the position but would like to confirm after interviewing?

I don't see how keeping your options open helps you at all though. Aren't you going to run into the same problem with the next family? And then what, you're going to have a string of 3 families all thinking you're committed to the job??

After you meet with them, then I'd say it's ok to keep looking. But for now you are committed to them.

My last family had this problem, a couple uncommitted nannies, and it was truly devastating, time consuming, and emotional to both the parents and the kids. At least communicate to them that you want a trial period.

Not to mention you are going to make your references look bad after saying what a dependable, responsible person you are. All you need to do is be honest with the family.

Susannah said...

Have you accepted this or not?

If you haven't I would let them know you are extremely interested and grateful for the offer, but want to meet them first before accepting. Tell them you will be back in the states in 6 short days and will meet with them then.

Any reasonable family will be understanding.

An offer is not a job. You have not accepted you have not signed a thing yiu are well within your rights to continue looking.

You can even browse ads when hired of course do not apply unless you are sure you need to leave.

Being a nanny is a job.

nynanny said...

Sorry, maybe I'm the only one who feels this way but I personally think it's shady they won't do SKYPE or a phone call with you.

I would tentatively agree to the position, but only commit after a formal IN-person interview.

ericsmom said...

I would be nervous too if they never wanted to talk on the phone or Skype as well. Can you take someone with you? Even if they wait out in front or in the car??
I did that once in my past

MissMannah said...

Amber: I didn't say it was impossible. Just seems unlikely to me, and I've never seen a scam on there (that I'm aware of). Plus with all the extra info OP gave us, I really don't think the parents are scammers. Geez, attitude much?

I agree with the PPs that it is very odd that they will not Skype. I can understand not wanting to waste money on a phone call, but Skype is free. I also agree that it is very unethical to tell a family that you accept a job offer if you are not 100% positive you want to work for them.

Amber said...

You don't know how many "jobs" I have been offered, only to have the family decline the offer afterward and before I started working for them. Either they found a better Nanny than me, they found a relative who would babysit for them, decided to put child in daycare, etc.

I think the OP should keep her options open because there is that possibility that this family may change their minds at the last minute and she will be stuck.

MissMannah said...

Amber, I've had the same thing happen to me many times. But just because other people do it doesn't mean we need to stoop to their level. I said it would be unethical for her to accept the job, and if she's ok with doing something unethical, then by all means go for it.

Phoenix said...

I think you should first skype with them and offer a 90 day trial period

OP Here said...

Just to clarify, this is just a summer position. So, for those of you suggesting trial periods, that's not really an option on either side as once school is out, all the good nannies as well as all the good jobs are generally gone.

At this point I have accepted the position, and have been keeping my eyes open for other possibilities, but really, there aren't many new postings that would fit. So if I do indeed end up with someone other than this family, it would be a family I was in discussions with before receiving this job offer.

ericsmom said...

Amber you got a point. It is unwise to put all your eggs in one basket. Really its not about ethics it is about survial.
Especially if you are supporting yourself.
What if you get your hopes and the job falls through? Then what?

♥ Amy Darling ♥ said...

I agree with you on this one Amber.

This has happened to me several times and it's never pretty. So from now on, I NEVER assume I have a job until I actually sign the paperwork.
Why families do this, I will never know, but I have had families back out. One woman promised me a job, then 15 minutes later I saw a childcare ad on CL that she posted seeking a nanny!!

Remember, the childcare profession is just like any other profession (except for the world's oldest profession *cough*) and if you don't look out for yourself and advocate for yourself, then who do you think will?????

ericsmom said...

Well said Amy

OP Here said...

I don't know whether anyone will come down this far to find this now, but I just wanted to give an update.

By the time I got back to the States, almost all the other families I was talking to had fallen through, and the few I was still in contact with didn't seem more appealing than the original family for numerous reasons.

So, I've now met the family and in fact, had my first day today. They seem really great, very laid back, and in fact the type of family I probably would have been drawn to even without the unusual circumstances.

Thanks for all your advice, this has all taught me to be really delicate in how I approach my allegiance to families.