The tough reality is that as kids grow up, their nanny often ages out of the job. When kids head off to school, many parents no longer need a full-time nanny devoted to hands-on childcare. When this time comes, the nanny must decide if she wants to move onto a different job or if she wants to change the definition of her current position. It’s becoming more common for nannies to shift into more of a family manager position than to leave their post in search of a new nanny job. But how do you make that transition? Here are some tips for getting started.
Evaluate your love for the job. To be a really good family manager, you have to really love the job. But not all nannies do. It takes a different skill set to be an effective family manager than it does to be an effective nanny. Before you decide to make the move, honestly look at where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Do you have the skills and the interest to do well in the job? Or does your heart still lie with being a full-time nanny? This is an area where following your instincts will serve you well.
Detail your transferable skills. Although the nanny and family manager jobs require different skill sets, there will be plenty of transferable skills from your nanny work that you can use in your new position. Make a list of all the skills you use as a nanny that will continue to serve you as a family manager. Your list might include effective communication with parents, household organization or time and task management. Let your list sit for a while and return to it to review and add additional things as you think of them. You’ll probably be surprised as to how qualified you are already for the new role.
Decide on the skills you want to focus on. It’s impossible for any one person to be skilled at all the things that could possibly go into a family manager’s job. Yes, you want to have a core knowledge of the many tasks needed, but you also want to have specialized skills in certain areas. You may want to specialize in garden to table cooking, household organization or event planning. Choose things that you enjoy doing the most, that you have the greatest aptitude for and that are in most demand with the type of families that you want to work for. Having specialized skills is one of the fastest ways to jump ahead of the pack on the family manager job search.
Take on some of the tasks in your current job. The best way to learn how to do a job is to actually do it. Since you’re already working in the right environment as a nanny, a private home, it’s an easy jump into doing some of the tasks. Look at your current work environment and see what your family needs. Do those tasks align with the skills you need to develop as a family manager? If so, volunteer to do them. Even if you’re not getting paid extra for the work, the experience will be invaluable.
Use volunteer work to gain experience. For every skill that you need to develop, there’s a volunteer position in your community that can help you. If you need to learn how to use the Microsoft Office Suite, volunteer for an office position in an organization that uses that software. They’ll often provide you with the training you need to do the job and then you can use your new know how in a family manager position. If you want to learn the art of event planning, volunteer to assist an experienced event planner for a non-profit gala and learn all the tricks of the trade from an expert. Not only will you be helping your local community when you volunteer, but you’ll be helping yourself get the skills and experience you need to be successful in a family manager position.
Take a training course. There are training courses specifically geared towards the family manager/household manager role. These courses will give you the information you need to be successful in your new position. They will provide you with the resources you need to organize a home, manage the family members, deal with vendors and handle other common tasks. These training sessions are also the best place to get your specific questions answered by experts in the field. You’ll also meet others who work in similar positions and those connections can be the beginning of your new professional network.