Read as Lora Brawley gets JobShadowed about her career as a Nanny.  You can find her at www.nannybizreviews.com and on her Twitter page in the sidebar of this interview.  

 What do you do for a living?

I work as a nanny, a person who cares for children in the children’s home.

 How would you describe what you do?

A little bit stay-at-home mom, a little bit older sister or aunt, and a lot childcare professional.

What does your work entail?

I take care of everything related to the kids.  So there’s the hands-on childcare like feeding and changing diapers. Then there’s the related-household stuff like the kids’ laundry and keeping the playroom clean.  The most important part of the job is creating an environment that gives children a strong sense of safety, love and connection, engages them in lots of different activities that are fun and educational, and helps them develop physically, emotionally, socially and intellectually.

What’s a typical work week like?

I usually work about 45 hours a week.  Most full-time nannies work between 40 and 60 hours a week but every job is different.  Nannies usually start earlier and end later than regular day jobs because you have to allow for the parents’ commute time to and from work.  Nannies might also work some evenings and weekends.

How did you get started?

I fell into my first nanny job.  I was looking for a “real” job and needed to make some money to tide me over so I started working as a temp nanny.  I loved it and ended up taking a full-time position.  I’ve been in the industry ever since.

What do you like about what you do?

I love the one-on-one relationship I have with the kids.  In every other kind of childcare job, you’re working with a group of children.  But being a nanny means you get to work with one family and develop a close relationship with the kids that often lasts after you leave.  I also love the freedom to plan my own days and enjoy a workday filled with fun stuff like going to the zoo, exploring a museum or spending the day at the pool.

What do you dislike?

The longer than usual hours can be hard on your personal life.  And because it’s such an informal setting, work boundaries are hard to maintain.  There are no set rules in the nanny world, every family and every job is different. This means you have to really work on creating and keeping a good nanny / family relationship.

How do you make money/or how are you compensated?

Being a nanny is a regular job so I get a paycheck at the end of your pay period.

How much money do Nanny’s make?

This varies greatly by location, the education, experience and skill set of the nanny.  Nannies that work in mid to large cities generally earn between $50,000 and $85,000 a year.  Some executive nannies who are willing to be available whenever a family needs them and have specialized skills can earn over $120,000.

How much money did/do you make starting out as a Nanny?

Beginning nannies start between $25,000 and $35,000 a year.  But a nanny career is one of those fields where you don’t have to start at the bottom.  If you have solid childcare experience, some college or a degree, a warm, outgoing personality and great interviewing skills you can land a job at a mid-level salary.

What education, schooling, or skills are needed to do this?

There are no across the board requirements for working as a nanny.  Every placement agency and family will have different requirements.  A good place to start is CPR / infant first aid certified and basic child development.  Better jobs usually require a college degree or advanced child development training and at least 3 years of nanny experience.

What is most challenging about what you do?

The longer hours are hard so you have to be really proactive in creating a good work / personal life balance.  It’s also hard working day-to-day without other adults so again, you have to be proactive and find other nannies in your area to be work friends with.

 What is most rewarding?

I think most nannies would agree that it’s the close bond you form with the kids you care for.

What advice would you offer someone considering this career?

Wow, that’s a big question!   Working in a private home is very different than working in any other kind of work environment.  So I’d say connect with others in the field and learn the ropes from those that are doing it.  There are several Facebook and LinkedIn groups just for nannies. They’re a great place to ask questions and also to just sit back and learn about the unique challenges and solutions that come with being a nanny.

How much time off do you get/take?

Nannies get two weeks of paid vacation a year.  Many nannies get additional paid vacation when the family goes on vacation.

What is a common misconception people have about what you do?

Many people think being a nanny is just like babysitting.  However it requires a specialized skill set, a professional attitude and a personality and temperament that allows you to work successfully in a private home.

What are your goals/dreams for the future?

I love working in the nanny industry and plan on continuing what I’m doing.  My goal would be to work with others to create a nanny credential.  Stay tuned!

 What else would you like people to know about your job/career?

Most importantly, that’s it’s a real job.  If you’re someone who really loves working with kids, if you have the personality to work in a private home and you want a rewarding career, both emotionally and financially, this is a great professional option.