It has been estimated that the average person today will change jobs 10-12 times, with three to five different career changes, during his or her lifetime. On one hand, this can be seen as a positive statistic: workers today seem to have more opportunities than did their parents and grandparents, who were often stuck in the same careers – even the same jobs – their entire working lives. On the other hand, the uncertainty of our careers today makes the consequences of career isolation that much greater. When I say career isolation, I mean a condition in which a worker lacks basic resources – including experience, information and connections – which help guide him or her toward career success. And with more and more of us experiencing ever more transitional periods between jobs in the course of our working lives, we have come to rely more heavily on all of those resources to minimize the impact of those transitions and ease us more quickly into our new job roles.
Of the resources I just mentioned, though, it seems to me connections are first and foremost. Networking – the process of gaining and maintaining career connections – is vital today because it is the key to gaining everything else you need in your career: expert advice from seasoned colleagues, additional contacts and, most importantly, allies who can help you whatever happens in your career adventure. For nannies, the value of networking is perhaps even greater than it is for most because, for the most part, a nanny spends her day working with children. As such, she has very few opportunities for building essential connections with her peers. Nannies may feel career isolation more acutely than other workers as a result, the consequences being diminished career satisfaction and increased job turnover. This can be a real issue for those of us in love with our caregivers, willing to do anything to keep them happy as employees.
I mention all of this because last week MBF hosted a Nanny Playdate at my house in which all of our nannies had the opportunity to swim, eat, tell stories and jokes, and generally enjoy each other’s company. You would hardly think we were doing serious work to look at us, but I feel strongly that these events serve a very important purpose. Given the few opportunities for networking in our industry, it is essential to create times in which nannies can build relationships with one another, for the sake of their career success and our clients’ satisfaction. Our Nanny Playdates, which have been previously held at fun locations such as Zilker Park, the Austin Zoo, Austin Children’s Museum and Amy’s Ice Cream, offer our nannies the chance to share first-hand experiences and advice, ultimately improving the level of service your nanny provides you while making her more satisfied and confident in her job.
Nanny Playdates are one way that MBF invests in our nannies. As those of you who follow this blog and our company newsletter know, we also regularly offer seminars, training and other career development opportunities as well. We do all of this because I firmly believe that MBF is a company not simply committed to filling nanny positions; we are dedicated to building lasting, productive relationships between our clients and the well-matched caregivers we take pains to select for them. Since your one-in-a-million caregiver does not show up every day, we know you are committed to investing in her and keeping her as satisfied with you as you are with her. We are too.