As more and more members of the middle class find themselves being thrown out of work and unable to find a new job, on average, for more than 18 months, options for babysitters have never been greater. It might not normally occur to you to ask that professional-looking woman you see sitting at Starbucks if she would be interested in babysitting, but she just might be sitting there, day after day, sending out resumes and getting no response.
Rather than babysitters being solely the domain of teenage girls and “granny” types, hiring an adult from the professional world has lots of advantages. First, they are used to getting paid for doing a specific job, and are used to performance standards and taking direction. Second, they realize that while it is ideal to love one’s job, it’s also OK that there are parts of it that they don’t have to particularly be crazy about in order to do a good job. This type of perspective and maturity is not often found in teenagers, for example, who might be likely to quit if things get too difficult or occasionally unpleasant.
Third, adults who have recently left the workplace are often lonely for the company of other people, and also miss the structure of needing to be at a particular place at a particular time. In other words, they miss having positions of responsibility and authority, that they used to have in their jobs. Babysitting, even though it is in a home environment, means that they are responsible for the “childcare department” of your “company” (family), and as such will enjoy working hard and doing a terrific job. They are also usually comfortable discussing money and business arrangements, and can communicate with you in a business-like manner, including by email, text message, and social media platforms. This is a boon for the busy working parent who doesn’t have time to play “phone tag” with a sitter who spends too much time yakking on the phone.
Fourth, professional adults can be a wealth of information to your children about their careers and their experience in the workplace. They might direct your children to a particular course of study, or continue to act as a kind of mentor when they inevitably return to the working world. These people may be influential in the communities, and have a wealth of connections that even you, the parent, may not have. Who knows, since they’ve been spending so much time job-hunting, they might even know of a great job opening that would suit you better than them!
Babysitting may not have a glamorous title or offer a corner office and a fancy country-club membership. But adult professionals may welcome that informality and change of pace in looking after your children. They may even be so inspired by babysitting your children that they end up launching their own daycare center, or even train to become a nanny! So the next time you see a lonely professional forlornly emailing out resumes at your local library or coffee shop, ask them if they’d be interested in a new direction for their career: by looking after your children.