I am currently 4 classes away from earning my MBA and earned my Bachelors degree a little over 2 years ago. And I have a dilemma.
While working at a temporary position over the holidays, I began to network with some people. One of my new contacts originally approached me looking for a “nanny” but once we got to talking further, we realized that this new contact of mine had a full-time professional job opening in the career that I was looking to begin. It seemed like great karma!!
After our initial contact, I followed up with her and reemphasized how anxious I was to hear more about this opportunity or other opportunities within this new contact’s corporation. About a week after the follow-up, this contact inquired if I was interested in ‘nannying’ and didn’t mention anything about the professional opportunity.
Do I help out and take the nanny position temporarily and hope this contact still considers me for the professional career? How do I establish my self as a career-oriented professional and not just a kid?
I want to be nice and help out with the nannying position, however, I don’t want to be known as just a nanny. How do I bring it up that I want to be considered for this position this contact said would open up in a few months? Any advice!?
Thanks so much! I love the website!! And I would really like to see any answers or advice you have for me on this issue.
P.S. The position I would like to pursue happens to be where this contact works and she mentioned having an ideal position for me opening up this spring. How should I redirect our conversations back to that?
OFFICE-POLITICS REPLY BY FRANKE JAMES
Dear MBA student,
Think of the nanny position as starting you on the first rung of a ladder. You are going to climb higher and get more experience on that ladder. That’s good if you are interested in childhood education, teaching, raising your own kids, etc. But ask yourself if you really want to get to the top rung of that child-rearing-education ladder.
Which ladder do you want to climb?
If the ladder you really want to climb is in the corporate business world — the nanny ladder won’t help. And trying to jump from one ladder to the other could result in an embarrassing or damaging pratfall.
You could prove me wrong, but in my opinion the nanny position is unlikely to lead to a professional opportunity. Don’t work as a nanny (unless you absolutely must to feed yourself.) You are far better off looking for a voluntary/low-paying opportunity in your field. That is experience you can add to your resume — not the nanny work. Read Dreamcrafting for a fuller explanation about the importance of getting your toe in the door in the field you want to be in. It is the best book I’ve read on how to design the life and career you want (despite having naysayers in your life who tell you not to try).
Put your career goals in writing
I suggest you write a short note to the people who offered you the nanny job. Thank them for the offer — and then tell them — in writing — of your career goals and how you are looking for (almost) any opportunity to get your foot in the door at a corporation. It will also help you clarify what you want out of life and how you’re going to get it!
How do you find new job opportunities?
Join Twitter.com to connect with new people and expand your network. You can also use Google to find neat jobs that allow you to do cool stuff while building your resume. Go work for an innovative start-up and be paid peanuts. Open a lemonade stand (kind of joking)… but do something that shows that you’ve got fire in your belly and entrepreneurial ideas galore. Your professors might also be able to connect you to a low-paying but worthwhile starter job. A non-profit might burnish your reputation, allow you to give back to the community, and network you.
In 6 months, circle back to those “nanny” people with a cheery update on your progress — no pressure just an “I-want-to-stay-in-the-loop-with-you” kind of message. It can take years to earn some people’s trust so that they are willing to connect you to an opportunity. Be patient.
Now you may say (as in your P.S.), “Yes but the lady told me about this great job opportunity…”
Pursue your own path
The best way to get her to put your name forward is to show that you are pursuing your own path — and other jobs in line with your career goals. And that you are not waiting for her to hand you any plums. She knows she mentioned that job to you but my advice is to explore other avenues. By doing that you will attract other opportunities — and increase her desire to ‘snag’ you.
You want her to say to her coworkers….
“I met this wonderful MBA grad — and she is such a dynamo. She is doing x, y and z for a non-profit (or startup). Can you believe it? Wow, wouldn’t it be great to have someone on our team who shows such initiative. She’s really smart…”
Good luck! Let me know how it goes.
Thanks for writing to Office-Politics.
Franke James, MFA
Editor & Founder, Office-Politics.com
Inventor, The Office-Politics® Game
Franke James, MFA is the Editor & Founder of Office-Politics.com. She is also the Inventor of The Office-Politics® Game a dilemma-based social game that teaches you how to play, and laugh, at office politics. It’s used by HR departments, and corporate trainers worldwide. The Office-Politics Dilemmas have been inspired by the hundreds of letters submitted to Office-Politics.com.