Three ways to guarantee you keep your Au Pair job

Young woman (photo courtesy of dreamstime)

During my time as an au pair in Germany, I had an unnerving fear of losing my job. Seriously. I imagined myself homeless on the streets of Stuttgart, wondering where to go next. It isn’t something I obsessed over daily, but randomly throughout my stay with my host family, fear of losing my job – and therefore my temporary home – would come to mind.

It was probaby an unfounded fear founded more in paranoia than in reality, but I know that I was not the only au pair I knew who was afraid of losing her job. Because when you live where you work, which au pairs do, your job is not just your source of income, but your room and board as well.

With that in mind, I have three tips for au pairs who want to keep their jobs. From my experience with au pairs and host families, if you follow these three rules, you are very likely to keep your job and have a great time as an au pair.

  1. Work hard – A good work ethic and willingness to go the extra mile is priceless and will win you respect with your host family and help cement your position with them. If you put effort into your job, even if you aren’t perfect, your host family will most definitely want you to stay.
  2. Be reliable – Host families need au pairs whom they can depend on. Be ready for work at the scheduled time, get done what is needed, and be sure to be honest about your expectations and what you can do.
  3. Don’t hit on your host dad – This one is obvious, but I thought it worth mentioning (because according to a 2009 poll in Au Pair Mom, over 40% of those who answered have heard of this actually happening). Even though most au pairs wouldn’t think twice about their host dad in that way, some out there do, and I can’t think of a quicker way to lose your au pair job.

What about you? I would love to hear from au pairs and host families on this one. What do you think helps make an au pair someone a host family would never, ever want to lose? Please let us know in the comments field below.

Professional Au Pairs

baby bottle (photo courtesy of dreamstime)

If you are have experience taking care of children with special needs, you may qualify to work as a professional au pair and earn more money. A new California-based au pair agency, ProAuPair, has added a program matching host families with special-needs children with au pairs who have the skills and experience needed to take care of their children.

ProAuPair also matches professionally trained au pairs (from Germany and other European countries) with families who do not have special needs children. Au pairs with this agency tend to have experience in pediatrice nursing, education, etc. The agency is also now on the list of U.S. State Department approved au pair agencies, so you can be sure that they are legitimate.

If you have professional training or experience as a nurse, caregiver, or educator, you may be able to work as a “professional” au pair. You can find out more on the ProAuPair website. The agency will also soon be reviewed by Edina Stone (yes, the Edina we just interviewed!) soon, so more information on the agency will be shared once it is available.

To be honest, I would say that a professional au pair would actually be a nanny, but I could be missing something here. What do you think?