10 Reasons Nannies Should Keep Their Work Life Confidential
As a private, in-home childcare provider, you’re privy to plenty of information that your employers would almost certainly prefer that you keep to yourself. Experienced professionals in the childcare industry understand that practicing discretion is essential for preserving a working reputation and generating great references, but it’s easy for those who are relatively new to the industry to fall into the trap of accidentally revealing too much information. For new nannies that are just learning the ropes of the business side of childcare, here are ten of the reasons why your work life needs to stay under wraps.
- For the Protection of Charges – When you share the names and ages of the children under your care or other sensitive information about the family you work for that could identify them, you’re effectively putting them at risk. There’s no excuse for openly sharing information that makes your employers and their children identifiable to those who could target them for nefarious reasons, even if you don’t expect the information to be used that way.
- Separating Work and Personal Lives – Part of creating a healthy work/life balance is to make sure that you keep your professional life as far from your private one as possible. When you openly discuss your work on your personal time, you’re exposing the family you work for to unfair scrutiny and sacrificing your precious few hours of private time in the interest of ranting about work.
- Respecting the Family’s Privacy – Bringing a private childcare provider into the home doesn’t automatically strip your employers of their right to a reasonable expectation of privacy. The foundation of a nanny-employer relationship is trust, which you’ll be actively undermining if you’re talking about the dynamics of your work family to others.
- Adhering to a High-Profile Family’s Non-Disclosure Agreement – Many nannies spend their entire careers working to land a post with a high-profile, glamorous family. If you’re one of the lucky few that manage this feat, you’ll almost certainly be expected to sign a non-disclosure agreement. When these types of contracts are on the table, discussing your employers’ private life becomes a breach of contract, in addition to being utterly unethical.
- Blogging Nannies – The blogosphere is filled with popular bloggers who work as full-time, professional nannies. Experienced nanny-bloggers know the importance of obscuring the identities of the family they work for completely, but the task can be a challenging one for those just starting out. If you’re determined to blog about your experiences, it’s absolutely imperative that you understand the importance of never revealing any identifying information, both for the sake of your job and your employers’ safety.
- High Level of Access to Private Information – Caring for someone’s children and spending the majority of your day inside someone’s home grants you a higher level of access to their private lives than almost anyone outside of their family. Ethically, it’s important to keep in mind just how much you’re privy to by virtue of your job, and to understand how unforgivable it is to discuss the things you see.
- Protecting References and Reputation – Career nannies can spend years working in less than ideal posts for no other reason other than the fact that they understand the power of an unassailable reputation and a list of glowing references. A momentary slip that leaves your employers’ private information exposed can undo all of that work in an instant, damaging your reputation significantly.
- Earning and Maintaining Employer Trust – If your employers don’t trust you, they’ll never be able to comfortably leave the safety and wellbeing of their children in your hands. The slightest betrayal of the trust you’ve built up can spell the end of a post, especially if there are negative consequences as a result of your loose lips.
- Maintaining Job Security – Losing a nanny post can be fairly easy, even if there are written work agreements in place. If you don’t want to find yourself beating the streets for a new position, it’s wise to keep the things you see and hear to yourself.
- Family Disputes – Every couple has the occasional disagreement, and every family weathers their share of disputes from time to time. Just because the ones you see your employers dealing with make for particularly good gossip does not mean that you have the right to discuss it online or over drinks with your pals on a night off.
If you’ve accidentally shared information that you believe could put your charges or employers at risk, it’s important that you come clean about your actions. Confessing may cost you a position, but it can also teach you a valuable lesson, while still allowing your employers to do the appropriate damage control. Keeping a major breach of confidentiality to yourself for fear of dismissal can have disastrous consequences that affect their lives and ruin your professional reputation forever. Remember that your first order of business is ensuring the safety of your charges, hence maintaining the family’s confidentiality is essential.