The statistics regarding how long it takes for a laid-off, white-collar, executive worker to find new work are sobering and sometimes very discouraging. More and more American executives are finding it impossible to obtain new employment at their former level of expertise and salary levels; so much so that even their unemployment benefits run out before they have been able to find work. Since they are so highly qualified, they often are prevented from participating in government-sponsored job retraining programs, while at the same time it is their very high level of qualifications that make employers wary of hiring them, fearing they will quit as soon as they find another position.
In order to break out of this vicious circle, some displaced executives have gotten very creative in how they meet this employment challenge. Some have invested their remaining savings in launching their own businesses. Some have cut expenses to the bone by dispensing with homes, boats, cars, jewelry, and other “toys.” And some have held out for finding work in their chosen field, but are taking babysitting jobs on the side to supplement their unemployment benefits.
Babysitting jobs can help an executive in many ways. Of course, the money is always a help, but more importantly, an executive spending time looking after someone else's children can alleviate the loneliness and isolation often felt by the unemployed and discouraged job seeker. Likewise, the executive can use their connections with their customers to network into new positions and new sources of information and opportunity. Being around children helps many stressed adults from the corporate world relax and shift their perspective, as the children's enthusiasm, curiosity and positivity rubs off on them. This renewed sense of hope and purpose can add that vital extra bit of “zing” when the executive eventually does land an interview in her chosen field.
Babysitting jobs also give an executive time to brainstorm and develop new ideas for businesses they may like to run. Being around children and working parents, and just meeting the challenges of running a freelance service business, may trigger new ideas for products that could be a big hit. Likewise, the executive babysitter could conceivably test market their new ideas or product prototypes with their existing customers. Whether it is a food item, a study aid, a toy, an item of clothing, sports gear, hair accessory, software program, mobile phone application or some other product, getting paid to run one's own focus group is a business opportunity any smart executive would love to have.
When an executive babysitter is in the child's home, she can also see the need for other services that the parent might be willing to pay to have done. Whether it is housekeeping, bulk cooking, home repair or decorating, mending, interior design, ironing, or tutoring the children, a savvy professional will see side opportunities for future work beyond babysitting. Having built up a relationship of trust and mutual respect with the parents will provide the warmest “lead” possible into these side sources of income, any one of which could lead to a very successful ancillary business.