Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.
DEAR AMY: Last year I got a full-time job as a nanny for a wonderful family with two amazing kids. This family is supportive of me. They have been gracious and accommodating, and they have come to treat me as one of their own. They've expressed a desire that I stay with them for two or more years. My boyfriend and I are making serious plans for the future, including marriage, a house, kids, the works. We've moved in together, opened a joint bank account and are attempting to save for the life we want to build, but my job as a nanny restricts my saving options. I am beginning the process of looking for a job. I'm looking forward to beginning a challenging career in the corporate world. But with the economy being as it is, I don't know how long it will take me to find one. Should I tell the family that I am looking for a new job? I don't want to find one that requires me to begin work immediately, leaving them without child care, but I also don't want them to assume that I'm leaving right away.
Up-in-the-Air Au Pair
DEAR AU PAIR:You don't say if you agreed to stay with this family for two years -- only that they asked you to. Whatever your arrangement, it is reasonable for them to expect you to be honest and to keep them in the loop. They see that you are making changes in your domestic life -- surely they will also understand your desire to advance in a career.
There is a risk they could panic and run off to hire another nanny to replace you before you've secured other employment, but this is unlikely -- they appreciate you and should be happy to employ you as long as you are available.
Tell them: "I love this job and plan to stay here as long as possible, but I have started a job search in the corporate world. I don't have any prospects yet, but I wanted to let you know." Assure them that you'll give them as much notice as possible.