We are so excited to welcome fashionista and blogger behind Issa Poppins, Jennissa Barker, to our community. Today she is giving us a glimpse into her crazy (and crazy rewarding) life as a nanny and sharing her style that is practically perfect in every way! We know you’ll fall in love with her too.
-The Women of The Well
Hey y’all! I’m Jennissa and I’m the gal behind Issa Poppins. That’s Vanessa with a J and Issa is pronounced with a long “e” sound. Confusing? Nah! I’m simply the most delightfully complicated spoon full of sugar you will ever meet. Don’t ask me where I live at the moment, because it’s never the same place for long. What I can tell you is that I am a Missouri bred woman, who received my highest form of education from the University of Arkansas, and have been blessed, beyond my deserving, with the most fascinating nanny position for the last 5 years of my never once predictable life.
The name Issa Poppins is really quite simple. Poppins stems from, you guessed it: Mary Poppins. The Issa factor actually also plays on that same wavelength in the sense that it’s been my official given name for all those under the age of 5 for, say, the last five years. Scratch that, I think people much older than 5 are now calling me Issa. I kind of like it, in the whole “I want to be called Issa instead of grandma,” sort of way.
When I was approaching graduation from college, I had scaries settling in that were worse than your worst case of Sunday scaries ever. What was my next step and how was I suppose to make my imprint? I was not ready for the real world, much less a typical 9-5 office job. It wasn’t until 2 weeks after walking across the stage that I packed my suitcase and flew to NYC to meet with nanny agencies in person. My initial thought was, “Why not try something fun and exciting for 1 or 2 years? What do I have to lose?”
During my time as a nanny, we have resided predominately in Florida and New York. Although we spend much of our time bouncing back and forth between two states, we have spent much of our time living out of our suitcases elsewhere. I have collected over 40 stamps in my passport with trips to Australia, Italy, and Bermuda, to name a few. I once flew in a helicopter over a volcano with a 3 year old and walked through a forest with a 1 year old on my hip with grizzly bears 50 yards away. I’ve sat next to Richard Branson at lunch on his private island and built a castle of Legos with a real life princess in the South of France. My job cannot be real life, or can it?
Well, here I am almost 5.5 years later, with no intentions of ever really “leaving” my nanny job for good. These children, and their parents, are now my family. This opportunity has afforded me with the ability to purchase a home in Dallas in order to nest and be closer to family. Just 6 months ago, I went to a rotational schedule designed to give me the social freedom that I thought I might be lacking. After growing bored on my time off, I discovered that I needed a creative outlet. This is how Issa Poppins was formed. I feel as though Issa Poppins is a way for people to learn from or live vicariously through my experiences. If you’re feeling adventurous, you too can set out on the search for a non-conventional nanny position. I’ve listed the steps for you to follow below!
1. Pick a location: There are many places in this world that we can choose to live in, you are not stuck! Where do you want to go, what do you want to see and experience?
2. Get your references in order: Just like any “normal” job, you will need some experience. You’ll need to compile a list of people who you have worked for in the past. List those whom you have worked for the longest, and/or would be most willing to pick up the phone with another mother is calling to verify your background.
3. How will you sell yourself: Think about what you have to offer to a family. Are you CPR certified? Are you happy, energetic, adventurous, caring and compassionate? What are your values, and how will you instill them in a child and in positive way? These are all questions you will need to be prepared to answer for yourself as well as your potential employers.
4. Make your resume stand out: Look into companies that can help you piece together an eye catching resume. The great thing about a nanny resume is that it doesn’t have to be too uniform. Pick a fun template that shows your personality. I’d suggest using Loft Resumes or searching for services on Etsy.
5. Find an agency: Jobs like mine are few and far between, and they most certainly will not pop up on sites like Care.com. After you decide what city you’d like to live in, search for reputable nanny agencies within the metroplex. If you want to look into New York of Florida, I’d highly recommend working with The Lindquist Group.
6. Negotiate Wisely: Once you meet a family and are in the negotiating phase of being hired, know your worth! Candidates with a higher education and willingness to commit to something 2-5 years should be compensated accordingly.
7. Take the plunge: If you’ve been itching for a change, or if you’ve been wanting to try something new, do it! You’re only young once, and you never know what opportunities could stem from your non-conventional career path.