Monique, 18, made some serious cash as a professional nanny.
“I have never known what I wanted to do when I finished school. It used to stress me out so much because it seemed as if everyone had a plan. I spent hours going through the uni courses hoping one would jump out at me and scream: ‘This is for you!’ But of course, that didn’t happen.
Eventually, I had a chat with a family friend who was really supportive and told me it was OK to not know what kind of career I wanted. She showed me there were so many other ways you could spend your first year out of school, and so together we made a plan.
I picked uni courses that I thought I could potentially be interested in and applied for those. I got accepted into my first preference and I deferred it for a year. Then I signed up to a professional nanny agency and got a full-time job nannying. I loved the freedom of having my own income and I also learnt a lot about budgeting. Turns out it’s hard to save money if you spend your whole pay at Zara every week! Luckily, I learnt that lesson quickly and started saving my money for an epic Europe trip.
As it was a professional job, and not a casual gig, it did mean that occasionally I missed out on hanging out with friends. But I understood that I had made a commitment and had a responsibility to be a good worker for my employers.
I went away in the middle of the year and spent the European summer travelling all over. I had the time of my life checking out all the destinations, trying different foods and learning about other cultures.
It was a real eye-opener for me and made me realise the world is a much bigger place than my little corner of it.
When I came home, I went back to my nannying job and saved more money (and spent some along the way). I had also figured out that I wanted to work in events and marketing – something I discovered while I was travelling. I’m so glad I took a year to do something different, rather than start something I wasn’t sure of. Not only did I have an amazing time, I also learnt a lot about myself and I’m psyched to start my course this year.”