Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Student Considers Nannying Job

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been a nanny for the same family for about three years. I work for them mainly during the summers, as I am still a full-time college student. I am in my senior year and will be graduating this spring, and I have been searching and applying for full-time jobs upon my graduation.

Yesterday, the family I work for emailed me asking if I could travel with them for the month of July. I haven’t accepted the offer yet, and I am conflicted about whether I should go away with them. I’ve traveled with the family internationally before, and I love spending time with the kids, so the amount of time away is not the issue. They also pay me very well, which is great since I need to pay off my student loans. Is it the right move for me to take a month of the summer to nanny, or should I continue my job search? -- Summer Job Confusion, Washington, D.C.

DEAR SUMMER JOB CONFUSION: I say take the job, but let them know that you will have to check your email and sometimes have conference calls during that month away because you are in search of a full-time job. If they agree to your terms, the trip will be smart for you and your budget. The challenge for you will be to use every minute leading up to July to look for work and to be prepared to hit the ground running when you return. Thanks to the internet, you can look for jobs the whole time you are away. You will just have to delay any in-person interviews if they want you during those weeks.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My father and I do not have a good relationship; we rarely speak, and when we do, it’s usually about money. I have huge credit card debt due to student loans and paying for part of my college tuition myself. Recently, my dad offered me an “interest-free loan,” meaning he would pay off a portion of my credit card debt. This would be extremely helpful to me because I wouldn’t have to pay the huge amount of interest anymore. The only thing that I am hesitant about is the fact I will now have another financial tie to my dad, which is something I was trying to stop. What do you think I should do? Accept my dad’s help or decline the offer and continue to pay off my credit card by myself? -- Credit Card Debt, Akron, Ohio

DEAR CREDIT CARD DEBT: Think about your creditors: a credit card company that doesn’t know you but that heaps on hefty interest rates and penalties, and your dad, from whom you are estranged but who will not charge you interest. Yes, you may have to endure his commentary or whatever else is part of your contentious dynamic with him, but you will not have to pay extra fees. Plus, this shows that your dad loves you, even if he doesn’t express it well. Go with your dad, and try to work on your relationship, too.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)