Barnard Babysitters Bank on Broadway

By Lindsay Garten

With the hustle and bustle of New York City, from Broadway to concerts and museums to art galleries, it’s no wonder that Barnard College students need an easy way to make money. Luckily, the Barnard Babysitting Agency provides students with the opportunity to get jobs around New York City through the Office of Career Development.

With 1650 babysitters and 4178 clients, the Barnard Babysitting Agency is a popular way for students to make money while serving the Greater New York City population. “The babysitting agency is extremely popular among New York parents not just in Manhattan, but Brooklyn, Queens… kind of from all over the place which is really cool. We have a really great reputation,” noted the agency’s manager Elizabeth Durst BC’11.

When asked how she became involved with the agency Durst said that, “like so many Barnard First-Years I attended an orientation during [the New Student Orientation Program] and they mentioned that they were looking for an assistant manager. I had a work-study job and I thought babysitting is something I’ve been involved in since I was 11 practically so why not get on the administrative side and see how it works… so I went through the application process and after awhile I finally got the job and I’ve been working there ever since October of [my first-year].”

Managing an agency with over a thousand babysitters, a team of two assistant managers, receptionists, and balancing a budget is certainly not an easy feat. One might think that there would be difficulties with running the agency, yet Durst noted that “There are very few problems, the agency runs very smoothly. I think the reason that there are so few problems is because people genuinely want to work for us. [Babysitters] take their jobs very seriously and that’s how parents get their results.”

Students can get involved with the agency by attending one of the many orientations that are scheduled throughout the semester, with most of the orientations during the New Student Orientation Program (NSOP). As Durst stated, “throughout the year we schedule [orientations] as interest is generated. A lot of times people will call us or email us or come into the office and say ‘when’s your next orientation, when’s your next orientation’ and we always tell them to write down their availability and send it to us.” A list of upcoming orientations is available on the agency’s website.

At the orientation students are prompted to sign a contract, which outlines the basic rules of the agency. Some of the procedures include: that babysitters must receive cab fare if they are babysitting past 9PM, they must be paid at least 2 hours pay, they must receive at least $7.50 an hour plus .50 cents per child if there are more than 2 children, and they must get money for a meal or be fed a meal if they are there at a meal time. Babysitters are instructed to take their jobs very seriously, and not to cancel a job unless they’re sick or a dire emergency comes up. Once they have signed their contract, and paid their one-time 5-dollar registration fee, babysitters become members of the agency. Babysitters then browse through the various binders (sporadic jobs, regular jobs, and special jobs) in the Office of Career Development on the second floor of Elliott Hall, and can call families to secure jobs.

As Durst noted, overall the agency is a great success, “We’re pretty highly regarded; we have a great reputation. Parents really enjoy the [babysitters] that they get from us. [Babysitters] really enjoy the opportunity that they get at Barnard to work with us.”

Lindsay is a Sophomore at Barnard College and is a Co-Founder and Co-Editor-In-Chief of the Nine Ways of Knowing. She is a member of the Barnard Babysitting Agency.

Photo courtesy of NY Magazine.

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