He is our go-to on life advice, career counsel and beauty smarts. Whenever we have a salon-specific questions, we always wonder…What Would Carlos Do? (WWCD?) Carlos Valenzuela, author, educator, podcaster, and inspirational leader in the industry, was a stylist for 45 years. Today, we ask him to reflect on the question of workplace romances.
MODERN SALON: Carlos, what are your thoughts on love in the salon? WWCD?
CARLOS VALENZUELA: Cupid does not discriminate. If he sticks you, ZAP, you are in love. Men, women, young, old, married, and single are all fair game for Cupid’s arrows. I am proud of the salon industry's high tolerance for lifestyles, preferences and beliefs. Nobody cares probably because in every salon, between workers and clients, we have a little bit of everything.
According to Bamboo, a Human Resources company, twenty-seven percent of workers say they are ok with workplace romancing. The real number is probably much higher because twenty-two percent of married couples met at work. Just imagine all those that hooked up and didn’t walk down the aisle. There's probably a whole lot more open to office romance than will admit it.
Do I have an issue with workplace romances? Nope, not in principle—I think most of my coworkers would feel the same way. We might even be happy as long as it stays a professional romance. What is a professional romance? One where you don’t constantly act love-sick in the workplace and you engage and relate to all, not just your love interest. I have worked with married couples who manage their relationship and feelings so professionally. They save it for home. But honestly, if I need to circle around showings of affection to mix my tints and sweep hair—it’s going to bother me. It won’t be long before one of us posts to our bulletin board, “Get a room.”
My advice? Cupid notwithstanding, avoid workplace romances. Is it just me, or don’t you also need a break during work hours? Workplace breakups can be nasty situations, have you been through one of those? I endured one salon breakup that included attorneys and threats of sexual harassment. I don’t know about you, but this is me: If I find someone in the workplace attractive, coworker or client, I acknowledge and register it—hot. But, don’t feed it, I stay away from detailed fantasies of where my feelings could go. I make an effort to put a stop to romantic thoughts. After all, there are plenty of pretty people elsewhere, and this one, I choose for a friend. Better a hot friend than a vengeful ex. Don’t you agree?
~The salon industry is at the forefront of acceptance of lifestyle, preferences and beliefs.
~Twenty-seven percent of workers have no issues with workplace romances.
~Twenty-two percent of married people met in the workplace
~It’s ok to fall in love in the workplace as long as it remains professional. Be cool about it.
~Best to avoid workplace romance, breakups at work can get nasty.
Carlos Valenzuela is a hairdresser/educator, ex-salon & school owner, author and corporate spokesperson with forty-five years of beauty experience. His focus today is raising wellness awareness and assisting salon professionals in developing a fulfilling career via his podcast “Tiny Steps for Salon Pros” www.anchor.fm/carlos-valenzuela and at industry events, seminars and in-salon workshops.
Hear Carlos' thoughts on firing a client.
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