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How to Avoid Stylist Burnout

by Jess Dworniczak | April 30, 2019

Raise your hand if you love being a hairstylist. Go ahead, raise it. You’re not raising it, are you? Well lucky for you, I know you want to. Yea that’s right, I’m like the Stylist Whisperer. 

So, where is this going? Lemme lay it out for ya right quick. Our jobs are the bomb. We already know that. But the universe is a funny ol’ broad, and doesn’t like it when things only come up roses. So along with getting to be happy while we earn that cheddah, we also get… wait for it…

STYLIST BURNOUT.

Now, raise your hand if I suddenly have your undivided attention. Yes, I do, because every last one of us has fallen prey to the beast that is burning the hell out on the salon floor. The price bargaining, the impossible expectations, the never-ending DMs, the blurry lines dividing being clocked in and being clocked out, the unpleasantly surprising lack of flexibility when it comes to desired results.

My friend, we’ve all been there. We’re there too freakin’ often. Maybe we’re even there right now. But your girl didn’t come here to put the whomps all over your day, oh no. I come bearing warm hugs of hope and some good ol’ truth.

Alright you guys, let’s do this…

So, Suzy Shop-Around is in your chair, praising your work on the 'gram. She could only see you. You are so ready to woo her with your in-depth consultation that could only be scripted by the heavens above. You’re on your game. She’s nodding, wide-eyed. You’re about to close the deal when it’s time to quote the service cost.  Ah, remember back to a minute ago when you were a hair god and life was great? Now we’re over here in “That’s more than I wanna spend” Land and hating our lives.

We’ve all heard it. “I’ve seen it for cheaper.” “I can only spend X amount but I need it to be icy by the end of this visit." Well, lucky for you I like to keep things short and sweet (okay that’s actually a hilarious lie, I worship the fine art of elaborately drawn out storytelling, but anyway…)

THE PRICE IS WHAT IT IS.

You serve up Suzy with a smile, explain her options for the price she is looking for, and tell her to think it over and give you a call back when she’s made a decision.

One of three GLORIOUS things will happen:

1: She never calls you again, and instead of viewing this as a sale you lost you will look at it as the buyer’s remorse complaints you lost.

2: She thinks it over, and decides the value received is worth the price paid.

3: She thinks to herself “no way!” as she books with someone cheaper, and where do you think she’s going for a correction? That’s right, you smart lil’ cookie, it’s you.

Bonus: This applies to those pesky unrealistic expectation scenarios, as well!  You educate your client on the “why” and the “how” and if they are a good fit for you, they will book. And if they don’t book, well, look how much taller you’re standing for having integrity and sticking by it. (You’re lookin’ like Shaq over there!) 

Now that we conquered that mountain, let’s play out another familiar scenario: Your book needs filling. Your highlight from last week doesn’t like the tone. You haven’t posted on Instagram in a week, and your followers are starting to fall off. Your youngest has their big school play tonight, and you haven’t even finished making the costume. 

And Date Night? Ha! You’re happy if you guys get to high-five each other as you pass in the hallway.

It’s too much. Notice how that paragraph didn’t even mention saving any energy for you? Yet this is how often run our lives. It’s time to slap that whole paragraph in the face, and write a new one.

You guys, so much of this stuff is within our control. We have become so accustomed to “having” to do so many things, that we forgot that we are the ones who decide whether or not we even want to do them in the first place!

Social Media is a wonderful tool, but it is just that… a tool. Have you ever found yourself getting consumed with your hammer, and all the possibilities that have now opened up to you with the ability to hammer things? No, you haven’t. You hammer stuff, and hang it back up on the wall. You don’t walk around the neighborhood peeking in windows seeing what your neighbors are hammering. You don’t hang out at Home Depot waiting to see what everyone else is saying about the art of hammering. So why are we giving this tool the power to do anything more than serve its purpose, and get hung back up?

Moving on. You do beautiful work (it’s true, I’ve seen it!). But alas, you are human, and can’t possibly please everyone. This one is truly much easier than we make it. Go the extra mile to make your guest happy as long as the respect is mutual. After that, you truly know you did all you could. Either they’re satisfied, or they’re not.  Either way, that’s the end of the situation for you.

Alright, now we have the knot in your stomach when you open your phone and see 50 new DMs from clients, potential clients, and that woman selling wigs. Again, so much easier than we make it. Talk when you wanna talk. Redirect when you wanna redirect. Personally, I couldn’t handle the upkeep. I was starting to dread going on social media because it was now a chore rather than something I enjoyed. But guess what, I work at a salon with two lovely ladies who get paid to help these people schedule their appointments, and set up consultations. Why was I taking this on in the first place? So much anxiety for absolutely nothing.  Like everything else in life, when it stresses you the hell out, it’s time for a new plan.

I’m saving the most important one for last.  I need you to look deep into my metaphorical eyes as I say this, and listen very carefully…

NOTHING IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOUR HOME LIFE. You are a PERSON. You have people who love you. Yet it is these same people that we offer the scraps of our souls to after we’re drained by the laundry list of our day-to-day. Make time for these people. Focused, whole-hearted time. These people are the reason you work in the first place. 

So, we’ve covered the biggies. The crap that makes us crazy day in and day out. Hopefully we’ve shed some light on our unnecessary urge to over-complicate our stressors.

But if you were only able to leave here with one thing, let it be this: No matter how much this job may light up your soul, we’ve found ourselves here as our chosen means of funding the life we want to live. And, no matter how fortunate we may be to have something so ridiculously fulfilling to pay our bills, at the end of the day… it’s just business.

Jess Dworniczak
Jess Dworniczak
Jess Dworniczak is a stylist based in Philadelphia. She uses her @jessdeehair Instagram platform to showcase her balayage and color skills and also serve up "tell it like it is" advice for beauty professionals. MODERN SALON editors follow Dworniczak for more than her color skills and advice, we also love her writing skills and reached out about sharing her experiences.

 

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