Self-Discovery: Knowing Your "Fit" in the Spa Industry

I haven't had my license for very long, and I've already left 3 different salons/spas.

Why did I just "give up" these jobs when I know so many others are struggling to look for just one?

Honestly, I felt extremely uneasy-- to put it basically, I felt like I didn't belong there. The little voice inside, coupled with a literal gut-wrench experience whenever I prepared to go to work propelled me to ultimately leave.

I could get into how I felt extremely foreign in one, or how one salon's employees had nothing nice to say about anyone who crossed their paths, but that's just not productive.

That was it: I felt that I was not being productive at all. Despite having my license for under a year, I know working under someone or beside (negative) others didn't feel right for me. 

So, I left. 

I decided I wanted to live the life I wanted right away, despite the usual financial troubles.

During the process, I discovered an important aspect about myself: I am a solo entrepreneur. 

I wanted to dance to the beat of my own drum.

Now I'm in the process of building my own mobile beauty business, despite only having my license for less than a year. Thankfully, my friends and family are supporting me through this change and tough times.

The Thought Process: Stop and Assess

If you have ever felt a twinge of a negativity while working, stop and assess:

  • Always ask, "Why do I feel this way?"
  • Is this an often recurring emotion/thought/attitude?
  • How have I felt working at this place for (x amount of time)?
  • Does this place match my morals and values about my own skin care practice?
  • How do others treat me here for the majority of the time?

If any--or even all -- indicate any negativity, it may be time to move on.

HOWEVER, before you turn in your two-weeks, think about this:

  • If you feel comfortable and happy in your line of work, by all means, stay.
  • If you have a goal to reach in mind and have the patience to tolerate a few negligible negativities, stay.
  • If working under someone for awhile is part of your own personal training to ultimately run your own place, STAY.
  • If you just plain do not feel like you're ready to make the big leap at all, STAY.

In the end, I say, "To each, their own."

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Comment by Mila C on November 6, 2012 at 12:21am

Hey Cat, my name's Mila and I just recently got employed as a Spa Therapist [I went in for an interview 2 weeks ago but I don't actually start working until the 19th of this month, since that's when the spa officially opens. Right now we're doing some online training (for Dermalogica) and on the 14th through 16th we're having some hands on corporate training.] By all means, I'm only naturally excited seeing this has been practically my first spa job since I graduated back in October/11 after months of unemployment and applying for positions to absolutely no avail.

However, I couldn't help but contemplate the one thing you mentioned, something that I think of constantly because unfortunately I've been through it. The dreaded negativity involved in most spas. Don't get me wrong, I do love spa settings. I believe in what spas are "supposed" to be about. I love the protocol, I love absolutely everything about spa philosophy except maybe how much we're overworked and maybe my timing isn't the best. I speak from experience although I haven't technically "worked" (for pay), I did do internship while I was still in school (at the Aveda Institute). I felt that I was cheated out of my experience due to the passive-aggressive bullying of one peer in particular (and one instructor who was completely unethical and immature and "took her side" just because she would suck up to him) who practically ran the classroom. She was one of those people who demanded attention and sought it, plus being uber problematic and confrontational. I felt completely drained by the end of the day (11 hours, 3 times a week every other day) of having to deal with the same bullshit, the stupid looks, and that awful feeling of walking into the dispense room to get something and having Queen B and one of her "followers" quiet down as if I were intruding, and then snickering like little girls. I felt so secluded and out of place. It seems that most people there, especially the cosmetology students and even spa students (AND apparently some immature instructors, they know who they were) were extremely hypocritical and catty-- almost psychic vampire like. Gossip was their first language. It's just not like me at all. I'm glad I even made it to graduation. As crazy as it sounds, it felt abusive, because it really took and emotional toll on me, I didn't really have peer support not even from my instructors (we went through 5 during the entire program) one of them was really awesome but she left early since she had to move. I had never been as depressed as I was there, where I literally had to force it all down and pretend to be okay for the clients. Truly, I wish it would've been a more productive experience.

Having mentioned all that, I can't help but feel almost a little traumatized given my bad experience at school, I don't know if this happened to anyone else, but it's made me a little apprehensive of having to enter the spa environment again, just because I'm not sure if I can tolerate the bs all over. I'm going to give it my best shot and do my job as efficient as I possibly can; I'm getting acquainted with product knowledge before I go in for the corporate training. I guess maybe the only good thing that came from my experience was that I learned how to block and disassociate from negativity much more effectively, given that there was literally no other choice. Ultimately I congratulate you for being true to who you are and your intentions and going with your desires, regardless of any other factor. It takes more than courage, I believe it takes ambition and fortitude. You've got the right mindset to succeed, and sometimes a crazy idea ends up going a long, long way. Don't give up; this is merely the beginning.

Kudos <3 you've got my support.  ~ Mila.

Comment by Lauren Snow, ASCP on September 14, 2012 at 2:24pm

This was very energizing for me to read. Kudos on your post. It's nice to feel empowered every once in a while! ;)

Comment by Diane Magos on September 14, 2012 at 10:50am

That is how I feel too! I want things my way. I am not being selfish or its not that I do not working as a team player. I just want to have the freedom to enjoy what I want and expect in my life and business. If I want to grow, I do not want someone clipping my wings.  I know that it will be hard work but I am a hard worker and I want to put all my hard work into my business and my future for me. I am going to open up as soon as I get my license. I plan to start very small and take it one day, one treatment and one client at a time. I will continue to learn and study and grow. It will not happen over night, but it will happen, and I know I will be happier not wasting my talents for someone else. Mother told me, once I learned to crawl, then I learned to walk, then I learned to run. Use those same principles in life and you will be a success. In school I am learning to crawl, when I get licensed I will learn to walk, and then in time I will be running successfully my own business doing what I love to do, esthetics! Good Luck to you and always follow your heart!

Comment by Shelley Hancock on September 14, 2012 at 7:07am

I don't know you Cat.....but I'm very proud of you!! Good for you for listening to your intuition and not wasting time. Our intuition often speaks loudly but we often don't listen. I had that enterpreneur side from the beginning (25 years ago) and went out on my own right away. It's been a fun and very successful glad I made that leap of faith years ago. Kudos to you!!

Comment by Nicole Holcomb on September 13, 2012 at 9:18pm

I'm starting a mobile Service as well, what services and skin care line are you offering?

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