A few years ago I went through a major burn-out. It was bad. I was so over doing nails I was packing up my polish. Problem was, I didn't know what else I wanted to do. There just wasn't another occupation on the planet that appealed to me.
I did everything that everybody tells you to do to get out of the funk. I went to tradeshows, I took classes, I raised prices, I tried competing. I even considered changing product lines. In fact, I even considered changing salons — which is a pretty bold move when you own the place!
What I found out during those two years was that it really isn't about the money for me. Sure, it's easier to go to a job you hate when you're getting paid well for it, but getting paid well does not, in and of itself, make you love your job.
I got really lazy and lost interest in my business. When my clientele dwindled to half its former glory, I was relieved.
Seriously. I was BURNT.
But probably because no matter how I hard I thought about it, I couldn't think of any other career path that I was interested in taking. No matter how done I was with doing nails, I couldn't think of anything I wanted to do more than nails! Eventually the burn-out dissipated and I fell in love with nails again.
This last year I've actually been experiencing the exact opposite of burn-out. I have been loving my job! And not just the way most of us ordinarily love our jobs, but really loving it. The kind of loving your job that is no good for balancing with a live-in boyfriend who doesn't understand why you would possibly rather be at work than at home. And not because you don't want to be at home with him and the dogs, but because — gosh darn it! — doing nails is just SO FREAKIN’ GREAT!
Here lately, though, I have noticed something sinister creeping in again. When I first noticed it, it worried me. I don't want to go through that kind of dissatisfaction with my career again. Especially not when I've been having so much fun with it lately! Then it dawned on me — it's not me this time.
I work with other people now. And lately I have noticed that those other people don't love their jobs as much as I do. Or even as much as they did a couple of years ago when I came to work with them. There's some burn-out going on around me. And I can't do anything about it.
I'm not the salon owner. I'm not in a position to call a staff meeting and start a brainstorming session. I'm not in the position to give pep talks or initiate morale-boosting exercises. I can't perk the place up with a fresh coat of paint or by bringing in new blood to fill empty stations. So I've been watching as my coworkers wander around aimlessly in their downtime, or take every opportunity to leave the salon when they have a few minutes between clients.
And I'm noticing something I've never been through before: how devastating it can be to my own morale when my coworkers have lost their passion.
But just as I'm hearing a lot of "that's not my job" — or even "that's not your job" — this leaves me shrugging my shoulders. Not much I can do ... I guess it's not my job. But what do you do when you work in a salon where there is no boss? Boss or no, there needs to be a leader.
P.S. For the record, not ALL my coworkers have "lost their passion" and most of my blogs are written anecdotally and not meant to reflect too specifically on anything or anyone in particular. I happen to think my current salon owner kicks ass, and I'm very sorry to have unintentionally insulted her. My statement was meant as a generalization about some of the unique challenges faced by booth rental salons and was intended as a segue into a very long rant.
And I hope not to put my name on an establishment license application for a very long time yet to come