Sleepin’ on the Job

Many years ago, in another life, before I started doing nails, I used to be a client. For a few years I worked at a small mail order company that sold ancient coins and artifacts — yes, very cool — but also very busy through the holidays. What do you get the person who already has everything? You get them something very old and unusual. So by the time Thanksgiving came around every year, the small company that had a total of 6 1/2 employees was up to its eyeballs in orders and the 6 1/2 employees were working 16-hour days.

Well ... two employees were working 16-hour days, and one of them was me. And anyone who knows me well can attest to the fact that Maggie does not do well on a mere eight hours of sleep a night. Not even when I was 19.

Fortunately I had an awesome nail tech. A wonderful woman who not only did killer work, but was willing to stay late to do my nails when I got off work, often after 9 p.m.

I cannot believe she never complained about my falling asleep at her desk.

She had one of those desks with the two-level tops, with the armrest sitting up about four to six inches higher than her work area. I would lay my forehead down on the cushioned armrest and plop my arms over the desk and she would quietly do my nails without argument or complaint and gently wake me up to let me know I could give her money and go home.

After nearly 20 years in the business myself, I wish I could find her now so that I could give her some sort of award — and retroactive tips for putting up with me.

One of the first things I ever learned was that as much as I appreciate having my clients finally relax their hands while I'm working, sleeping at my desk is worse than wrestling their hands.

People either slump forward or lean back when they nod off. If they lean back, it's over. I simply cannot reach their hands anymore. If they slump forward — which is most common — suddenly their arms are eight feet long and boneless. Their hands fall about two feet over my side of the desk and I have to skootch my chair backward beyond my ability to reach my products on the table. Then they start twitching. Some people just plain start to spaz out as though they were having a seizure — this makes it extremely difficult to hang on to their hands, let alone apply product in any coherent fashion. And trying to do gels on a sleeping client should have its own YouTube channel!

But I so gratefully remember Leanne letting me sleep blissfully through my nail appointments, and anyone who's so tired at her nail appointment that she can't even stay awake to listen to my stories must really need the nap ... so I try to work around it.

I just warn them before they leave that I'm putting the pictures on the Internet.

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