Over the years, I have said a million times that if someone had sat down and had a long, honest conversation about what a career as a nail tech would entail, I’m not sure I’d be here today.
First and foremost: Paid vacation. In theory, all you have to do is some sound financial planning and the money you need will be available while you take some time off.
In reality, saving the money is the least of the difficulty. It’s the working twice as hard the weeks before and after your vacation that makes it seem easier to just skip taking a holiday altogether.
Second: Unemployment, state disability, and workers’ compensation benefits. You don’t get these when you’re self-employed.
Third: Employer contributions to Social Security and whatnot. When you’re employed and you look at your paycheck stub and see the difference between what you earned and what got withheld for taxes, everyone gets a little queasy. But at least your taxes are paid at the end of the year, and a lot of people get a refund.
Not me. At the end of the year I get to tally up what I still owe the IRS (and the state) for my income taxes, which I get to pay in big lumps throughout the year. You know, so’s to be sure I really feeeeeel it. And the best part? I get to kick in the entire (what is it currently?) 15.6% for my SSI/Medicare stuff. If I had a boss, they’d chip in for half of that. I had no idea how much I was going to feel this.
Fourth: The people...
Not the ones who warm your soul and brighten your day and make it all worthwhile. Because those are plentiful and belong on the list of wonderful surprises about going into this business that keep me here.
But the dark, cloudy, sinister people. The crazy people. The bigots and the narcissists and the control freaks and the emotionally abusive witches that sit in front of you and spew their psychic toxins all over your little sanctuary and make you want to call a witch doctor to cleanse the salon when they leave.
It’s easy enough to dispense with the people who are outwardly rude, abusive, and/or inappropriate — to you, your staff, or your other clients. But the ones who sneak in and slowly fog up your life are another story.
They start out pleasantly enough; they seem sweet and kind. And weeks go by, appointment after appointment, and you get to know them better and better. And slowly — but surely — you start to realize that they aren’t the sweet, docile, innocent wives/mothers/employees/children/victims that they want you to believe they are; unappreciated, abused, neglected by their husbands/children/bosses/parents. But, in fact, their circumstances are the result of a series of (usually terrible) decisions they have been making throughout their lives and refuse to acknowledge or be held accountable for. No. It’s always someone else’s fault.
You start to feel sorry for the other people in their lives. You start to think maybe their husbands are saints, their children are probably just trying to escape their unrealistic expectations and get out alive...
Eventually, you start to see the infinite, inky, blackness of their souls through the cracks in their facades.
Most people have faults and insecurities. We make occasional poor decisions. Sometimes we make a string of poor decisions. But most people have redeeming characteristics that balance the overall experience of knowing them.
But you meet a lot of people in this business. And you have to hold hands with them. And gaze upon their inky blackness.
And those are the days when I wish someone had mentioned this — I’d have become a crane operator instead.