Maggie Rants [and Raves]

I Had a Dream

by Maggie Franklin | July 16, 2010

Nothing nearly as good as Martin Luther King Jr., but significantly more nail-related. 

In my dream I attended a class offered by a major manufacturer — a real manufacturer that exists here in the waking world — which was being taught by an educator who was entirely a fictitious creation of the dream and, as far as I can think of, isn't even based on any real person, so don't get all curious wondering who I'm talking about. It was a dream.

In the dream the Entirely Fictitious Educator was doing some very intense demos for a small group of students. Most of whom represented newly licensed techs, but also included a handful of haggard old crones such as myself.

So, as I'm leaning over, craning my neck to watch her technique she asks me if I actually use the company's products.

I reply that I do not.

She says, "Well that's what you're doing wrong."

Well — in the dream, mind you — her words struck me as pretentious, demeaning, and just plain inappropriate to her position as a representative of a major nail product company. But I held my tongue and decided to just let her have her opinion and not respond. Then, after about a half a second (in dream time) I rethought myself. And I spoke up. And I said, "That was just plain rude."

So, in the dream, my Entirely Fictitious Educator looks up from her demo nail and squints at me and demands that I justify my insolence.

So I told her that telling a veteran nail tech who is successful in the industry that the way she's doing her job is "wrong" is absurd! How can she justify that comment to someone who is well-booked and making a living in the business?

At that point the dream sort of broke up. Mostly because that's about the time I woke up enough to first realize that I was sleeping in a small tent in the middle of the forest and that it had gotten significantly colder than it had been when I fell asleep; and secondly that I was pretty fired up about the snotty attitude from the Entirely Fictitious Educator in the dream.

I've never actually lived that specific scenario, but I have encountered some similar elitism lurking in our industry. There seems to be a ridiculous number of people out there who truly believe they know the absolute, one right way to be successful as a nail tech. Some people will flat out tell you what that is. Some people make decent money charging for classes to tell you this. Some just offer the advice for free whether you want it or not. Some people are happy to tell you that what you're doing is "wrong" but they aren't going to share their version of "right."

But I'm here to tell ya, there's more than one way to file a nail! And if you spend enough time talking to the people who are out there making a living doing nails, you'll soon discover that there is no right or wrong way to do it.

Maybe it all comes down to your personal definition of what "success" is. There are nail techs out there who have never seen a copy of NAILS. Who've never been to a trade show. Who've never taken a continuing education class. But who still pay their bills every month with money they make from doing nails. And, much as we hate to admit it, there are also nail techs out there who never bothered to get a license, who don't follow state regulations, who don't have a clue they aren't supposed to use MMA — but they're still making money in the business.

I can concede that I have my personal opinions about what constitutes doing your job "well," but even if your standards are sadly lacking, anyone who is making a living doing nails, or at least making as much money as they want to at it, qualifies as successful.

Obviously, I'm all about meeting some minimum standards if you want to hang with the best in the biz — but don't let anyone tell you you're doing nails "wrong" if you're not living up to their arbitrary standards. Not even some Entirely Fictitious Educator in a stupid dream!


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