Illustration by Cathi Mingus

Illustration by Cathi Mingus

Working with other people is a delicate give-and-take. You’re probably a perfect employee. And for that, we applaud you. But we know from talking to nail techs (and from working with other humans ourselves) that everyone isn’t perfect. Getting along with your coworkers is an integral part of job enjoyment. So obviously, we recommend you take these tips into consideration and basically do the opposite if you’d like to create a pleasant salon environment for yourself and your coworkers.

We asked various nail techs about the behavior that repulses them the most from their colleagues. Their names have been withheld to protect the guilty. Here are 24 surefire ways to make your colleagues cringe when you walk in the door.

1. “Borrowing” Supplies
Respect each other’s space. Don’t grab a file or nail polish bottle off your coworker’s station without asking. Use common courtesy and ask before taking anything from someone’s personal supplies. And if it’s communal and you take it off her table, at least leave a note, “I grabbed the UV top coat off your station because I was all out. I’ll make sure we’re fully stocked tomorrow.”

2. Being Too Loud
Whether chewing gum lip-smackingly loud or talking on the phone for everyone to hear, don’t be that coworker who can’t turn the volume down. It’s nice to hear your client talk and yourself think.

3. Being a Slob
Cleanliness is next to godliness. So don’t fall from grace like the techs described here. “Wearing gloves and rubbing her face and hair with it on and continuing the service. Disgusting!”

“I am extremely meticulous and one of my top priorities in this business is cleanliness. Clients don’t want services done at a place that is a complete mess or dirty. Everything must be absolutely sanitized, spotless, and organized to give off a good impression for the customer. Any techs who don’t work like this tend to drive me crazy.”

4. Backstabbing
No one likes being thrown under the bus. It is always better to confront someone than it is to be disloyal and untrustworthy.

5. Dressing Inappropriately
If you’ve heard the saying “dress for the job you want,” then you should know not to dress like the following example. “We had no uniform so some of the girls wore skirts and shorts so short you could see their butts even when they were upright.”

6. Gossiping
Leave the news reporting to the anchors on television. Talking about others behind their backs lowers morale and makes others not want to trust you.

7. Stealing Clients
If a more experienced tech gives you some of her clients to handle while she is out, try to do your coworker proud by proving yourself to her, not to her clients. This is one cardinal rule we got a lot of responses about. “One of the girls that I gave this tremendous opportunity to had been talking badly about both the owner and myself and trying to poach clients for the new business she planned on opening. One of my clients even told me that one of the newly licensed techs told her that she trained me how to do nails!”

“I worked somewhere where they hired a ‘nail tech’ with no schooling or certificates. When I confronted the boss on hiring someone who wasn’t even licensed, she informed me she was just going to work the front desk. All of a sudden I wasn’t booked and my clients were contacting me on Facebook. This new hire was not even trying to book me! She was turning down my clients, saying things like ‘I can’t book you with her, but when I’m done with my shift on the front desk I can do your nails.’ The few people who fell for it would pay her cash and she would pocket all of it without paying product charges that everyone else had to pay for using shop product. Every client she did nails for ended up tracking me down to do a brand new set right away.”   

8. T.M.I.
Your personal life needs to stay personal. Keep it professional. There’s no better way to offend clients than by airing your dirty laundry when they’re trying to relax.

9. Stealing Ideas
Very few things are original, but by giving credit where credit is due, you are sure to have a lot more of your coworkers in your corner. “Lately, I’ve had a so-called nail tech coming to have her nails done by me.  Each time she comes, she asks or more challenging nail art designs and asks for step-by-step instructions on how to do each phase. I’ve told her that if she wants to learn nail art she should book a training with me like everyone else does, but she insists she’s not using it on her clients, just interested to see how it’s done.  Then last night I saw her Facebook page — it’s covered in my ideas that she has redone on her clients and taken all the credit for.”

10. Arrogance
It’s good to be confident; it’s bad to think no one else deserves to be. If you have a coworker who is better at nail art than you are, refer one of your clients to her. We all have our strengths, and a salon runs best when everyone plays to each other’s fortes.   

11. Laziness
Get up, get some coffee, and go the extra mile. “There’s absolutely nothing worse than to have to clean up after another person in the workplace, whether it be finishing up a service or doing chores for someone else. As professionals, we all have an obligation to do the tasks we’ve been assigned, at the very least. I’ve found that a helpful attitude goes a long way in our industry. When we give one another a helping hand and work together as a team, with everyone doing their part, it makes the workplace a much more pleasant place to be.”

12. Flaking
If you are always running late or failing to show up altogether, everyone else will have to pick up the slack. You know how it feels to have a no-show client; don’t subject the rest of your salon to that. Try to be especially punctual during busy seasons or on the weekends.

13. Having a Bad Attitude
If you just don’t care, are known to tell jokes that offend, or have been told that you are just plain mean, you might want to rethink your attitude and your place of employment. Social graces go a long way, and if all else fails, remember to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

14. Showing Up When You Shouldn’t
 Your job is to make others look and feel beautiful. So don’t come to work if you’re feeling sick, haven’t slept, or haven’t tended to your own personal hygiene. Not only will you make your coworkers hate you, but you run the risk of scaring off all the clients.

15. Not Minding Your Own Business
Don’t intrude upon the conversations or work of your colleagues. Stay focused on your work and yours alone.

16. Freeloading
There’s no such thing as a free lunch; you have to earn it. Everyone has to carry their own weight, both in terms of workload and in terms of money. Be supportive of others’ work and support yourself financially.

17. Bringing an Entourage
Every day can’t be take your daughter, boyfriend, sister, best friend etc. to work day. It’s just not professional. You don’t want other people taking up space and taking your attention away from clients.  

18. Sucking Up
It’s always a good idea to be kind to your boss, but make sure that kindness is evenly distributed and genuine. Nobody likes a teacher’s pet. Trying to outshine your coworker is a sure way to annoy your teammates.

19. Not Listening
Everyone deserves to be heard. You can’t just be all talk. Show your coworkers respect by really listening to them, which includes looking them in the eye, ignoring your phone, and not cutting them off — even if you disagree.

20. Scheming
If your agenda is to set someone up to fail, you need a new one. Constantly trying to get someone else fired is counter-productive. Instead of trying to get a coworker kicked off the team, try and help them to stay on it to ensure joint success.

21. Wasting Time
 Follow the protocol put in place. Don’t distract your coworkers from their clients or waste your own time by shopping online or using social media. Be productive even if you have a spare moment by helping someone else out. Do your job as efficiently as possible — both your colleagues and clients will love you for it.

22. Not Doing Your Best Work
If you under-booked a time slot or took an appointment too close to closing time, you need not punish your clients and the salon’s reputation because of it. Always do your best work, no matter what — even if that means taking a long, hard look at your time management abilities or scheduling an additional appointment.

23. Drinking on the Job
If you work really hard the hours will fly by and five o’clock will be here before you know it. Leave the cocktails for the clients.

24. Bringing the Drama
Odds are, no one is filming you in your salon for a TV show. Then why are you vying for best soap star? Don’t try to be the center of attention all the time by exaggerating what’s going on in your life. It’s time to get real. Everyone is fighting their own battles, including your clients. Put your client first, and you can avoid all sorts of problems.

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