Why being a boss is like getting dumped over and over.
We all remember that creeping feeling of unrest after working at a place for awhile. I myself have always found after about 5 years I developed a need to have change. My work career isn’t really that exciting either, as I’ve only worked in two salons. So in the hair industry I’ve quit twice, but in the span of my life I have only had to quit 4 jobs. To be honest I feel I tried to do it with integrity, but I never really understood the effects it had until I became a boss.
Being a boss means getting dumped again and again.
Everything we do is to help grow our staff. Hours of figuring out what to talk about at staff meetings so it is learner focused, tinkering so you can have your dream schedule, planning Christmas parties, creating promo’s to help you win and grow your business. I have met bosses who have not taken dividends so they could pay for staff education - only to have a staff member pull out of the fully paid for non refundable class 3 days prior because “I’ve got things going on”. I’ve had friends who have had half of their staff plan a secret salon opening, steal their entire client list from the computer (leaving the salon open for a lawsuit) and not having the decency to be open and honest about their plans. I’ve had people steal from me, then claim I let them go unfairly and try and take me to the labor board. Truth is, this stuff is par for the course. We signed up for it after all — didn’t we?
I’m fully equipped to handle all of this - in fact I think I do it with grace most of the time. What I was not prepared for being a boss babe was the heartbreak you feel every single time someone you love quits. It’s like repeatedly having your heart broken - but you keep coming back for more.
Stylists, please know - we understand that you need a change sometimes. We want you to be happy, in fact we don’t want you to stay in our salons unhappy - it’s not serving anyone. BUT when you tell us you need a change and are unhappy we hear “I’m breaking up with you”. We go home and we lay on the couch and cry. We eat ice cream, and lament on whether or not we saw it coming. If we could have done something to prevent it. We feel like we are not enough.
Now I don’t say this to make you feel guilty but part of being a boss often leaves the impression that we are not human, or don't have feelings. We care more than you will ever know. We root for you, we cry for you, we get nervous for you, and we rejoice when you achieve success. Your failure is ours, your struggle is ours, and your victories are so celebrated. You are entitled to your right to be happy, and we are entitled to the right to grieve when we realize we can’t provide that for you. When we see your new salon announcement please know we are truly happy for you, but it is like finding out your ex has a new girlfriend - only she is younger and hotter. We sometimes have to mute your posts, not out of bitterness, because we truly want you to be happy. It's just because it's hard to see you moving on and happy in a new life that we are not a part of any more.
Why am I telling you all this? Because becoming a boss means you have to make decisions not based on emotions but fact. Don’t worry we get this, we already have strategies in place, and we are moving forward acting like we didn’t skip a beat. But at the end of the day — we are only human. I am brining up this important subject for a very good reason. Honesty. We need to have more of it.
I now have a better understanding on why some bosses lash out - but that does’t make it right. Being a real boss babe means growing your staff knowing you have so much to offer them they may want to reach for the stars - JUST like you did. Being a boss babe means lifting them up when the decide to move on - because that is what others did for you.
We are so proud of you for growing and learning to stand on your own two feet. It’s like raising children, you know they will grow and move out to become independent humans. We are on the sidelines cheering you on - even through tears sometimes because we care about you so much, and we gave and sacrificed to provide you with opportunities and learning so that you can live the dreams we believe you deserve.
What can you do to be kind when you decide to leave your salon?
First off, we understand how difficult it must be for you to even get up the courage to have this conversation. We want you to be happy, and we understand that this day likely was going to come. We also know it doesn't feel good to get dumped, and no matter what you do you can end up feeling like the bad guy. But please understand when you leave us with integrity and honesty it really does make us love you even more! Here are 3 things you can do to show respect and kindness if you are leaving.
1. Have a face to face conversation.
This is a must. Do not quit when we are on holidays or out of town. This seems to be a go to for many stylists. Seriously, I had a boyfriend dump me once on my birthday (and he still gave me a card with a donkey on it - I guess that was ironic) and let me tell you it made for a pretty terrible birthday. It can be hard to adult up and have the conversation, but it shows respect and courage when you don't ruin our holiday, cause we will be stressing being away from the salon and not able to help the team with the fall out. Not only that but we want to be able to have the chance for closure. How sad to come home to an empty station and a hole where you once were. It's like having your boyfriend move out in the night secretly. We want the chance to thank you for you hard work, hug you and wish you the best in your journey.
2. Be honest.
Being honest for your reasons for leaving is so important so we have the opportunity to improve our salon companies. We try our best to make the environment amazing for you. We try and offer you everything you need from access to education to fun staff events, but if there is something we can do to improve that we want to know so we can nip it in the bud and continue to provide an awesome work place for our staff. Remember though that positivity and attitude is a two way street. Being part of a growing business minded salon company means knowing you are going to be coached to keep growing, and this environment isn't always suited for everyone, so being self aware of your needs and what type of salon you are looking for will be important moving into your next job.
3. Be realistic in your expectations leaving
We know you are going to contact your guests when you leave. Privacy laws are a funny thing, and as we all know if you print off salon records the salon can actually be sued. I may love you and am sad to see you go, but I certainly do not want to open myself up to a lawsuit on your behalf. I strongly believe social media makes it easy for stylists to reach their clients after leaving, but I aways email all their clients and them know where the stylist is going and how to reach them. I believe this is best for everyone, it is the most professional way to handle things and leaves both the stylist and salon looking their best. It also allows the salon guests to not feel like kids caught in the crossfire of a messy Brad and Jen type divorce. Stylists be respectful and graceful, and understand that we want the clients to stay comfortable more than anything, as well we want our salon to avoid a nasty lawsuit that may end our livelihood.
Salon owners - I'm looking at you!
This is a two way street, and my first piece of advice is to be really honest and up front during the hiring process what it would look like if they were uninvited from your company or decided to quit. Everyone will have a different idea on what is right for their salon company, and I totally support that. Our job is to protect the culture for the ones who are deciding to stay - and that should always be the first priority. If you were open and upfront in the interview process there should be no surprises and therefore no reason for anything dishonest to happen - in theory. I always believe you should tell guests where they are going, and how to find them, and make an offer for them if they would like to continue on with your company. Discuss this upfront, and avoid any misunderstandings. Let the stylist know you will email all of their guests, and let them know where they are going, and that it is your focus to make the transaction as easy for the guest as possible. Always remember - your business will be ok! Sometimes in the moment it can seem scary, but at the end of the day you need people who believe in and support your culture.
So to my old bosses who I parted ways with at one point - thank you for growing me so I could grow others. I have grown to respect you more now then ever before. I hope I have made you proud.
And for all of you amazing stylists who have decided to move on - be kind, be honest, treat us with integrity and know that our devastation (even if we don’t show it) means we care about you and we did our jobs. Look at you now, babe - you’ve made it.
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