Job Satisfaction: A Hairdresser's Perspective

The type of hair designing that best suits you will also affect your job satisfaction; this could be a back street barbers, a high street chain or a small family run business. You must decide whether you enjoy all round hairdressing or perhaps you want to specialise in something such as colour or just cutting. You might want to be a session stylist for magazine shoots or for the rich and famous, the list goes on! Wherever you feel you best fit in in the industry is your first step to achieving full satisfaction in your work place.

Self-employed or guaranteed wage?

Money also will play a big part of this satisfied feeling. Self-employment is often a scary thought, especially if you’ve never been down that road, but it is almost always the best option you can take, if you want to make some ‘real cash’. I believe that it motivates you more than ever - if you know you’re not going to earn anything you’re more likely to work hard. So many salons pay such poor wages these days because they can get away with it.

Some of us allow this to happen, as a lot of hairdressers will want the ‘safe option’ of employment and guaranteed wages. You will find a lot of salons pay a guaranteed wage, plus commission, and this can work out quite well too, but I truly believe you will earn more in self-employment. It does take a certain amount of time to build the clientele required to achieve a high wage, however it certainly is achievable, which in turn is taking you well on your way to true ‘job satisfaction’!

What it means to you

I think that it really is down to the individual to create their own ‘job satisfaction’; to me it could be something totally different to what it means to somebody else. For me it is about the above mentioned - being comfortable in the work place. It’s also about being able to grow in your work environment and not getting stuck in a dead end job that will, day in day out, require the same jobs. To me it’s about being creative and learning new things, even after 21 years in the industry I’m still learning new things all the time. I watch colleagues, read all the latest magazines (not just the obvious hair ones). I like to make sure I know what the latest celebrity looks are in fashion and also gossip magazines. For me this keeps my work fresh. I like to talk and LISTEN to clients.

So many stylists say the old line, 'so what are we doing with your hair today'

This is the easiest way to fall into ‘comfortable boring trims’ rather than asking the client how they feel about their hair. Find out if there is anything that particularly bothers them about it or how they feel about the colour. Actually listening to their response and feelings before you suggest some ideas will be beneficial. You are the stylist and most clients are happy for you to share your ideas with them as they might not know what colours suit their skin tone or what style will compliment their face shape.

What can you do

It’s all down to you to make your job interesting; with just a few questions and sharing ideas you might just find that an awful lot of clients will have something more interesting in mind than just a trim. It will make your day, as much as theirs, to see them walk out of the salon thrilled with what you have done.

It can also build a bigger client base for you when they recommend you to all their friends and family, because you actually listened to how they felt and got to know a bit about their day to day life.

Somebody’s job, for example, can affect the way they have to wear their hair; some people need to have it tied back for work or certain companies like the hair to be cut above the collar line if it can’t be tied up. Some firms won’t allow vibrant colours or haircuts that are particularly ‘funky’. It’s also about earning a good wage, to keep shoes on my children’s feet but also to have a more comfortable life: to be able to afford holidays and a few nice luxuries in life, that all us hard workers deserve now and again!

When you work

Last, but certainly not least, it’s about finding a job that allows you to work the hours that you’re comfortable with and that fit in with whatever your lifestyle is. For me as a single parent, my hours are very important, which is another reason self-employment works best for me.

Whatever hours you agree, when you take on a new position, you should make sure you can do them comfortably. I’m not talking about being lazy and working when you feel like it, I mean only taking on the hours that you can handle. For example, for me a full time position would be rather difficult, therefore making me uncomfortable.

If I’m uncomfortable when I’m styling hair I’m not going to produce my best work, whereas if I’ve taken on the hours that I can happily cope with, I will be more relaxed in my position and produce my best work. This means I’m happy, my clients are happy because I’ve comfortably given them time to have a proper consultation which in turn means they get what they want and the cycle continues.

Recommendations should grow, which creates a bigger wage packet for me, so everyone's a winner!

So in summary, life’s what you make it. If you aren’t happy in your job, change it or maybe just change your way of thinking and make it better. And that’s my take on ‘job satisfaction’!


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