Posts in Category: Career

You got the job! Want to know how to succeed?

Congratulations! You submitted your awesome resume, aced the job interview, and now you’ve got the job! Wanna know how to keep your job? Don’t suck at it. Here are a few tips to get you started.

  • #behappy. These days there are literally tens of thousands of memes and books and posters about having a great attitude but, oddly, I still know lots of people with shitty attitudes. Listen, there are countless resources on how not to have a shitty attitude, so if you have a shitty attitude, get a clue. Stat.  An awesome attitude is everything but it’s more than everything at work. Bosses love employees with great attitudes.
  • Smile. A lot. Chances are if you’re smiling, people will think you’re happy. I’ll give you an example; we have a woman on our team who I’ve never seen have a bad day. In the 18 months she’s been with us, she’s shared that her life is less than perfect but she is always smiling. She’s always professional, she’s always at work, she’s always doing what she’s supposed to be doing (and then some), and she’s never had a bad day at work. That, my friends, is what being a professional is all about. So, no matter how shitty your situation is at home or anywhere else, when you come to work act like it’s the best shit in the world.
  • “Is there anything else I can do?” Even if you don’t want to do anything else, just ask. If you’ve taken my advice and you’re smiling a lot and have an awesome attitude, if you ask your boss if there’s anything else you can do she’ll probably say no because she loves you! Or, if she gives you something else to do it’s because she wants to give you more responsibilities because she wants to grow you! Asking if you can do anything else makes you look like a boss because you’re being a team player and everyone loves a team player. Want job security? Ask if there’s anything else you can do.
  • Don’t. Have. Issues. Please. Employees that are issues-prone are employees no employer wants. Employees with issues call out sick all the time. They come in late all the time. They don’t do their job well because they’re distracted because of their issues. They are always the center of (negative) attention. They think their issues will make up for their lack of performance so they don’t get their issues under control.  Want job security? Make sure when you’re at work you are issue free, whether you actually are or not. #nodrama
  • Avoid pointing out everything that’s wrong. Five words: be your company’s biggest fan. Or…
  • Find a company where you can be their biggest fan. If you don’t believe in your company, your company’s products, your company’s vision or mission statement, or your boss, you are taking away an opportunity from someone who will. In other words, if you aren’t on board, get off the ship. No one wants an employee who acts like they’re all in and then as soon as the boss walks away starts talking smack about how much the place sucks, how much they hate the boss, how bad the products suck, how much they hate the customers, etc. If you are doing that then you shouldn’t be at that company. Period. I don’t care if there aren’t any jobs out there, if you’re making tons of money, if you’re in line for a promotion; if your attitude about your company suck, then your performance sucks. And, if your performance sucks then your company will be perceived as sucky. You have to love your company, what it stands for, what it sells, what it aims to be. You have to love it and believe in it so much that when its shoulders sag, you’re there to build it back up and remind if of how awesome it is, or how it’s going to get awesome again. If you want job security, be your company’s biggest cheerleader. Let your boss hear you cheering from the sidelines when there are 3 seconds left in the 4th quarter and he or she is about to kick a field goal for the win.

Here’s to not sucking at work!

Ace the interview with these 3 tips!

You submitted your cover letter and your resume and you finally got the call; they want to interview you! Now what?? Don’t panic. Here’s what an interview that doesn’t suck looks like from beginning to end:

Your outfit

No matter how stylish, edgy, cool, or awesome the salon, unless there are poles in the floor, a bouncer, velvet ropes, and dollar bills flying through the air, do not dress like a stripper. Before everyone gets offended, being a stripper is a legitimate, money-making job, but there’s this thing in the work world called “dress for the job you want.” That means, if you want to be a super stylish, edgy, cool, awesome stylist, dress like one. If you want to be a stripper, dress like one. It’s pretty simple. “What should I wear, Heather?” Great question. Anything that is clean, unwrinkled, stylish, and doesn’t smell like cigarette smoke or food or anything other than clean clothes. Black is an industry standard and a color you can’t go wrong with (and, p.s., you can buy it in volumes at Kohl’s for dirt cheap in their clearance section). A cute, shrunken jacket paired with a black wife beater or tee shirt, black coated jeans, with black boots or flats is always a cute look. Not into the coated jeans? Pair it with a black pencil skirt and pattered tights. Most important, make sure your hair, makeup, and nails are on point. The salon industry is the fashion industry. Look the part.

The audition

Interviewing for a job is like auditioning for a TV show or a movie; go in there and give them your very best. That means smile, give a firm handshake (not a wussy, sucky, dead fish handshake, or that weird, wussy handshake that looks like you expect them to kiss your hand or something – so weird), lots of eye contact, and speak clearly and articulately. Rehearse if you need to. Ask a friend, a parent, or a trusted mentor to ask you some interview questions and then rehearse your answers. There is nothing wrong with being prepared. In fact, there’s everything RIGHT with being prepared. When we’re hiring, if someone comes in prepared, polished, and on-point, we’re interested. Want the job? Be that person.

Come in with a list of your own questions. “What kind of questions, Heather?” Great question. Questions like this: What are the qualities of the ideal assistant (or, whatever position you’re applying for)? Will I be interviewing with other team members? Who makes the final hiring decision? What does a typical day look like? Can you describe it? What made you decide to open your own salon? What keeps you inspired? Do you have a favorite industry icon? If you had to start your career over, what would your now-self tell to your then-self to focus on? By asking questions like that instead of, “How much am I going to make? Am I going to get tipped out? Can I take off the week of Thanksgiving to travel with my parents? Can I leave early? Am I expected to stay even if all the clients are gone and I’m done? When will I get my own chair?” When you ask the salon owner or manager about their career, their inspiration, you’re showing them that you’re not a selfish, suck employee. You’re building rapport, developing trust and relationship, and letting them know that you are a career driven, interested, team member. People enjoy talking about themselves and their successes – especially successful people – but most people don’t want to appear like their bragging. So, by asking someone about their success, you’re giving them permission to brag and to feel good about their accomplishments. #winning

After the interview

Make sure you send a real, handwritten thank you card to whoever you interviewed with that says something like this: Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to meet with me. I really enjoyed our conversation, and getting to learn more Salon Blah Blah and how it came to be was truly inspiring. Please keep me in mind if any opportunities become available at Salon Blah Blah. I would love to be a part of your amazing team. Warm regards, Your namn this world of digital, nothing sets a candidate apart like receiving a gorgeous Papyrus card (you can find them at Target) with a handwritten note inside. You’re welcome.

Here’s to getting the job and not sucking at it!

There’s no K in success.

Growing up can be both awesome and sucky. It’s awesome because you can do what you want, when you want; and it sucks because you have to pay your own bills and work pretty much every day. Ah, the double edged sword of young adulthood. There are ways, however, that growing up can be more awesome than sucky and that’s what this series is going to be about – how not to suck in your professional life.

Your professional life can’t suck if you don’t have a job. Want to know how to get the job you want? Here’s how – show up. Really! 90% of the young people who say that they want a job and that they’ll “stop by to fill out an application,” never show! Then the ones that do show, often show up smelling like a stale cigarette, dressed unprofessionally, with their cell phone pinging away in their pocket or purse. (*Side note: I’m as obsessed with my cell as the next person but there’s a time and a place, kids, and this is the “how to get the job” part. You might not like everything I have to say but trust me, if you want the job you’ll listen.)

Live by the Boy Scout motto: Always be prepared. If you want the job show up, show up early, and show up fresh. Do you hair, put on some makeup, wear something stylish but make sure it’s appropriate (if it’s something Kim Kardashian would wear, don’t wear it); we’re in the beauty industry so the expectation is that you’re going to be stylish, not whorish, so be mindful of skirt length and boobage if you’re a chick (not shorter than your fingertips when you hang your arms at your sides) and if you’re a dude, make sure your pants aren’t wrinkly, your hair looks polished and your scruff looks intentional.  Not sure what the difference is? Google it. Stat. Or, ask someone. People in the salon industry notice details.

Speaking of details, know what else people will notice? When you ask them for a pen to fill out the application you came to fill out. Make sure you bring a pen with you. But I’m bringing my resume, Heather, so I won’t have to fill out an application. You have a resume? Awesome! Bring the pen anyway. Human resources says that employers have to have an application on file. For those of you without a resume, no worries – we’ll go over resumes in my next post – but in the meantime, type up a quick bio about your achievements and activities as they relate to the job you’re applying for. Highlight clubs you belonged to, previous jobs you’ve had and the awesome things you did while you were there, your GPA, honors programs, volunteer work, community service – kidding – don’t share your community service experience unless asked. Make sure you include your contact information and make sure it includes the following:

  • An email address that you actually look at regularly – nothing sucks more than trying to email a person and the email they give you comes back undeliverable or the person doesn’t respond. “Oh, I never look at that email. I’ve had it since I was in like seventh grade.” The screen name xxbeiberbabyforlifexx@aol.com didn’t give it away at all. Create a simple gmail address with your firstname.lastname@gmail.com. And, make sure you check it. Almost as much as you check Instagram.
  • A cell phone number with your voice on the message – when a hiring manager is trying to call a candidate for a job and gets a voicemail with the generic, robotic voice, “You have reached six, one, zero…” they might be reluctant to leave a message. After all, what if isn’t the candidate? Update your voicemail with a professional message. You don’t have to sound like a stick in the mud but at least let the person calling know that it’s your phone.
  • Your Facebook page if you’ve created a job search, semi-professional page – there’s nothing worse than a Facebook page that is filled with garbage (you know the kind I’m talking about). If you’re information is public than make sure, while you’re job searching, that it’s cleaned up. If you want it to remain trashy, mark it private or make sure the friends or family members you have on your site that post tons of inappropriate stuff are made private/blocked. A semi-professional Facebook page allows you to post images of the work you’ve done as a student (or, stylist) and functions as a great marketing tool.

Now that you have the basics covered, print your bio on nice paper (not copy paper, yuck), get out there and start putting in applications. Next topics will include how to build a resume that doesn’t suck and how not to suck in an interview.

Here’s to not sucking at work!

Is 21st century stress causing you to live a lie?

McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine defines denial as this: a primitive ego defense mechanism by which a person unconsciously negates the existence of a disease or other stress-producing reality in his environment by disavowing thoughts, feelings, wishes, needs, or external reality factors that are consciously intolerable. In other words, a person pretends that a situation that is happening in their lives isn’t really happening at all. Oddly enough, however, the very mechanism people in denial use to protect themselves is the very thing that prevents them from actually helping themselves.

Considered one of the most primitive of the defense mechanisms and one of the most frequently used by individuals with an undeveloped, or immature, ability to cope with reality, denial is also usually accompanied by regression (“If I don’t think about it, it’s not real.”) and people existing in a constant state of denial and regression can pay a high price mentally, emotionally, and socially. With such harmful repercussions as a result, why do people choose to exist within these mechanisms? Sigmund Freud, the armchair psychologists psychologist, claimed that in order to reduce feelings of anxiety, human beings are driven towards rationalizationSaul McCloud, a teaching assistant at the University of Manchester, concurred stating that rationalization is the cognitive distortion of “the facts” to make an event or an impulse less threatening, or to protect the person’s self-esteem. It’s the conversation that plays out like this:

“My husband (or wife) does this (or that) behavior (or thing) repeatedly and makes me (or our family, himself, herself) look bad not because he (or she) doesn’t love me (or our family, himself, herself) but because (insert lame, overused excuse here).”

If you, or someone you know, lives in denial, you’ve heard statements similar to that one that may be about the person’s job, their family, their friends, their kid’s friend’s parents; however, most people, when making excuses like that for themselves, rationalize on a fairly conscious level. McCloud had this to say about those individuals, “For many people, with sensitive egos, making excuses comes so easy that they never are truly aware of it. In other words, many of us [they] are quite prepared to believe our [their] lies.” Sounds like a recipe for disaster for the friends and family who aren’t prepared to believe the lies. So, what are they to do when confronted with the denial and rationalization of a loved one or colleague? It’s an area where, according to another mental health professional, they had better tread lightly.

Michelle Aycock, a licensed psychotherapist and contributor for the Savannah Morning News, wrote about the impact of denial on relationships in a recent online article. Highlighting the difficulties of having a relationship with a person in denial because of the inability to confront the individual (due to the fear of repercussions), she had this to say, “Some people enjoy floating down the river of denial.”  In other words, you can confront a person living in denial until you’re blue in the face but the only reaction you will most likely get is continued denial (“Your face isn’t blue at all, it’s red.”). She offers the following advice for dealing with a person using denial as a chronic coping mechanism:

Don’t try to take on or fix their problems. As difficult as it may be, let them deal with the consequences of choosing to live in denial however bad.

And for the person living in denial, she offers this:

If people are telling you you have a problem, then you probably have a problem. 

Is there any hope for people in relationships with others living in denial? According to veteran psychologist, Dr. Bev Smallwood, there is. Smallwood wrote in an online post that if the person acknowledges and examines the areas in their life where they haven’t been completely honest and then, with that same honesty, reflects on her suggested activities below, there is hope.

  • Have you been defensive about statements people have made because they hit too close to home?
  • Focus on the things you’ve been trying to ignore; maybe there is some truth in what people have been telling you.
  • Allow yourself to experience your truth but don’t be surprised if you feel sadness, embarrassment, or depression. 
  • Stop procrastinating! Face your issues and make a plan to improve your circumstances. 

Life is not easy and with all of the demands we are faced with in the 21st century, so it’s easy to understand why so many people choose to live in denial. Oftentimes, it’s easier than facing the ugly truth! But if are constantly living in denial because of situations and circumstances in your life that are repeated over and over again, and it’s causing the people around you to a.) not have candid conversations with you about your situations and circumstances because they know you’ll have a melt down, or b.) concur with you and your bullshit because they know you’ll have a meltdown, it might be time to step out of the river of denial and onto dry land.