This is a reprint of a post I made on Facebook on 4 January 2017 that I really feel still holds true and resonates.
What goes through my mind whenever I sense someone with a little disdain or contempt for my career:
I don't just "Do hair". I own and run a business, that was started (and has succeeded) during the most horrible recession the US has seen in a long time. I do EVERY job in the business, as a sole proprietor. Which means, that the hours I'm behind the chair are NOT the only hours I'm working. Most weeks, I work between 50-60 hours. Long hours, many of which are spent "being ON".
Every hairdresser knows what I'm talking about: we aren't allowed to have bad days, sad days, sick days, etc. We have to be entertaining, technically perfect in execution, sometimes a therapist, always on the cutting edge, and always in a perfect mood.
I help young ladies see beauty in themselves that their eyes have been conditioned to be blind to, and yet somehow, also convince them that it's not the totality of their worth. I help older women navigate changes in their appearance that can be devastating, while helping them see that beauty evolves. I help chemo patients realize that its ok to lose their hair, that it may come back totally different, and what an adventure that can be!
I help people boost their self-esteem, navigate tricky relationships, console those in grief, celebrate with those in joy, and sometimes just get everyone through a tough day.
All this with a smile on my face, because not only do I really think I'm super lucky to be in such a creative industry that HELPS people on such a personal level....but also because nobody wants to visit a hairdresser who's having a bad day. I do it for people who don't think I'm worth my prices (even though I'm exceptionally trained), for people who look down on me for not having a traditional degree, for people who look at me as "the help", for people who think I "just play with hair" all day long..... even for those closest to me that may not realize I catch glimpses of this from even them.
NEVER ONCE has my scissor or highlight comb "accidentally" slipped (even though you may deserve imperfect hair, you judgy bastard). Because my own personal code of ethics forbids me doing anything less than my best when it comes to my art and career. I continue to do it, even though I may never get enormously rich from it, even though I don't get sick days or vacations days or matching 401(k) contributions or executive perks of any kind.....because I'm great at what I "do".
What do you do?