Saturday, September 22, 2007

Is It Really Worth It?

I have decided to answer that question when it comes to my job. I have been working at a corporate owned salon for almost 21 months. During that time, I have managed to build up a halfway decent clientèle. I am not completely booked, but considering that I had moved to the area three weeks before I got this job, I'm not doing bad. I didn't know anyone in this area before we moved here, and I know it takes a few years to build clientèle up. I have gotten a raise, and have raised my service prices slightly as well. I seem to be well liked by my clients and the people that I work with. The location is also convenient for me, being at the local mall, making my daily commute about 15 minutes.

Here is the downside. Our mall has been in a down-cline for a couple of years. I don't know exactly why, but not as many people are visiting our mall these days. That means less foot traffic coming by our door, and that means less potential customers. Corporate management doesn't seem to care about that, and has done nothing in my tenure to help boost sales in the marketing front. They seem to expect us to do it all. That leads to problem number two.

We can't seem to keep staff or store management longer then about 4 months. Our turnover rate is extreme. In fact, besides myself, there is only one staff member who has been here longer then 4 months. She was hired before me. The main reason staff leaves is that they come to work to make money, and we just don't have enough clientèle for them all. Upper management keeps hiring people who stay a few months and then leave. The customers have noticed and commented on the turn-over. During the time I've been here, we've gone through three managers as well. Again corporate doesn't seem to care. In fact, I've had staff members pressured to drop out of college, or give up that second job and concentrate more on the one here. They have that second job, because they are trying to earn a living, yet they like doing hair, but the income isn't enough to pay their expenses. They are going to college, because they are 18 and want to complete or further their education. I am old enough to be all of these girls' mother, I understand their viewpoint. Upper management doesn't seem to. Which brings about problem number 3.

I am in a position of interim manager. That means I do the normal day to day job duties a salon manager does, but I am not considered one. All problems that occur in the salon stop at my door. I am only slightly compensated for the increased stress and responsibility, if at all. It is not within my power to do outside marketing to bring in new business. They give us all these post-cards to send out, but in my experience the rate of return on those cards is about 1%. AND that is only for customers, who have visited us already. Nothing at all is being done to bring new clients, other then, in my case straight referrals.

I have little or no say-so in hiring or firing of staff either, as I have been over-ruled on that more then once. I am given all this responsibility, yet apparently I'm not qualified to do the job. Here's the rub. I've been doing it for 8 and half months, or in-between the tenures of the salon managers that come, stay on an average of four months then leave.

Yesterday, my District Manager let a girl go. Now it was a good decision, as this poor thing, fresh out of beauty school this past June, was obviously not working out. Her skills were woefully lacking, despite much time spent with her to help her along. She left, and three hours later another girl came in and quit. We'd hired a new girl, and another one had quit earlier in the week. Now I'm having to scramble to fill in the holes in the schedule left by latest exit. Can I get a hold of my DM? Of course not. It's Friday afternoon, she's no longer available. I won't get to talk to her again till Monday, when I will be at work, on my day off, covering a shift.

So back to my original question. Is it really worth it? I have come to the conclusion that it isn't. I really don't want to stop doing hair. I love what I do, I just have decided that I need to go elsewhere. If I can't find a job in this field then, I will go back to the corporate world. However, I have the benefit of being picky. I have been approached by another salon, and I will be talking to them, as well as sending out all those resumes. Sigh, I really do hate searching for a job, but I don't want to be the "it girl" and get nothing out of it, other then "experience", and stress.

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