In the world of hairdressing, aspirations are high, and dreams of crafting remarkable styles for clients fuel the passion of many hairstylists. The prospect of creating art with hair and fostering lasting relationships with clients seems promising, but the industry has its hidden challenges. The hairstyling profession, like any other, has its share of untold stories about why some hairstylists ultimately choose to depart from a career they once held dear. In this article, we delve into the ten reasons often concealed behind the scenes – the reasons why many hairstylists decide to bid adieu to the hairdressing profession.
1. Difficulty Balancing Personal & Professional Lives
Hairstylists enter the profession with a vision of turning their clients into works of art, but the demanding nature of the job can make it challenging to balance personal and professional lives. The long hours, hectic schedules, and frequent conflicts with family commitments often lead to significant stress, ultimately causing some hairstylists to reconsider their career choices.
2. Overwhelming Workload
What may appear as a glamorous job often conceals the grueling reality of hairstylists' schedules. They frequently work six to seven days a week, enduring shifts that can extend up to 12 hours a day. These extended hours, especially during weekends, mornings, and evenings when most people socialize, disrupt the work-life balance. Over time, these relentless hours can lead to burnout and push some hairstylists to seek a career change.
3. Inadequate Compensation
The average annual salary for hairdressers in the United States is approximately $32,740, and many salons do not provide additional benefits like health insurance, retirement savings, or paid vacations. With the average annual salary across all occupations in the U.S. standing at $58,260, it becomes evident that hairstylists may struggle to make ends meet, prompting some to explore more lucrative career paths.
4. Lack of Job Security
The hairstyling industry is highly competitive, with many hairstylists grappling with job insecurity due to factors such as high turnover rates at salons and seasonal fluctuations in business. Even for those who opt for booth rentals, there's no guarantee of a steady stream of clients, forcing hairstylists to constantly market themselves to attract and retain customers. This relentless self-promotion can be exhausting, pushing some hairstylists to seek more stable and secure career options.
5. Evolving Fashion Trends
Staying on top of evolving fashion and beauty trends is a cornerstone of success for hairstylists. However, this continuous demand for staying updated with the latest trends can be overwhelming. Styles quickly become outdated, making what was once innovative and cutting-edge old news. Maintaining relevance in the industry requires constant investment in research, attending classes, workshops, and trade shows, which not every hairstylist deems worth the effort. As a result, some choose to explore alternative career paths.
6. Challenging Clients
While satisfying clients is undoubtedly rewarding, it's not always a walk in the park. Dealing with difficult personalities and last-minute changes in plans from customers can be mentally exhausting. In the absence of adequate support from management or colleagues, handling such situations for an extended period can take a toll on a hairstylist's well-being. Even with a supportive team, some hairstylists choose to seek more fulfilling careers that spare them the stress of unpredictable clients.
7. Lack of Recognition
Recognition within the hairstyling industry is a scarce commodity, often reserved for an elite few or those who have built successful salon chains over time. Not receiving due recognition for their hard work prompts some hairstylists to reconsider their dreams of becoming industry leaders, prompting them to explore fields where their talents are more appreciated.
8. Limited Advancement Opportunities
Most salons offer limited advancement opportunities, leaving hairstylists with little room for career progression within the industry. The traditional progression path, from apprentice to master stylist, often ends in a career plateau. The lack of upward mobility can lead talented hairstylists to seek opportunities in other industries that better support their professional growth.
9. Fear of Failure
The fear of failure is a significant deterrent for individuals entering the hairstyling profession. The highly competitive nature of the industry, coupled with doubts about personal abilities, can dissuade many from pursuing a career in hairstyling. In such cases, a perceived lack of security and familiarity leads them to explore alternative career options that appear more promising.
10. Health Hazards
Working with chemicals on a daily basis takes a toll on a hairstylist's health over the years. Skin and eye irritation from dyes, respiratory issues from inhaling toxic fumes, and musculoskeletal disorders from repetitive hand and arm movements are common health challenges. Despite the availability of protective measures, the cumulative effects of years spent in the profession may eventually force hairstylists to seek alternative career paths that prioritize their well-being.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is being a hairstylist a stressful job?
Yes, being a hairstylist can be exceedingly stressful. The profession often involves demanding and sometimes dissatisfied clients, long and irregular work hours, low pay, and the constant need to keep up with evolving trends, all of which contribute to elevated stress levels.
Why do hair salons fail?
Hair salons can fail for various reasons, including financial instability, difficulty in attracting and retaining clients, challenges in finding and retaining skilled hairstylists, and a negative reputation in the local market. The small business landscape is inherently challenging, with nearly 20% of new businesses, including hair salons, facing the risk of failure.
What other jobs can a hairstylist pursue?
Hairstylists possess a versatile skill set that can open doors to various career paths within and beyond the cosmetology field. They can explore roles such as facialists, nail artists, lash artists, or even teaching at cosmetology schools. Additionally, hairstylists can transition to related fields like dog grooming, wig-making, or consider positions in customer service, office administration, marketing, or styling, all offering more regular working hours and potentially greater job security.
In conclusion, the world of hairstyling, though appealing, is not without its hidden challenges, and many hairstylists eventually choose to pursue different career paths due to factors like work-life balance, workload, compensation, job security, evolving trends, challenging clients, lack of recognition, limited advancement opportunities, fear of failure, and health hazards. Understanding these concealed reasons can shed light on the realities of the profession and the choices made by hairstylists looking for more stability, fulfillment, and personal well-being in their careers.