Tuesday, 25 June 2019 00:49

Skin Care and the 7 Dwarves: Dealing with Difficult Co-Workers

Written by Shelly Steadman

Let’s face it, working in a spa is hardly ever boring. No two days are the same. Tuesday might be low key and quiet, but the next day could be a train wreck of mis-scheduled clients and no shows. It’s a mixed bag for sure. The same can be said for co-workers. As someone who has been in the industry for over a decade, I’ve worked with a variety of difficult people. Yet, on the other hand, I’ve made some wonderful friends. Statistically, you spend more time with the people you work with than you spend with your family. Crazy, right? So, it’s kind of important that your working environment be a place you like to spend time and, hopefully, make a good living.


 The easiest way to make sure that happens is to figure out how to deal with your co-workers. Rule number one: you are not going to like every single person at your place of employment; it’s perfectly normal. But, you must find a middle ground if you plan to stay. There are a few stereotypical people found in any spa. Think of them as the seven dwarfs of the beauty world – except they aren’t as cute or helpful as the ones from Disney. You’ve got Lazy, Bossy, Melancholy, Sickly, Drama Queen, Instigator, and…sigh…the Thief. Most of these people are harmless, but still annoying to put up with on the regular.


 Lazy has no clue how to operate the washer or dryer and has to be shown where a broom and dust pan are located. Sickly and Melancholy can be the same person. They suck the light out of any room they enter with their constant negativity. The words “I’m looking for another job” and “I hate this place” are on regular rotation in any conversation. They also tend to catch any sort of malaise mentioned in conversation and promptly head home. Any of this sounding familiar? If not, you might be one of the dwarves – yikes! The easiest way to deal with this kind of co-worker is to not be an audience for their brand of crazy. In other words, ignore, ignore, ignore. Now, Lazy is harder to ignore. They can disrupt your day if they were supposed to do towels or tear foils and didn’t. If it’s causing issues with your workflow, try to have a calm conversation with them. But, if you’ve been there done that, go to your manager with your concerns.


 Our other little dwarves aren’t quite so easy. They create so much tension, chaos, and resentment in the work place it can be detrimental to your business and team morale. The Drama Queen and the Instigator are typically BFFs. One creates a situation and the other makes sure that situation catches fire. Some Drama Queens can be entertaining if they’re just loud and proud. You know the type – comes into work smelling like last night, wearing yesterday’s makeup, with a story about how she got pulled over with a goat in the front seat, a keg in the back, and still managed to make it in. It can get old, but she’s not hurting anyone’s work life.


Bossy typically has seniority and feels that gives them the right to hand out orders and make decisions that aren’t theirs to make. They can completely derail a new hire and even, in some cases, undermine management.


Still, the biggest of the bad is the Thief. When I say thief, I don’t just mean a stealer of objects, I mean a stealer of clients. They build their books by taking from your books. A word here and there to your regular clients questioning your competency or giving helpful advice in front of a client on what they would do differently are just a few examples of how these people operate. The sneaky Thief will friend your clients on social media and try to lure them away with specials or even go to their homes to do a service. Treacherous, right? I know clients don’t belong to any aesthetician, but we can become invested in them after years of seeing them once a month and hearing all about their lives.


 I want to tell you these people are easy to deal with, but I’d be lying. Never try to defuse a situation with one of the more toxic types. Take it up the chain to a manager or an owner. Don’t go in guns blazing. Have your facts straight, your temper in check, and, remember, effective communication goes a long way.



Shelly Steadman 2019Shelly Steadman is a licensed aesthetician and educator with over 11 years’ experience in the skin care industry. After spending the last six years of her career behind a teacher’s podium training new aestheticians, she transitioned back into a treatment room. Steadman is currently working as an aesthetician at artistrySPASALON in the beautiful city of Franklin, Tennessee.

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