For as long as I can remember, as a child I always wanted to be a hairdresser; it was my calling and when I left school at 16 to study at college I was sure it was what I wanted to do. By the end of my first year, I was sure it wasn’t something I wanted to do.
During that year I dyed my hair several crazy colours and loved having the freedom to attend college and come home looking completely different! Having grown up always being told that I shouldn’t dye my hair and that my hair was lovely the way it was, being able to rebel and express myself through my college work was exciting – look at me doing whatever the hell I want, in the name of college of course…
The thing is, the hairdressing industry is crazy competitive.
When you’re in education you’re told if you get the grades and do the extracurricular activities to put on your CV that you will be desirable to recruiters. Unfortunately, it’s not drilled home enough how hard is to get a job – especially in a competitive industry like hairdressing.
As part of my course I had to do a 2 week placement at a salon to practise my skills and improve my customer service ability, it was in this moment that I realised how hard it was going to be to find a full time job after my course. I went to so many different salons and they had already accepted other students for work experience, the demand is crazily high.
I found a placement eventually and it was fine, but just like with any job you soon realise you can’t just do the parts of your job that you like doing. I love dying hair and seeing the dramatic difference it can make to a clients appearance and confidence. I got into hairdressing because I saw people with exciting hair colours and I wanted to recreate that and be part of breaking the ‘norm’.
The truth is, I fell out of love with hairdressing because it’s not a nice industry to work in. It’s bitchy and I feel the education system wants you to go by the books, answer the set questions for your theory and get a job with that knowledge. You aren’t encouraged to be creative and there isn’t enough capacity for you to improve, there’s 1 tutor to 20 students and there is always a favourite.
After my stint in hairdressing I went to college to study Information Technology, completed a Social Media and Digital Marketing apprenticeship and have now been a digital marketer for 3 years. When I left school at 15 I was in no position to decide what I wanted to do, and from the age of 11 I hadn’t been allowed to explore my interests during school hours because of the strict curriculum.
I fell out of love for hairdressing and that’s okay. Just because you no longer want to pursue something you or your parents once wanted doesn’t mean you’re on the wrong path, you’re just on a different one.
You are allowed to grow and change.