I have a problem with speed. I’m slow. I think it’s because I’m such a perfectionist, and I’m also very new at this. I can’t go faster without sacrificing accuracy. Don’t get me wrong, I know I need to go faster… I just haven’t figured out how yet.
When we were in Vegas for NAHA, we got a few classes with Vivienne Mackinder and Dianne Shmidtke, and Faatemah from Shear Genius, in addition to a press junket/Q&A session the next day with a number of the winners and honorees of NAHA. I remember in one of the sessions, a girl from another school asked if you should sacrifice accuracy for time – she seemed out to bite her teachers, clearly framing the question in such a way that she hoped that the high up muck-e-mucks of hair would look down their noses at her teachers and tell them that speed isn’t important, the only thing to focus on is quality.
Well, you can guess what they did say. If you can’t do a cut and style in 45 minutes, you’re not going to make much money in this business. Yes, quality is important. But you shouldn’t be sacrificing quality – you should be speeding up and retaining the quality.
Which is about where I’m stuck. I go as fast as I can (right up until the point at which if I were to go faster, I would begin to stumble and fall behind), and then there’s just… no more “fastness” left. Sometimes my hands start shaking because I’m trying to go so fast, I’m jacked up on adrenaline. I’ve learned not to drink energy drinks. I got in the habit of drinking them in the morning before exams when I was in the classroom, but in the salon my adrenaline is naturally pumping, and if I drink an energy drink I get all jittery.
The other girls are much faster than me. But they aren’t as precise, and they don’t check everything. Some of them are still better cutters than me, but they’ve had much more training and experience.
But most are faster because they aim lower. And I’m not deriding them for it at all, they aim for a perfectly fine level of quality for a beauty school student. I aim too high. The fact is that I’m just not going to turn out impeccable haircuts in 45 minutes after being in hair school a few months. It’s not going to happen. Maybe after a year or two, but not right now.
But I feel like if I aim lower, I’m not practicing to become a great hairstylist, I’m practicing being average. 🙁