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  • Youngster in need of guidance

    Before I start this, I'd like to say, hello all and to those reading this! Thank you for taking the time to read what I have to say (if you do).

    I am fairly new to this site and with grooming. I am 18 years old and upon job searching one night, I saw that a corp had a grooming apprentice opening. I jumped for it with only 3 months of an introduction to animal sci. class under my belt. This was also the only job opening for my local store at the time. With the blessing of a very kind assistant manager, I got the job a week later (specifically, October 24th). My experience has been rocky. I have a quite aggressive coworker who doesn't seem to know how to properly communicate what she expects from me, would rather not guide me through a tough situation but do it herself, and in the process make me feel like dog **** for not knowing what to do. She causes me a great deal of anxiety when she's around. Before, I go forth anymore, I'd like to state that this is my first ever job and despite that 3 month intro class, I have had no experience such as this with dogs or any animal at all.

    The rest of my coworkers are supportive, well as much as they can be.. They try and reassure me but I constantly feel like I'm being judged and bad talked for making stupid little mistakes or not knowing something. It hurts.
    Although, I understand it's easier to complain instead of help the newbie progress.

    I'm constantly making silly mistakes in lieu of trying to aim high and miserably failing. I understand I'm very new and still learning but the pressure to get my **** right is intense and I really want to keep this job. I want to progress and I want to get better but I feel like at the rate I'm going- I'll never make it.

    Please, If anyone is out there- I really need reassurance or guidance...tips, advice, anything. From managing workplace anxiety to how to perfectly clean dog poop off the floor. I'll take anything.


    ((Apologies in advance if this post is in the wrong thread))

  • #2
    Hi there!!

    I am really glad you found this forum, I mostly lurk but it has helped me immensely! I hope it can for you as well.

    As far as not feeling confindent in yourself goes, I was in the same boat for the longest time. I went to a grooming school, went through the training, and came out feeling like I would never be a competent groomer. I felt I wasn't good enough to apply to a price salon, and all the instructors at the school basically drilled into our heads to not even try to apply to corp if you can't do like 6 dogs a day. After I got through the program I found a groomer that I wanted to mentor under and was essentially taken advantage of. So I just stopped grooming after that. 6 months later I was in my local box store and was looking for blueberry facial. Apparently they don't sell it, but the groomers were kind enough to give it to me. We got talking and they told me they desperately needed a groomer and they would help me if needed. It turns out my grooms were fine, and I worked with them for about 3 months until I had to move. My salon manager was the kindest woman, and she basically told me to stay in the profession because she thinks I have a gift for it. My grooms aren't nearly perfect, but I keep trying to continue to educate myself, and they are definitely improving. I also try to connect with every client, and add personal touches like home made bandanas and bows.

    I don't know how relevant any of this is to you, but one of the bigs struggles I faced was being overwhelmed or nervous about things. When I would first do haircuts I would tell myself "One day this will feel as routine as doing a bath. " Now if I encounter a pattern that I haven't done many times, that is what I tell myself to push through the anxiety. It is also helpful to remember that you will notice more "mistakes" and sticky outies than the average pet parent. This doesn't mean slack off, but it is helpful to keep in mind while your learning that most people won't freak out if their dog doesn't look like a show dog. For me corp is a great environment to really keep working on the quality of my grooms.

    It sounds like your in a really unsupportive environment, and that is so hard while you're learning. I dont know what it is about our profession that attracts people that try to tear you down that are supposed to be our teachers. I had several in school, and I've heard of some corporate mentors doing the same thing.. I hope that things look up for you! I personally believe that for your average pet groomer, the skill can be learned as long as you have the right attitude. So just keep trying your best, educating yourself, and take shitty coworkers with a grain of salt!

    Please keep us posted, you can do it!!

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    • #3
      Girl you are not alone. I apprenticed and was terrified once on my own. I have second guessed myself over the years and always thought I wasn't good enough, but in hind sight has really helped me to improve. So instead of allowing it to ruffle you, or ruin your day, allow it to motivate you to think before acting, to study after work, and read read read here! Another great resource is Jody Murphy DVDs. You will learn tones. Or the website that also has videos.
      Regarding your coworker, honestly they are not getting paid enough to "babysit"( pardon the term)
      And teach someone. And not everyone is cut out to be a good teacher. Make sure you show your appreciation to who ever helps you little ways( cleaning up after them, being thoughtful, grabbing them a coffee too etc) it will soften them and they will see past the inconvenience to your heart and passion.
      I personally love to see a little insecurity in my students, it helps them be thoughtful with sharp tools and handling and become great groomers. Too much insecurity is a detriment as it paralyses the groomer And they seek assurance all the time, so be careful.
      On a side note, I have helped many a young new groomer, so if you want to contact me personally you can. I own ItzaClip! Doggy Day Spa, been grooming ( full time)14 years now.
      And I can't emphasize enough how much this site has helped me improve over the last 6 years. I posted pics for critique and learned from the responses, I read read read old posts. It's a treasure trove here!

      Sent from my HTC One using Tapatalk

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      • #4
        Welcome to this board! Like Itza said, there's a ton of info here, and the members are very supportive. Sorry you have such a PIA co-worker. I've found over the years (many years), that people who put you down and criticise you are very insecure themselves. Take each criticism as a learning experience and nothing more. Try not to be too hard on yourself. We all started out where you are now-insecure and wondering what the heck we'd gotten ourselves into. With time and experience confidence will come.
        Old groomers never die, they just go at a slower clip.

        Groom on!!!

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        • #5
          Actually.. lucky you to start so young! I started in human hair dressing and hated it!! Then I became a stay at home mom forever. I started dog grooming some years back.. but less than 7 years, I think. My first schooling experience was nothing short of awful. 12 weeks I just kept my head down and did my job. And I was over 50 at the time! Silly mistakes, not so silly serious mistakes are really a part of the job. We are working with sharp instruments and wiggly animals.

          I kind of think of it like piano playing... just keep practicing and in a few years time you will have the confidence you need. Well.. maybe it's not like piano playing lol. I still struggle with that! Watch some dvd's.. you may pick up one thing, but that's okay. And try to relax and have some fun! This is a LOT of hard work.. a lot of hard work. But at least take some deep breaths when you are feeling anxiety. Dogs and cats pick up on that anxiety. I think, for me.. the first few years.. I kind of faked it. You know that saying.. "fake it til you make it." Good luck! You'll do fine.
          Debbie
          There's always room for another rose in the garden.

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          • #6
            Hang in there!!!! There is so much help & support on this board. The input given to you by others is spot on. As with any profession & new job there is always a learning curve. You have to realize that not only are you learning to groom, but this is your first job and also learning to work with others. Lots of things being thrown at you right now. My advice is do not take things personally, and be respectful of your co-workers, even if you feel they are not being respectful of you. It takes time to fit in, and to earn the respect and trust of others. It is a fine line for your co-workers who are trying to groom their own clients in a timely manner and to help you with questions or grooming techniques. You will find groomers on this board who still question their grooms, even after 10, 20, 30 years and I so appreciate their honesty! I am a newbie too. I went to grooming school @ age 49, & opened my own business right out of school. I just started my 3rd year in business and love my job. I had the business background, I just needed to learn how to groom! I am by myself, so I rely on this board, grooming colleagues, my school books, DVD's, Melissa VerPlanks books & website when ever I question anything. We all have good days and bad days. Stay strong, focused, and keep a great attitude. Do not let nasty coworkers get the best of you. With hard work comes great rewards!! Keep us posted and know we are here to support you!!


            Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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            • #7
              Welcome! So glad you have reached out to the Forum community. There is a lot of experiences and knowledge that the members here can share with you. It can be very intimidating starting out, but trust me we have all been there. The cororate grooming programs seem to be set up to teach you the rudimentary basics, then rely heavily on the salon manager to mentor you and help you continue learning. I was once hired by a corp store to come in on my days off to train newbies because the salon manager could not. As previously stated, some peole are unable to teach well, and others just don't want to. The big picture here is that you have an amazing opportunity to have a lucrative lifelong career working with animals (what could be better!), that you can do anywhere you land in life! Don't allow others to discourage you or take that away. The member posts are on target...keep learning...knowledge is power. DVD's, books, joining learn2groomdogs.com, , and attending dog shows and watching the grooming tent activities are all great resources. If you can find another grooming mentor in your area to guide you do it! Expand your resources and you will soon gain more confidence. I promise! We have all have made lots of mistakes while grooming, the trick is to learn from them and try not to repeat. Don't let others drain the spirit out of you. This is just a stepping stone on your way to amazing possibilities!

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              • #8
                I worked a lot of places I was not so happy with my first years. Owning my own business changed everything. Looking back it was good to work in some of those places so I made sure I never ran my business like that. I have very happy employees and little turnover.

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