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I get my nails done at the same spot.

I’ve been a customer for almost eight years now and I love the space because it’s very spa-like. No blaring TVs or radios—just soothing relaxing music and pretty much hushed whispers.

I’ve seen the young lady who did my nails before but this is the first time I had the pleasure of sitting at her table.

Let me tell you…she was rough.

photo credit: Manicure via photopin (license)

photo credit: Manicure via photopin (license)

I kept getting burned by the drill, poked by the file and even though I thought my hand was relaxed, she kept telling me to relax my hand and kept repositioning it.

I didn’t get mad or angry.

It was obvious to me she hated what she was doing. Her mask was far from convincing.

So I asked her if she had any hobbies—if there was something she really enjoyed doing.

She said she didn’t have time for hobbies.

Between work and three children all under 12, she was a working mom and that was all.

She mentioned going to school and attempting to learn English and found it very difficult. She had taken a few college courses but had to quit.

I nodded and told her I understood. I told her I didn’t finish my degree until I was in my 40s.

I asked her what she really wanted to do and she said she really wanted to teach. She said maybe when the kids get older she might be able to go back to school and finish.

I encouraged her and told her she should definitely go for it. That at the right time it can all come together for her.

Even though she’s a good nail tech (my nails look great), you can tell she doesn’t love it. You can tell it’s something she has to do; not what she wants to do and it shows.

People can usually tell when you’re faking it. They can tell if passion, creativity, joy is missing from your offering despite your best efforts. After while you start slipping and your frustration seeps out even when you try to cover it with a manufactured smile and accompanying laugh.

My advice?

Be honest with yourself and admit what you truly want and then make a plan and take baby steps.

My nail tech could download apps to her phone to help her with her English.

She could practice reading and writing in English—all small steps that would help her get to her goal.

They’re small steps, but steps nonetheless and that’s all that matters.

Those small steps would help her get through her long days at the nail shop and keep her hopes of teaching alive.




  • Apryl says:

    Thus I should a wonderful illustration. You can definitely tell when you’re not passionate about what you’re doing. It’s great of you to take time out to hear her story. A lot of people may have been turned off my her blunders and taken the time to connect. Great advice on how to improve ones circumstances as well.

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