There’s one important thing I’m constantly reminding myself of whenever I’m stressed out, tired from putting in extra hours at work or starting to feel burnt out: the importance of paying my dues. I knew when I was making the transition from bartending to being a licensed esthetician that my success wouldn’t come overnight. My career would be exactly what I would make of it. The more time, hard work and energy I put into my career, the higher chance I’d have of receiving a promotion or pay raise.
One of the first steps to paying your dues is be willing to take an entry-level position. This is the best way to get your foot in the door of your dream job company. As soon as I graduated from beauty school, I was fortunate to land a full-time, temporary, holiday position at Sephora, working as a Beauty Advisor in the Call Center. I was quite successful within my year and a half of working for the company. I was hired on as a permanent employee within six months of starting as a contract employee. Three months after I was made a permanent employee, I was promoted from being a Beauty Advisor to a Lead position. It wasn’t the most glamourous job in the industry, but it was my foot in the door at a beauty brand that I knew I wanted to align myself with.
Once you get your foot in the door, you must have and maintain a “Always Say Yes” attitude towards your position and employer. I knew starting at Sephora as a contract employee, my contract could end at any given moment, for any given reason. I lived in fear on a daily basis for the first six months I worked at Sephora that I would lose my job without any sort of warning. I saw people all around me getting let go because there wasn’t enough work to justify keeping all of the holiday staff, not fitting into the office culture or having an attendance and/or tardy issue. The keys to my success for working at Sephora was always being on time, never calling out for work, having a positive attitude and always being flexible with my schedule. Anytime my supervisor asked if I could work overtime, the answer would always be yes. Part of paying your dues means having to work the less desired shifts such as weekends, nights, early mornings or holidays.
Another part about paying your dues is the willingness to make short-term sacrifices for long-term goals. For me, its important that I establish myself as a published writer and an industry expert. I knew deep in my heart that I didn’t want to perform treatments or waxing services on clients. Instead, I wanted to focus more on the business side of things by utilizing my social media skills. I also knew that I wanted to teach. At Sephora, that meant working my way up to being a Product Trainer for Sephora University. I got a small taste for training at Sephora when I was asked to participate in the holiday training classes last year. I even got the opportunity to create my own product knowledge training class and teach it to all of the holiday new hires.
After working for Sephora for only a year and a half, I left my cushy position behind in April of this year to work at SFIEC. I traded in my dreams of becoming a Sephora University Product Trainer for becoming a jack-of-all-trades at the school. In addition to teaching Guest Services classes at SFIEC, I also manage the salon floor, brand the school each month, run all of the contests and promotions for the salon floor, manage all of the school’s social media platforms on a daily basis, facilitate new product launches and run special fundraising programs for the students. I chose to take on a full-time job loaded with extra responsibility because I know that if I put in the time and a lot of hard work, it would eventually turn into my dream job.
Paying your dues means putting in the time and hard work. You can’t be afraid of starting at the bottom and working your way to the top. Once you get your foot in the door and prove yourself to your employer, you’re more likely to get promoted. Dream jobs don’t come without a lot of blood, sweat, tears, hard work and sacrifice. I’ve sacrificed everything from not being able to attend a best friend’s wedding to taking a significant pay decrease, just so I could get my foot in the door at a brand or company I believed in. These were sacrifices I happily made in the short-term because I knew that they would help me to accomplish my long-term career goals.