4 Habits That Make You Look Unprofessional at Work

Lifestyle / Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

Before I start, I promise I’m not writing this post as a super superior professional goddess. I have my unprofessional faults, trust me… like the time I told a client I was going to go home and drink her off (she was beyond rude)… Or that time a plumber walked into the salon asking if we had a plumbing issue (we did not) and I loudly asked him if he was a stripper. Yeah… I did that.


Building a professional reputation can be as tricky as nailing the perfect winged eyeliner (or so I’ve heard… I’m yet to nail that or both, actually). I’ve only been in my chosen profession (hairstylist) for four years and I can imagine that building my professional reputation will take some time over the years.

I’m still working out the kinks, y’know? Like over-sharing my weekend details or gabbing about that funny (but insanely inappropriate) thing the hubs did the other day or even sharing that meme and laughing about it thus proving myself to have the sickest and cruelest sense of humor known to man.

Granted, making clients happy with hair services is my main priority. It’s what keeps them coming back… well, that and my charming personality, lolz… but let’s be honest, some days I’m super charming and other days I’m all Ernest Tries To Have a Conversation.

Sometimes, we all can get comfortable in our situations… at home, in relationships and even at work.

When a new client is in my chair, I tend to use this time as an opportunity to refresh my professionalism and make a good first impression.

4 Habits That Make You Look Unprofessional at Work

Being on your phone constantly

My cell number is on my business card and I use my phone frequently to communicate with clients about appointments.

However, I gotta draw the line somewhere. I try my best to avoid picking up my cell to answer calls and/or texts when I actually have a client in my chair. It ain’t cute when I’m foiling highlights in Jen’s hair while discussing Rory’s stool consistency with my husband.

This client is paying for my time and I try to give him/her my full and undivided attention whether they want to carry on a conversation or not.

I do love a good meme and you will often find me in a corner of the salon not-so-silently chuckling (or cry-laughing) to a good one my bestie Traci sent to me, but really… memes, Snapchats, Tweets, Facebook comments and Instagram likes are things that can certainly wait for downtime or when a client is processing.

Constantly checking your phone and interrupting clients to answer your phone will give the impression that you feel your time is more important than theirs. Not to mention, constant phone checking can be distracting and can prevent you from doing your best work.

When I’m with a client, I will either put my phone in my pocket or put it someplace that I won’t be tempted to check constantly.

Talking shit about other professionals or clients (especially in front of clients)

I work in a profession where there is a lot of competition and there will always be a lot of competition.

One thing that really drives me insane is when other stylists openly talk shit about other stylists. It’s one thing to talk with your co-workers about the girls at the salon across the street but negative comments are not something that should be discussed in front of other clients.

There is not enough shit talking in the world that will change my actual skill set when it comes to doing hair any nails. When stylists talk negatively about others, it only makes them look petty, immature and unprofessional. There are enough clients to go around and winning new ones by talking shit is no true victory.

Even more important, talking shit about clients in front of other clients should always be avoided. The last thing you want your client thinking is, “Do they talk about me that way, too?”

At work, I think the best policy to follow is that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

Showing up late, running behind or constantly rescheduling clients

The absolute basic principle to boost your professionalism: SHOW UP ON TIME.

Shit happens. The dog runs off, the baby shits up her back and has to be bathed and changed. These things happen and pretty much any client is willing to look past tardiness when it is a very rare occurrence. When clients tend to get annoyed is when tardiness becomes a habit.

Things like canceling clients’ appointments, repeatedly rescheduling clients’ appointments and running behind schedule are all habits that are making you look unprofessional.

When I first started doing hair, I would usually schedule clients with a little more time than what I think I will need. This way I could ensure I wouldn’t run behind. As I have gotten more comfortable with my appointment times and the times it takes me to do each service, I have scheduled clients more precisely with those times.

Being excessively sloppy or messy

Yeah… I’m fairly guilty of being ~a bit~ messy. I’m definitely the one that leaves dishes in the kitchenette until they start forming fuzz or leaving a pair of shoes or a Christmas sweater in my area for a cool 11 months. But really, I’ll just leave that sweater there because it’s almost Christmas again.

I completely understand this habit makes me look unprofessional and perhaps like I need professional hoarding help. What it all boils down to is laziness… and that ain’t professional.

A neat and clean station/desk/cubicle/teepee/whatever shows clients you are organized. It also saves you time because you aren’t shuffling through your stuff looking for what you need.

What are some of your tips for being more professional?


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  • I agree with all of these and I think that the phone thing is the most important. There is nothing more annoying than that! It gives me the feeling that the person isn’t interested working at all, and just want to play with the phone. And one thing that seems really unprofessional is wrinkled and not clean clothes. I know, it’s a small thing, but it puts me off.

    Heidi ✨ | Heidi’s Planner

    • joysofjosie

      I totally agree with you on having clean and unwrinkled clothing! It adds an extra element of professionalism for sure! Thank you for reading.

  • Traci

    Such good advice! Although, I will continue to send you great memes for your downtime. TEE HEE! 🙂

    • joysofjosie

      I will happily accept them and send a few in return!

  • Love this post! I’ve had a hair dresser who immediately started talking about all her drama the moment I got in the chair and the entire appointment was just so awkward and unenjoyable lol