The first Shak Gal that I met – or rather, that introduced herself to me – was Gretchen. Gretchen is a stylist, and she has been making our clients at Sizzor Shak gorgeous for over 10 years. So in the “hierarchy” of salon life, she ranks a couple of levels higher than a new girl like me. But, despite this, on my very first shift Gretchen made her way over to my desk and introduced herself.
Gretchen is a knockout. She has amazing hair – thick and curly, light brown with highlights. It probably weighs 8 pounds and she complains about it being heavy and hot; however, for ladies with fine, flyaway tresses (like me), Gretchen’s locks are the stuff that dreams are made of.
Gretchen is also the most photogenic person I have ever met. Her face looks amazing in every picture, even when she’s in the background taking a big bite into a hamburger. If I’m not fully prepped and posed in a picture, I end up looking like I’m about to sneeze while my mouth’s full of lemon juice.
But beyond her hair and her photos and her eyes – did I forget to mention her blue, blue eyes?
Anyhow, beyond all that, Gretchen has a heart that is truly welcoming and inclusive. It was so awkward to be the new girl at a new job, and yet Gretchen eased my entrance into this new job by reaching out to me immediately, making me her friend on Facebook, and making me her friend for life.
At work parties, she would direct me to a chair near her. In the break room, she asked me about my kids and we compared parenting trauma stories. At the desk, she was patient as I rang up her customers, even though I typed her name in wrong at least 50% of the time.
Often in life, it seems like people are very protective of what is theirs. Their place in line, the money they make, the friends they have … a lot of people have an attitude that seems to say, “I worked hard for these things, so don’t expect me to share any of it with you. You gotta scrape and climb to get to where I am, and don’t expect any help from me.” But Gretchen’s openhearted way of welcoming me made me feel like part of the group for the very first.
And this is where the True Beauty of Gretchen comes out. She has definite seniority over me, and yet she was willing to share herself and give me a hand up when I felt most insecure.
As I’ve grown in my own seniority, I have witnessed her doing this over again … with the next new girl, and the one after that. And because of her great example, I have found myself striving to make sure others feel important and valued, especially during a time when they may feel uncertain.
Gretchen’s inner beauty has taught me an easy way to give to others – simply by being kind. It is one of the easiest ways to give, and yet it is one of utmost importance.