Something took you in this direction in the first place.
What is it? You love dogs.
Great. Lots of people love dogs. But they don’t become dog groomers.
Why You? Possibly because you have a natural talent for it.
Maybe you were born into a family that already works within the pet industry.
Perhaps you can’t imagine joining the ranks of everybody else who will take whatever they can get. Stocking shelves in a supermarket. Sitting in a call-centre where the minutes you take for a pee-break are monitored by a robot.
Perhaps you’ve already tried and tested a few other vocations. You can’t stand office work. You can’t stand corporate-speak. You hate office politics. Or, you’ve retired. And now want to do what you really, really, wanted to do all along.
Maybe you have decided there is more to life than the general rat-race.
That you have a choice and an opportunity to do something meaningful.
You want to make a difference.
You want to serve a local community. Doing something good for dogs. Other living beings that share our lives with us in a way that is beyond description, beyond words.
Dogs are true, honest companions. Their lives – their health and their welfare and their joy – must be catered to. So, there is an opportunity to be ‘the someone’ who does that.
Sure, you’ve got options. You could join the others. Do your time unpacking and collapsing cardboard boxes. Get a promotion. Eventually work your way up to the deli-counter, the bakery, maybe the till – or even that special till where you can only buy cigarettes and lottery tickets. One day, you might even get into Management.
Fine. No drama. This has its own challenges and rewards. A secure income, maybe. Suitable-enough challenges. Guaranteed paid-holidays. Keep it simple. Why not?
Is it serving a higher-purpose? Maybe. You could argue that people obviously need groceries or iPads or caramel lattes.
Somebody’s gotta do it. Why not you?
I’ll tell you why not you. Let me repeat: I’ll tell you Why Not You.
Becoming a dog groomer signifies, to me, that you have opted OUT of safer, default choices.
It’s because you probably want something different out of life. There are no dress-rehearsals. One Life. You have to live it well. You are willing to step outside of the norm. You’re not afraid of ‘hard work’ (yes, hard work still exists – and groomers know it).
Dog grooming ain’t easy. But, it’s like they say: ‘nothing worth having is easy’.
Fifteen years ago I worked for big companies listed on the London Stock Exchange. Although based in London, I travelled frequently between great European cities: Paris, Milan, Barcelona, Munich. (Oh, and to an industrial park off the M5.) This was amazing to me.
That’s because I grew up in a small industrial town in western Canada. Sure, I had a great childhood in a rural setting. But many of my friends, my peers, went after what was on offer locally. Working in a lumberyard. A pulp mill. As heavy-duty mechanics. I wanted something else. I didn’t necessarily know what at the time. My path out of this small industrial town was via good schools and universities. Ultimately to a mid-level corporate job in London that I hated.
Suited and booted, going from one meeting to another, delivering ‘solutions’ for corporate clients.
I didn’t know what the heck I was selling (something to do with IT mostly). And I didn’t really care. I had no passion for this stuff. It was meaningless to me.
It’s only after my partner and I got a dog, Charlie, that totally transformed not just my ambitions, but my way of seeing the world. Call me a late bloomer.
Not long after Charlie arrived, we opened a dog grooming salon in London. And then, within a couple of years, another. There was so much to learn. So many mistakes made along the way. But we got there. After ten years, I can only say I wish I’d discovered working for myself much sooner. But not just working for myself. Working for myself within a vocation, a job, an industry, that is hugely rewarding and satisfying on a daily basis. Because I truly believe that dog grooming is one of the few vocations that is honourable, meaningful and satisfying, as many times a day as the number of dogs that benefit from the service we provide. And there aren’t a lot of jobs like that anywhere in the world.
Maybe you figured it out much sooner than me.
But that, my friend, is the Why. Doing something you love that has meaning and such importance, every day (every day), for the dogs that come into your care - other beautiful living beings with whom we share this planet and our lives.