So you wanted to be a hot-shot wrapper huh?
I am angry, so forgive me if I rant. You gave notice after only two weeks on the job and then really screwed me when you didn’t even show up the next day. I know why you quit; it was hard work, harder than you thought it was going to be. The funny thing is, you worked an easy position and never even worked on a crunch project, funny right? The sad thing is you don’t even know how hard it really is, or what it truly means to be a wrapper.
It’s not all your fault; they didn’t really prepare you for this in school did they? They didn’t warn you that being a great wrapper requires first being a great helper. They didn’t tell you about the sacrifices you have to make, the hard work, the hours, the dedication, the commitment, the lack of sleep, they didn’t warn you. You thought you would start up and be like Jim Miller or Justin Pate in a couple years, that’s all it should take right?
I know, I know, learning how to use your knife, trim a good line, or learning how to properly clean your surface is boring. It’s way cooler to get right to wrapping bumpers and showing off Instagram photos of perfect corners right? I’m too old school anyway, no perfectly plotted templates, no wrapping with 3 more people to help you out, no 250 specialty tools, boring really. Who wants to learn how to properly set knifeless tape or practice how to efficiently weed & mask graphics, so boring and tedious.
Well, I need to tell you a few things. One day, just maybe, you will be a lead wrapper or own your own shop somewhere. You will need to train and motivate the people who work for you, guide them, lead them, teach them, and inspire them. One day, you will spend more time looking at a profit-and-loss statement than you do your next car lay. You will miss prepping your kit, making a plan of attack, dry fitting the first side, even sharpening your squeegee edge. You will spend time in marketing meetings, staff meetings, partners meetings, vendor meetings, all kinds of meetings. You will spend more time in the office than you really want to; spend time outside of the shop promoting your business, do marketing, engage in social media, agonize over film and labor costs, kiss your significant other goodbye while they sleep because you have to be at the shop early for some insane reason, and somewhere in there make sure you are delivering top-notch wraps. You will miss weddings, birthday parties, graduations, all kinds of things. You will alienate your friends and family because you don’t write or call enough. There are no sick days, personal days, breaks; this is not like a 9-to-5 job; get over it.
Get ready for years of sacrifice, hard work, and stress. Learn as much as you can, read everything, ask questions, write things down, save your money, show up to work early and offer to stay late, come to work on your day off just to learn how to attack a section differently or watch a new technique video. Try everything you can, over and over, and ask other wrappers so many questions they get annoyed.
Take care of yourself and sleep as much as you can and skip after-work drug/liquor binging, so you wake up ready and on time. Travel and experience another shops if you can, wrap with them, attend the industry events. Learn to appreciate the time you have right now, enjoy the ride, the process, don’t be in a hurry to be the world’s best wrapper or make a lot of money. It’s not about that and it never will be unless you are exceptionally talented and lucky. There is only one Rob Ivers or Marcio Oliveira or Joffrey Van Der Jagt or Dan Antonelli, and they all have worked extremely hard to get where they are and continue to do so. Enjoy all the crap that comes with this life, embrace it, learn to thrive on it.
One day, when you are a wrap shop owner, there will be an epiphany so powerful you will have to sit down. You will understand everything every trainer or former boss yelled at you; you will understand why we work the way we do; you will understand why our profession is so wonderful, so unique, and it will hit you hard. I can’t tell when or where this will happen but I promise you it will if you work hard and keep your head down and do what your more experienced wrap family tells you.
So keep this in mind when I give you a hard time and push you, criticize you and refuse that day-off request. Maybe the next job you have, you will suck it up instead of leaving them short-handed with a 50 vehicle fleet starting the next day.
(Full disclosure & credit that I didn’t originally write this in total. I sourced the base structure from a respected chef by the name of Marcus Meacham and modified it to fit our wrap industry lives. The basic premise resonated very strongly with me as I saw it applying so, so well with our wrap journey)