Overreacting?

Cyberthrasher

Premium
23 Sep 2019
498
California
First Name
Allen
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Male
So I'm not sure if I'm overreacting or not, but I'm kind of stressed out over this crap (this is gonna be long). I started my apprenticeship back in October, going on 6 months now. It's a family shop (mother, daughter, granddaughter) and is the longest running shop in the area, with good work. I always saw my mentor as someone who's skilled in art and business and cares about her customers, so I chose her to approach having been tattooed by her a couple of times.

From day one her daughter taught me setup and tear down - my mentor only designs and tattoos, all other shop tasks are done by her daughter and granddaughter. So, since then, i've been there every day after work and all day Saturday observing her tattooing and doing her setup and teardown exactly as shown. It's gotten to the point where she's realized how little her daughter actually does and feels the pain when I'm not there to keep things stocked and taken care of.

She had my buy my equipment and start practicing and then looked over my practice work to show me where I needed to focus. After about 2 1/2 or 3 months she had me start working on my wife with her supervision. She watched pretty intently on that first one, straying off to her phone a couple of times but overall paying attention to what I was doing. At the 2nd one I did I noticed she wasn't watching as closely. Still standing over my should but not really watching. She did pop in once to ask where my contact screw was set then nodded her head and said OK. At the end she helped me figure out the little things I should address before wrapping it up. The next day she told me what I was doing wrong with my color packing. The 3rd tattoo (2nd on my wife) didn't go too bad, but again she wasn't overly attentive until the end. The 4th had some pretty critical straight lines so she did look really closely while I was doing those and then guided me at the end when I needed to clean up some other aspects that got away from me. So, common theme there - unattentive overall until the end when I ask how it looks.

That last tattoo was March 9th. I still have to work "supervised" and can only do it while there's a hole in her schedule big enough. Well, she's booked out a month or two in advance so I have to wait until someone cancels or does a no-show during the hours that I'm not at my day job. So right now I'm just not getting any time to work on flesh and we all know it's different from practice skin. I don't want to just get good at practice skin because that will do me no good.

Now to the other problem, which is where I might be overreacting. It's come to my attention that she won't say anything to me if she's upset at something I'm doing "wrong" - probably for fear of running me off or something. Well, as I said above, I was shown how to setup and tear down by her daughter who's been working in the shop 19 years now and i do it exactly as I was shown. Remove all the disposable plastic, disassemble machines, dispose of needles, cleaning, etc...... Apparently I'm not supposed to remove the clip cord sleeve and she's really irritated every time she sees me remove it to be changed between clients. WTF!! This is where I was told "she won't say anything to you but we just wipe down with a bleach wipe" The bleach wipes are just clorox disinfectant wipes. When I clearly showed disgust and shock at that, it was followed with "I know, but that's just how we do it. Really those supplies are our biggest expense and she doesn't want to waste them." REALLY???!!! $0.04 is our biggest expense?? A single glove costs more than that! Ok fine, the Clorox wipe "disinfects", but it is NOT a medical grade germicidal. We use Madacide or similar on the machines - and that's it. But that's not even the only thing like that. I've also realized that the piercing tools, although we have an autoclave, are just sprayed with a chemical spray (I don't know what it is) and slipped into an autoclave pouch when they're pulled out of the sterile room for a piercing.

Overall I was already debating whether to start working on myself at home in order to actually get some practice in on my thighs. But now finding out that she's irritated about me being clean I'm just not sure how much longer I'll be able to hang in. I like them all as people and the shop does have an awesome reputation, so if nothing else I can do good just by being there - especially since we have so many walk ins that get turned away. But, although is hasn't happened in 26 years of her career, what's going to happen when one person catches something and traces it back to the shop? What if it were a client that had their setup done by ME and it was because I put a clip cord sleeve on the table that had run through someone else's blood?

Am I really overreacting? I think my frustration over not being able to work (I'm desperate to leave my current career) is probably making it worse for me. And I know I rambled shit, but I also had to vent because I can't really do it anywhere else without possibly effecting me career later.
 

gadsden1776

Premium
8 Oct 2011
367
First Name
n
i don't think your overreacting. i think some people take sanitation too far but if it makes them feel safe & their clients feel safe - i don't say anything.... you can't be too safe.

she, however, is on dangerous ground with all that. they are disposable for a reason. i'm guessing she is violation of the code there. now i am not a fan of codes, laws, regulations - because they are not stopping her from doing what she's doing. however, in this case they could be cited as a reason why you do what you do & she could lose her license. i did my apprenticeship in vegas which was VERY regulated.

as far as her not giving oversight or feedback. another failure on her part imo.

you should talk to her. privately at first. then as a shop if necessary. if that gets you no where, i'd start looking at moving on.
 
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MalligaMallan

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17 Dec 2014
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GASP!!! Why do they even bother cleaning anything if they don't do it all properly??? I wouldn't stay a minute. Honestly.

And how does anyone in that shop know that no client ever got contaminated? Maybe they just never got to know about it.
 

Cyberthrasher

Premium
23 Sep 2019
498
California
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Allen
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Male
Yeah, it's a tough spot and we're such a small area that a reputation can go wrong pretty quick. Unfortunately our state has ZERO regulations. Literally all you need is a sign that says "tattoo" and a business license to pay taxes. I keep on thinking if I tough it out and do my required work after the fact I'll be able to run my side of the shop as I see fit until a good time to move on. But I gotta figure out how to get good enough to do that first. If she actually says something to me about the sleeves I'll definitely respond. So far it's just coming from her grand daughter who's known to 'stretch' the truth, but we've gotten pretty close too and kind of look out for each other so I'm not sure she'd make that up at all.
 

gadsden1776

Premium
8 Oct 2011
367
First Name
n
no regulations in cali? really? wow.

the rest of that is why i say talk to her. sometimes mentors need feeback too. express that your not getting the help or critiques you need or want. that you are HER apprentice & you don't feel like it. her name will be attached to your work once your on your own & it is to her benefit to make you the best you can be.

you can take on the sani stuff by saying that times have changed, protocols refined, standards updated. that for your safety & those of the clientele that you should look at up dating to current best industry practices.

costs are rolled into a tattoo. i'm not turning down a $300 tattoo because my expenses are 42.5 cents more than they could have been. if i'm hurting that bad i'll charge $300.43
 

DKJ

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23 Oct 2017
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thetattooyoyo
Talk to her about your concerns, don't let all that grow into you.
In this discussion, try to separate what is your concern and what you think is their concern.
In doing so, you will look more as caring for their business and not only about your apprenticeship.
As to leaving your actual job, i'd say if you didn't leave it yet it means you can still manage to wait. When it'll be too much, you won't have the opportunity to wait more and will leave it because you can't stand it.
So don't wait too long if you want to see changes quick.

Peace,

DKJ
 

Dzikichrzan

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5 Sep 2018
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@dzikichrzan
Cant say much as i'm totally scratcher working from home but I have never saved on any of these things, WTF clip cord sleeve? Really?... No wonder you are concern ;)
 

soulstare22

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20 Jan 2019
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https://www.instagram.com/lilcatinkportfolio/
Cant say much as i'm totally scratcher working from home but I have never saved on any of these things, WTF clip cord sleeve? Really?... No wonder you are concern ;)

I remember back when I used to use a wrap for my cord and power supply. But then I learned it's pretty common for tattooists to not cover their machines. I remember reading it on this site actually.

And hey if ur not gonna wrap your machines, what's the point of wrapping the cord or power supply?

I never really understood why you would wrap the cable without wrapping the machine. Cable gets dirty, but machine gets even dirtier. If tattooing was actually government regulated wrapping the machine should definitely be a requirement.

So I don't cover my cord or power supply now, and just wipe it down very thoroughly with alcohol after. So much more convenient, the fucking plastic wrap always got in the way and it's like just one more annoying thing that I don't need while I am permanently altering someone's body.

total health code violation (actually is it?), but no one cares in china, and as u say im a scratcher free lancer working out of my living room.

I keep my work station immaculately clean, but the plastic was always annoying af.
 
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Cyberthrasher

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23 Sep 2019
498
California
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Allen
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So I don't cover my cord or power supply now, and just wipe it down very thoroughly with alcohol after. So much more convenient, the fucking plastic wrap always got in the way and it's like just one more annoying thing that I don't need while I am permanently altering someone's body.
I don't understand why people wrap their cables and not their machines either. It makes no sense in my head. The clip cord sleeve is there because it rubs on clients and catches microscopic splatter. If it's hitting the clip cord, it's definitely hitting the machine.
 

Cyberthrasher

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23 Sep 2019
498
California
First Name
Allen
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Well, nothing on the sanitary issues, but she asked me last night if I have anyone scheduled for the week. I have to find holes in her schedule, there aren't any until the end of June. Of course I don't have anyone scheduled. So I asked if I still need her to be standing there and we agreed that I should just schedule people when I can and she'd pop her head in. That means I can at least get to work now and start actually making some progress.
 

TexasPT

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9 Dec 2011
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tattoo world seems to be 50/50 on clip cord covers. Those who don't use them give them a madicide wipe...those who do, don't need to. Same with bagging/wrapping machines.

She's not wrong...maybe wrong chemical to wipe, but she's not off base.

I'd present to her that you were curious if you could tattoo when the daughter is available to watch. As far as attentiveness...we let our apprentice to her own devices to make mistakes. we swing by, but don't hover. She has to put into action the coaching she gets and we need to see what mistakes she gravitates towards.

my .02
 

MalligaMallan

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17 Dec 2014
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@tattoo.morth.art
tattoo world seems to be 50/50 on clip cord covers. Those who don't use them give them a madicide wipe...those who do, don't need to. Same with bagging/wrapping machines.

So what you're basically saying is that nothing but needles actually needs to be covered, and still can be reused. Anything you use, except for needles, can be cleaned enough for next client by wiping it with a disinfectant chemical.

Why does it stop at machine and cord? Why cover the trolley? Why cover the bottles? Why cover the bench? Why cover anything at all? Why not rinse the ink cups and wipe them with a chemical?

How come autoclaving was so essential 3 years ago, and now suddenly wiping with some chemical is enough? (Maybe you didn't ever claim autoclaving was essential, but a lot of people did, on this forum and everywhere else).

Or am I missing something?
 
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DKJ

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thetattooyoyo
So what you're basically saying is that nothing but needles actually needs to be covered, and still can be reused. Anything you use, except for needles, can be cleaned enough for next client by wiping it with a disinfectant chemical.

Why does it stop at machine and cord? Why cover the trolley? Why cover the bottles? Why cover the bench? Why cover anything at all? Why not rinse the ink cups and wipe them with a chemical?

How come autoclaving was so essential 3 years ago, and now suddenly wiping with some chemical is enough? (Maybe you didn't ever claim autoclaving was essential, but a lot of people did, on this forum and everywhere else).

Or am I missing something?
I guess it depends a lot on the sanitary rules & regulations of each country/state.
In France, if you want to tattoo professionally, you have to follow and suceed at a 3 days sanitary course.
You can't open a parlor without it and without a studio adapted to these rules. If you're caught, you're getting a big "fraud bill" and even jail time if a client is harmed.

Our rules are quite strict here, so you have to clean everything, cover everything, and/or use disposable gear and parts.

Peace,

DKJ
 

TexasPT

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9 Dec 2011
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@marknovak5572
So what you're basically saying is that nothing but needles actually needs to be covered, and still can be reused. Anything you use, except for needles, can be cleaned enough for next client by wiping it with a disinfectant chemical.

Why does it stop at machine and cord? Why cover the trolley? Why cover the bottles? Why cover the bench? Why cover anything at all? Why not rinse the ink cups and wipe them with a chemical?

How come autoclaving was so essential 3 years ago, and now suddenly wiping with some chemical is enough? (Maybe you didn't ever claim autoclaving was essential, but a lot of people did, on this forum and everywhere else).

Or am I missing something?
The CORRECT chemical. Not lysol, or alcohol...or hot water. But Madicide and Cavicide (same chemicals used in hospital sanitation) will kill the yuck. Barrier methods are a great way to protect areas/items. I use clip cord covers, plastic over my machine, barriers between my finger and the buttons on my power supply...anywhere I can really. I cover my armrest...I cover my bed...but I still wipe it all down with cavicide after each usage.

what if I accidentally hit an exposed part of my clipcord on a fresh tattoo...should I throw it away? Is it garbage now or can I sterilize it with an effective chemical? What if I touch table leg? The floor? My watch? What if my glove breaks and I get blood on my wedding band?? The idea is that there are effective ways to make these items safe again. Whether or not you decide to barrier them is up to you...but the reality is they are not garbage if exposed. They simply need to be cleaned effectively.

I'm not 100% versed in laws, or a master of sanitation study. But this is my take on it. Safety first for myself and my clients. Not bagging isn't lazy or dangerous...it simply means you have to work harder and more focused to get ready for your next client.
 

Cyberthrasher

Premium
23 Sep 2019
498
California
First Name
Allen
Gender
Male
I'd present to her that you were curious if you could tattoo when the daughter is available to watch. As far as attentiveness...we let our apprentice to her own devices to make mistakes. we swing by, but don't hover. She has to put into action the coaching she gets and we need to see what mistakes she gravitates towards.

my .02
Yeah, I'm fine with that setup, which is how I learn best and how we're working now. Her requiring that she be present but not even doing anything was just keeping me from learning anything. I have the feeling she expected me to just "know" that I didn't need her around anymore even though it was her requirement to begin with.

As far as the cord sleeves go, since she hasn't said anything to me personally I'm just going to keep on changing them. I'd she says something, at that time I'll ask out of confusion what the difference is between that and the machine bags that get changed everything rather than just cleaned.
 

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