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Eric Nelson, Teara Perry


ICON TATTOOING: LEADING THROUGH AN APPRENTICESHIP Sarah has been working at Icon Tattooing & Piercings in Blue Springs, Missouri for almost 4 years. She started working at the shop to earn her license in piercing, a process that takes anywhere from 6 months to a year depending on the shop owners and how quickly the apprentice can learn skills necessary to safely and efficiently pierce or tattoo customers. The owners, John and Lisa, promised Sarah that she would be fully licensed within her first year of working for them. The process took nearly 4 years, far longer than promised, and as the years have passed the shop has taken part in what Sarah feels are numerous illegal acts. Aggression towards all of their employees has become a more common response from John and Lisa and has created a hostile work environment. Now that she has obtained her license Sarah is unsure of how to approach John and Lisa about what to do next in her career. Sarah does not want to step on their toes and does not want to come across as ungrateful, she values the experience gained through working at Icon. What should she do now that she has received her apprenticeship? How should she approach Lisa and John's about their actions? Should she just leave and continue with her life and find a new shop? This critical incident is useful in undergraduate hospitality, organizational behavior or leadership courses focused on accountability, creating credibility, and/or developing early career leading skills. The incident engages learners to discuss the complexities of leading immediate superior(s).