Why isn’t this a career?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnyone who has been reading this blog for a while may know about my profession which had started out as a job, and over the years evolved into a passion. This would be my profession as a massage therapist, which I did on a whim because it was one of the few careers I could enter without having to do math. I’ve never been one to dream of being something as a little kid, I never played the game of, “when I grow up I wanna be…

So many people who entered the same class as me ended up dropping out. How many, you might ask? Well, more than half the class dropped out and there were so few of us that we were told if anyone else dropped out our class couldn’t graduate.

My classmates that did complete the class and graduated didn’t get their massage licenses. From what I know and the times we checked up there wasn’t anyone who was practicing… Except for me.

I must admit getting a job in this career as a new therapist was one of the toughest things I went through. Completing massage school was equaling difficult, as noted by my fellow classmates quitting the program. I haven’t come across many therapists who consistently do this as a job fulltime. On that same note I haven’t come across massage therapists in this profession full-time for several years. It seems to be that thing you do on the side with another part-time job.

I know why this seems to be the case, massage is physically taxing, but in addition to that it is mentally exhausting at times. I’ve noticed since my move the clientele have been much more relaxed, calmer, and very polite to work with. It is a totally different clientele, and I really did love my clientele where I came from, but they are just so different. Performing deep tissue massage is now more of a rarity than a necessity, and my body is feeling so much better because of this.

lilypadGiving massage is my relaxation time, my quiet time, you could even say my time to mediate and clear my head of thoughts that keep on circulating in my head. I never imagined this career wold evolve into something I love, but I do truly enjoy it. There are many other people in my career who see this as a stepping stone, a sort of means to an end, for them to work toward the ‘dream‘ career they’ve been waiting for.

My family doesn’t believe I should look at my job as a career, something I will do for years and years. My mother wants me to get my bachelor degree… In what I have no clue and refuse to throw so much money out there without a clue of what I’m going after. My brother thinks this career is too taxing on me as well and has asked me what will I do for a job when I injure myself? My husband used to agree with them in the beginning when I’d come home exhausted physically and mentally. Luckily, he supports me with my decision and my passion in this career.

I have sometimes entertained the thought of what other passions I’d love to do as a career: marine biology, teaching in science, anything to do with science, insects, animals, becoming a vet, physical therapist, a massage instructor, and even the idea of becoming a nurse. There are options when I think about other stuff that holds my interest and I have always loved the excuse to learn more.

I have been doing this career for four years, and you’d think it’d get mundane and tedious, yet when I come to work I’m looking forward to it. I’d like to learn more styles of massage, different ways of doing it, and it’s just so much fun to see someone feeling better because of my work.

Being your own boss

013I think that a lot of the people who join my career, or end up in massage school, do it because it sounds like the perfect situation to be your own boss. They want to do it with the idea of going out there with their massage table, pocketing all the money for themselves, and making their own schedule. I also believe I am one of the few people in my career who got into the spa/salon setting and said to themselves, “heck, I think I really love being an employee, having coworkers, and having this all done for me, I’m not interested in going off on my own. “

As I kept on massaging, and building up a client base, and I started to hear more and more clients asking me if I did massage outside of the spa. Some would really push me and see if I’d go to their house, and I said always a definitive “No” to their prodding me. I was extremely loyal to the spa I worked at and just couldn’t see myself driving around with my massage table… I can’t even drive myself to a new place without doing a test run to find out where I’m going.

So, fast forward to now, where for some odd reason I’ve gotten more calls/interviews as a new massage therapist back home than when I’ve moved here. Actually, out of all the resumes I’ve sent I haven’t had a single call call back since I’ve started hunting which has been for months.

That’s the thing about massage, it’s convenience, that all you need is a table, and your hands, plus clients and you are ready. I’m lucky to have my husband work at a big corporation and his coworkers have been asking if I do massage, and if I’d massage them, and this has me seriously thinking by now. There are so many things that scare me about being on my own for massage, getting clientele, having them pay you, finding their home, what equipment do I need, and so many more questions.

If it was super easy every new therapist would massage on their terms and take all of the money for themselves. I know there is overhead, but I don’t know what kind if you are going to a clients house. Honestly, I don’t even know what to charge for a massage to make it easy to build a clientele up, but not sell myself literally short. I know I sound like a new therapist and I don’t sound like someone who has been doing this for four years, but all I’ve had to do is show up at work, check the schedule in the break room, go to my room to set it up and massage.

I think I am really considering this, throwing my massage table in my car, turning on my gps, and taking on a few of my husbands coworkers as my possible clients. I don’t think I’d have a ton of money coming in, but at least a little would be trickling in and it might help me to build back up my confidence. I am really wishing there was an easy book that told me everything I needed to do this, but it seriously is the unknown for me.

This whole move is about the unknown for me, and I have tried to embrace the new changes. With this new year coming at me I wonder what I will be pushing myself to do.

I hate my job, that’s just not me

Have you ever thought to yourself, “I hate my job! I hate working! I wish I never worked another day in my life, wouldn’t that be the life? Just doing whatever you want, whenever you want, not working for the man?”

Of course, for me I only worked for the ‘man’ once, mainly I’ve worked in an all woman environment with my careers. Well, I am living your dream right now, and probably my co-workers dreams too. For the first time in years I am without a job, without a schedule, I don’t have my magnificent room and I am not seeing any clients for massage.

While I feel like I have my roots in the ground a little with being married to the hubby, finally having him there after 2 months of being separated, you know I’m adrift without a job. One of my girls from work texted me and asked me how “the free life without work” was? So, this is free? Not having a passion to work for, not having a team, co-workers, to kid around with? Not being one of the oldest people in seniority to tease the new people and put them under my wing if they are working in my Spa?

Where I worked at was amazing to me with my last two weeks, which of course made the heartbreak worse because you know I thought they’d hate me. I got cards from clients, gifts, cards from my managers I worked with, free hair and make-up on my wedding day, even though officially I wasn’t even an employee even more. I called them from the car as me and the hubby made our way to the airport because I realized in our rush I hadn’t paid for anything! I was told I didn’t have to, it was covered.

I probably would have cried again but I didn’t, there was still too much to do. I’ve become what I’ve always sworn I would never be, I’m become somewhat domesticated.  While the man is gone I clean, I organized, do dishes, and have even cooked very simple dishes so that when he gets home the food is ready for him. I have to do something to earn my keep, and even though I’m jobless, I have more than enough money to go without a job for months and months, even with paying my monthly bills. I have saved a lot of money from when I was working, and when I did have a job I only spent out of necessity, almost never for pleasure.

I didn’t realize how certain days I’d be feeling almost useless without having the structure of a job to make me feel accomplishment. It’s not even about the money that I make, though I know many people have said that. It’s about the teamwork I have with all of the departments, hair, nails, spa, and being the go-to person for when things fall apart in the Spa.

I like being on the ground floor for when a place opens, it’s how I’ve worked as a dog groomer and as a massage therapist. Now, I will be going into an established Salon/Spa with their people who have been there for years and I will be the new person. I just hope my good karma for always being nice to people who came to my work will be in my favor. I know how people can get when you are new, especially in an all-girl environment. It can be a jungle out there, only the fittest survives.

How do you even give your 2 weeks notice?

To tell you the truth, I don’t even know how I’m going to do this. I have only quit one other job in my life and it was after 2 years, nearly 3 years working there. This, is so much more difficult than that because I truly don’t want to leave my work. I love my work, I love my co-workers, I love my room I work on, I love my clients I see and that are my repeats, I am very happy at the career I’m at and where I have been working for going on 3 years.

They’ve been very kind to me and I’ve just started to get my feet wet in training and being a coach. I held my own class which went so well and I loved every minute of it as long as I wasn’t planning and being nervous about it beforehand. They’ve always been so understanding when I’ve needed time off, or I’ve gotten sick, or my stupid ankle has gone out yet again.

They are a great company and though they aren’t perfect all the time, neither am I. I really do love them and I’m very passionate for not only where I work, but just all of my co-workers who are my fellow employees. I’ve been so sad, heartbroken really, to think about the coming probability of leaving and what I’m going to say to them.

I don’t know what to say to them, I don’t know how I’m going to say this.
The mere thought of leaving makes me cry. I’ve cried in my sleep thinking about it, cried at home, cried in the car, I’ve ended up crying even when I tell myself not to. And, I don’t want to become a blubbering fool, but I’m unfortunately aware of the fact I will become that fool once I start talking about it. You’d think moving away from my family would be difficult, and it is, and I’m sure it’ll only hit me that thousands of miles separate us when I finally am moved down there. But, I know I will try to see my family as often as I can. And, the main family member I’m afraid I won’t see as much as I’d like is my brother because of his work and wanting to multi-task with doing things when he comes down to see me.

This was my first job out of massage school and they took me on as a new therapist and when I had the least amount of confidence in my career. The place I work at feels like a second family, and I feel like I’m going to be leaving my second family.

I know this is the best thing for my fiancée, and it has to be the best thing for me too. He loves his new job and now has people underneath him and is a true manager. I’ve never moved so far away in my life and I’m terrified, and I think what I’m most afraid of all is finding another job where I’m as passionate about where I work at. I can’t compromise and take any place, because I need to love what I do, where I work at, so I can be the best employee I can be. I want to push myself to the limits and keep on growing in what I do and I can’t do that if I don’t enjoy where I work at.

Knock on my shell and maybe I’ll let you in

I’m grappling with something, mainly my resistance to connect with the people I consider my friends from work and at the same time a strong feeling to spend time with them. I know what I’m doing but I don’t know the answer to what I want. I’m protecting myself, like I’ve always done since I was just a kid. I’m making an attempt to push people away, to sever the ties prematurely and have them just see me on my work days where I can easily fake it until I make it. There isn’t any chance anyone would pick up on my dilemma, my fear, sadness, and apprehension about my move.

I don’t feel like I can keep that brave face going if someone was anyone with me for an extended time. I’m afraid I’d crack, and I’m not allowing myself to crack until the bitter end and when I finally do have to let people know I’m leaving.

I know that I am at least going to try to take out one of my Spa girls out for her birthday and I had this planned way before I knew I was going to move. I’m planning on taking it easy on the drinks because I’ve noticed alcohol is no help whatsoever for me keeping secrets.

There is a bit of a dilemma I’m having. A couple of the girls at work know I’ve been battling with wedding dresses and they want to help me out on my quest. One of the girls is the gal who is going to be throwing my bachlorette party (and she requested the day off work), the other is my friend who I first told my engagement. Both girls want to help me search for wedding dresses, both think that they are more up to the job than the other girl. Which kind of gets me to laugh since they are so adamant they are the best pick to go shopping with me, when I warned the both of them I am a beast when it comes to shopping. I am not a girl when it comes to shopping, I get depressed and angry clothes shopping and it gets even worse when dresses are involved.

My one friend our schedules seem to mesh for with her coming with me for dress shopping, while the other gal our schedules are completely opposite and unless if she took a day off work there’d be no way we could do it. I’m thinking about proposing a wedding dress adventure maybe this coming week, but I don’t want my one friend to get upset about it. It’s just we have opposite work schedules, she works nights, while my one friend and I both have the same day off so that’d be easier.

I never thought getting a dress for my wedding would be such a big deal. I thought I’d find that it’d be an easier time since I don’t have to have an actual, white wedding dress. I’m pretty sure the color is not an issue, I’m okay with something that looks good on me. The problem is trying to find that one dress that really looks good on.

Can I just…? No!

I will admit it, yesterday was a rather rough day. Besides not meeting my retail goal, not selling to a single client the past two days, being completely booked, having someone steal a client from me to sell them retail (happens more often than you think) I was feeling like getting the hell out of there. I was at my limit, feeling worn, torn, under appreciated, and ready to run to my ‘weekend’ without working.

Then, it happens … I’m cleaning up, minding my own business, shutting things down, when I hear a voice.

First off, I thought I was alone, so lucky thing I wasn’t singing, or cursing at the sky, or anything like that. I turn around and see one of the front desk girls poking her head in my room. I’m not going to lie, she’s off the clock, on her day off, and my eyebrows probably raised and then turned into a scowl after she asked her question.

“Oh, wow, look at you, you’re open, you’re never open. I was just wondering, you know, if you had a minute, you could do like a 10 minute chair massage on me?” 

 Huh, hmmmm, I didn’t even think of my response. I just blurted it straight out, with eyebrows well-knit together in a what-the-hell-are-you-thinking look that said I am so done with this day! I basically said back to her what came to mind,

My shift was over like 50 minutes ago and I’m only here because I’m cleaning up, and then heading home. No, I’m sorry, I can’t do your chair massage because I’m over my shift.”

I don’t think she expected to be turned down, I don’t think she’d have it in me to do it. Yeah, I do, especially with a day where your mother comes in to get her hair done and says basically you are the worst daughter ever. Complains to everyone with an open ear how she just never massages you, and even though she does when you don’t tick her off, you don’t say anything good about her. You mainly complain about how she puts restrictions on what you say (Don’t talk about the man traveling, us moving, anything to do with him whatsoever) and later on tries to guilt you even further with the girl who is throwing your bachlorette party.

My mom tells me health issues with my friend who is throwing it and I don’t know how to react it. I know she’s pregnant, and her health isn’t the best, but she was the one who came to me to say her and a friend of mine are doing it. And my mother asked her if she still wanted to do the party, which she has asked many, many times to me.

If she didn’t want to do the party she wouldn’t offer. I’m done talking about it and if they want to do it, that’s fine, if they want to back out, that’s fine too. I didn’t ask for a party. I never once said to anyone, hey, why don’t you throw me a party? I don’t like anyone doing anything for me because I never want to owe that person a favor. Either way I’m getting baby gifts for my one friend and I bugged her to post an online registry because I need to get her gifts before I have to move. I’d rather do things for the people I care about just because I feel like it.

Hit the Reset Button and I’m ready!

I feel like Sundays are the perfect day for re-setting my body and the perfect break to a crazy weekend. It’s like hitting a little red button that tells me everything is okay, and the perfect little buffer to keep on doing this career. I’ve been working on this day for the past few weeks so I have to admit that even though the money I’ve made picking up this day makes me salvate, I recognize it’s a good day to have off.

And, I must admit, making extra money gets me to salvate enough that I’m probably drooling a bit. But, having this day off does give my body, arms, hands, and back a chance to breathe and not hate me as much.

My weekend had me at 90% booked for the day so I was working hard for my money! Luckily, my clients I had were about medium to firm pressure which is just like perfection for me. Not too light that I can’t find where their tension is, the pain, and I can’t work things out, but not so hard that I’m mainly sweating my butt off. I feel like I can relax with them in the massage and at the end of it especially I can just stop thinking, stop wondering what’s next, and massage with a clear head. If the pressure is extremely tense it’s hard for me to breathe and I can’t relax if I can’t breathe during a massage. I mainly tense up, hold my breath, and switch to my elbow if my hands start aching.

It’s not as easy as it sounds with switching to my elbow. I seem to have a very pointy elbow and generally reserve it for deep tissue massages (mainly guys) who I can’t deliver the pressure with thumbs, fists, and fingers alone. I should be using it more often, but have always felt uncomfortable with transitioning to it. I don’t know why I have such a complex against it, yet I do.

Nothing quite compares to the moment where my head clears at the end and I’m just massaging.

I’m not thinking about my lunch, I’m not thinking about my next client, I’m just breathing deeply and feeling and trying to connect with where they have tension. It’s a moment where I listen to my body to see where the strain is, adjust it, and keep going to stay my most relaxed. I’m also not watching the clock, yet at the same time I’m in tune to it. This is where five minutes of the massage will feel like just one minute, and you can kind of get lost in the moment of what you’re doing.

Having a not caring nonchalant attitude

He's got the idea of it!

Sometimes I do wish that I could be like my brother. I’ve been thinking this thought with my growing and well hidden guilt I feel with my work situation. Working at a Spa/Salon is a little bit different of an environment than most. While most work places not only expect, appreciate, and want you to give them a 2 weeks notice, at a Spa/Salon it is a death sentence. There is this problem of clients and you might possibly steal them so normally if you are still moving around within the state you will be told to not work your 2 weeks.

If you do tell them about it, and you are moving, like my case, thousands of miles away this doesn’t mean you are in the clear. Just recently two girls at my work who had been there for 2 years, and another for longer than that, moved out-of-state. The one gave 2 weeks notice, worked it, moved away. There were some shifts that she was called in not to work, but it was 2 weeks and luckily that didn’t have to last for too long. The other girl gave them more than 2 weeks notice and her hours were cut, she was told not to come in, and she got very upset about it. The father of her child was far away from where she lived so she had to move to be closer to him.

They weren’t keeping her for her shifts. She would get sent home sometimes 4 hours or so early. New clients were moved from her books to another service provider since she was going to be leaving and they wanted the client to have someone to go to who would still be there.

So, I know how this works. I understand, once I give them my notice, I am literally roadkill that eventually needs to be picked up off of the road and moved out. See, I don’t want the fact that I’m moving to compromise what they think of me, shorten my shifts, or make me give any less than what I’m giving now. For all they know I will be here for just as long of a time as I have been there, and I would, it’s just my fiancee had a better opportunity for a job miles away. He actually thanked me when we were talking on the phone and I was driving home from work for letting him pursue this job which gives him the ability to grow and get promotions.

But, hiding this from my work has given me quite a bit of guilt, even though I know it’s for the best. Every time I talk about the wedding and our date I feel this pang in my heart at the thought of leaving.

I was talking to my brother about it and he just shrugged his shoulders at me. His exact words were, “It’s a job. It’s not your life.” He just looked at it so nonchalantly, like there was no question whether or not I should be getting upset. The answer was I shouldn’t be getting upset, I shouldn’t care because it’s a job. My brother has always jumped from one job to another. When he does leave a job, he gets excited about it and he can’t wait to get out of there. He’s never been tied to one job in his life, and I’ve tied to at least two. My first job as a dog groomer, and this job as a massage therapist. It’s not just it being a job, it’s the people I work with.

It’s my clients I enjoy seeing, and more importantly my co-workers. My little estheticians who I always peek into their rooms when I come  for my shifts. With how much I laugh when I’m at work, and how much fun I can have, I can’t feel okay about leaving. But, I know I have to be because it’s happening one way or another.

100% booked all the way, baby!

For the past month it seems every single day I’ve been like 100% booked for each one of my shifts, even on the weekday. Now, I’m not complaining, mind you, because I’d rather be busy than doing stupid stuff to keep busy or rather than being sent home early.  I like being busy and massaging for my whole day, plus it’s just nice to be consistently busy so I’m not holding my breath all day waiting for the manager to say, “You can go home if you want to.”

Today was the first day I didn’t have to eat my lunch within 5-10 minutes and run back to the Spa to get my room set up again. I actually got to take my time and eat, which I definitely savored and enjoyed.

I get a break now which is helpful because my arms and my hands aren’t holding up that well to being so busy. My hands have started to ache when I’m massaging and they are cramping after I massage when I grab something. I’ve been having clients who need firm to deep pressure consistently and I’m noticing my body is screaming uncle!

Tomorrow is my glaucoma testing and we will see what they find out. I’m nervous and anxious, yet I just want to get this out-of-the-way. I will try to schedule the laser eye surgery to help with the pressure in my eyes after they do the testing.

It’s hard to find but great to keep

I felt like the biggest idiot ever today. Why? Because I forgot about our meeting that we had for our massage department and the manager told me that she missed me at the meeting. And, I totally forgot that it was today, early in the morning, and just came in today like there was no meeting. I absolutely hate disappointing people and it goes for double that when it comes to my professional life.

I did share with that same manager, who is the owner of the place, what has been going on lately.

You know, with my mom having skin cancer and I started to tear up and kept the tears in my eyeballs. My voice broke though as I was telling her and I told her that I’d let her know as we found out more but I might have to take off a Monday if we can’t schedule it on a Thursday.

Which she said, Sarah, of course you can have the time off to be with your mom in the surgery if it falls on your work day. Which kind of helped me to feel better that I don’t have to stress whether they may or may not be able to give me the time off to be with her. My father is the dope, and ditto for my brother, I tend to know how to handle hospital situations and I’m a very good patient caretaker. Plus, my brother is so much farther than us, and has a new job, so it’d be difficult for him.

It’s just good to have my manager understand what I’m being put through (some of it, not the whole moving and everything, that’s a new level of stress, a different one I won’t be talking about) and that she will let me have the time off if I need it.