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.

Tipping is a Spa Girl’s BF

From the moment I stepped into working and officially making money, I had inadvertently stepped myself into the world of the service industry. And, that world brought about my first experience with tips and how they are so important to not only my lifestyle, but for me to actually be able to pay bills and have enough money to barely get out of the poor bracket.

Tips, I have been told by those outside of the service industry, are a gift. They are not required. They are a special something, something for a job well done. Or, even if the job is well done, the tip may not reflect that.

As a dog groomer, a bather/brusher to be more exact, it really was an extra little bonus to get tip. I’d be working on the short-haired dogs that didn’t need to be trimmed or anything, like labs, Rottweilers, great danes, and many other different breeds. The groomers who actually cut, trimmed, and worked on the longer haired dogs got tipped a lot more consistently, though I don’t think ever as much as I’ve seen it within a spa.

Some places pay differently for doing a service. Some people work with commission, which may be 20%-30%-40% off of the price of the service (if not more). Me, I personally work with an hourly base, and tips literally have become my bread and butter. I rarely see cash tips, because I think about 90-95% of my clients tip with credit.

We get this thing called a ‘tip sheet’ that tells us the clients name and how much they tipped. I used to study this like I was going to be quizzed on it later, and memorize all of it, until I realized it was making me crazy. And, it was affecting what I thought of a client, building up resentment, and causing me a lot more harm than good. So, now I force myself to scan over it quickly, seeing how much it was altogether, and I try not to read it, reread it, see who tipped the most, the least, comparing it, and all that.

I try to tell myself some people may not know how much tipping means, some people may not have enough money to give a big tip, or decent one, for that matter. And that I should just appreciate everything that’s given to me. Of course, easier said than done. Some weeks may be amazing with tips, and other times it may just may just be a terrible week with $5-$10 tips.

Being within the service industry it’s all about making the customer, the client, 100% happy, all the time, every time, going above and beyond what you’re asked. Now, I’m all about giving my all to each and every client, changing my style to fit what they might need, but not every client will be happy afterwards. There will be a .1% that you will try your damnedest to get them to relax, to give them all you ask and more, yet they will still not accept it. They are unhappy people who may try to make you just as miserable as they are.

Those kinds of clients are few and far between. Which, is a good thing, because they are super frustrating and draining. I like to dub them ‘energy vampires.’ They just suck the life right from you! Their way of tipping can be hit or miss too, but mainly a miss.

So, when you hand over a tip, don’t be surprised if you see me salivate a bit. I can’t help it. It’s like with a dog and you open up that bag of food, and they stand there and stare up at you like, “Hey, hey, come on… I know you got it! I know you wanna give it to me. Now, now, now, now … yes!” That’s totally me, I can’t stop myself, my eyes might glaze over slightly and I try to play cool, but it’s not easy. Cash tips aren’t taxed, so I love them even more especially when they are put right in my hand. I’m tempted to get a tattoo on the inside of my arm that says “Tip me, pretty please!” but that might just be a tad bit overkill. Err, just a tinch.