Every year a new group of graduates exit local and national schools with one thought:
‘It’s time to make this pay off!’
One thing they all have in common is the desire to be as successful as possible in whatever capacity they choose. For most, this success is measured largely in financial scales. Making the most money they can, working for the highest star resort possible to maximize commissions and earnings, or maybe even starting their own practice and reaping the rewards of all the profits, (after applicable taxes of course). With this incentive in mind, it is commendable to have this drive yet caution should be taken that the purpose of massage therapy isn’t forgotten.
When I graduated from the nationally accredited program at Kaplan College in Palm Springs, I was class valedictorian, a near 4.0 GPA student with the accolades and admirations that went along with that. This could have set me up to expect the best possible scenario for financial success.
Being the sole bread-winner for the family did put some pressure on me to be successful in this regard. However, the career department never sugar coated the fact that we may not land the perfect job right off the bat. I have always been a glass-half-full optimist, but I also permit myself to give in to reason. Especially so since in the time it took for me to start my course, to the time I graduated, the economy took a severe nosedive and the secular world was considerably harsher than when I began.
I took a job at a 3-star resort to begin with and it gave me a good start in experiencing how a spa works. I also took a job at the well known national franchise chain Massage Envy, all the while trying to build up a business of my own. I was in danger of ‘burn-out’ so I gave up one to free up some time. Many will have expected me to stay with the resort with higher commissions in a higher status spa. But after talking with a client I came to a conclusion, a simple complimentary comment re-focused my reasons for doing what I do.
“There is a difference between a masseur and a therapist, and you’re a therapist!”
I was obviously grateful for the compliment but then I thought, ‘that’s why I got into this field in the first place’ . To ‘help’ people, and make them feel good all at the same time.’ Success, to me, is knowing that what you do has positive results. This is true in all aspects of life. It’s good to set your sights high and reach for the stars. But don’t consider it a failure if you have to use a step-stool or pit-stop along the way.
A destination can only be reached if you are willing to make the journey. So many clients I see have been unsatisfied with the quality of treatments they get at high class resorts. Of course they are going to be pampered and put on a pedestal. But it can become painfully apparent that they are only being spoiled for the sizeable tip the therapist hopes to achieve. It’s sad to hear therapists say that a client is going to get a ‘sub-standard’ massage because they “didn’t tip very well last time”.
It isn’t a reflection on your abilities if you work at a lower paying facility. I don’t expect to be at Massage Envy forever. I consider it a necessary stepping stone to bigger and better things. Plus, I am gaining valuable experience as my own business grows. Knowing how a ‘successful’ company as this became such, is vital when it comes to my own business plan.
Don’t sell yourself short, but don’t throw all your eggs in one basket either. If you are a good therapist, then your abilities will be recognized and rewarded. If you have the opportunity to move up the ladder, go for it! But if you have to sit and take in the scenery for a while then be as successful as you can wherever you land.
Good health and success to all!