Finding a position as a professional Massage Therapist was not easy for me. The school I attended was a great school and I loved that they helped with job placement. In fact my instructor owned his own spa and offered me a position. Unfortunately I was moving about an hour and a half away to be closer to my family. I planned to commute only until graduation then find a job closer to where I would be living. My school only helped with job placement within it’s own area so I wasn’t able to receive the help. I basically made things a bit more challenging for myself.
After finishing my education, I applied at every Chiropractor and Spa in the area I moved to. I wasn’t having much luck. Most of every business hired only from a certain massage school that they were familiar with and of course it was within their area. They were also only hiring Therapists from referrals only, so me being new to the area, not knowing anyone was very difficult.
I was also a single mom so I needed to find steady income right away. After not having any luck from applying to places within my field of work, I began to apply at every store in the mall. Then to my relief I finally received a call from a Chiropractors office. I was ecstatic! I could finally begin my career.
My First Career Job Experience
My first Chiropractic Massage Therapy job was going great. I was building clientele and building great relationships with the staff and other Therapists.
Life was great until the Dr.’s business partner was busted for insurance fraud. Luckily the Dr. himself was not included, in fact he’s the one that reported her. So it didn’t affect the business and we were able to stay in open.
We hired in a new front desk clerk that ended up becoming one of my closest friends. She made a lot of new improvements to the place and everyone loved her.
Even though everything was great, I did start to notice a little rudeness from Doc towards the patients and his behavior toward us was changing. One patient mentioned that she thought she smelled alcohol on his breath.
I like to hear and see things for myself before reacting. So I didn’t say anything to anyone. To keep things drama free and professional I just told her that it’s possible he gargled with mouth wash after having smoked a cigarette and that’s probably what she smelled.
Well one day our front desk clerk called to notify me of the office being closed for a few days. Apparently Doc went to jail for back child support.
OK so at this point I’m starting to question things in my mind about Doc and remembering what our patient said. But again I didn’t let it get to me to the point of finding different employment.
I was sure that he would recover from this and business would continue as normal. We were only closed for a few days and didnt see it as a threat to my future income.
He returned with a tether around his ankle and to my surprise later found out that he wasn’t arrested for back child support. But for possession of drugs. Needless to say I completely believed my patient now. Our front desk clerk and one Massage Therapist quit their jobs and I was on the search for different employment as well.
Doc was not happy at all with the fact that our front desk clerk quit. The termination wasn’t abrupt, she put in her three week notice. She was just moving on to bigger and better things, but because he relied so much on her to practically run his whole business for him, he wasn’t happy. It wasn’t made known to him that the fact of him getting in trouble was her reason of wanting to leave. She really just wanted to leave in peace on good terms.
Once she finished out her employment. Doc began calling her non-stop for about a month asking her business questions. Questions that he should already know answers to, so it was getting annoying and felt a little inappropriate.
She didn’t mind helping him in the beginning but it was getting out of hand. He began leaving her threatening messages when she wouldn’t answer. The calls were becoming non-stop to the point of her husband having to step in to tell him to stop calling completely or they would notify the police.
The calls stopped after that but Doc was bitter. One day in the office I mention something about her and he asked if I still kept in touch with her. I said, “of course”. He seemed severely annoyed and then fired me. I could not believe it!
I had another job lined up anyway, I didn’t want to stay there anymore than anyone else did. But I still couldn’t believe I was getting fired for the reason of keeping in touch with our old front desk clerk.
As unprofessional as my first job experience was. I walked away with some life long friendships. So all in all, it was worth it.
Some Perks in the Massage Industry
The biggest perk of being a Massage Therapist is being able to get time off when needed. I was very fortunate to not miss any of my daughters events for school or field trips when she was growing up.
Working with a Chiropractor gave me more freedom than working in a Spa. I only had to go into the office when I had patients to work on. Once working on my patients I was able to leave. Not a very peaceful and beautiful setting as a Spa, but definitely loved the flexibility in my schedule.
In a Spa I was given shift hours and had to stay whether if I had appointments or not. Sometimes it was a little boring but other times I was able to get a few walk in appointments. The tips were more generous compared to the tips or no tips while employed in a more medical setting.
Other Avenues – Think Outside the Box
There are other avenues you can take with being a massage therapist. Its not just a future at a Spa or Chiropractor. I took this route because it was good for me. Everyone is different, what’s right for me may not be right for you.
One great idea (if you don’t have kids) is to work on a cruise ship or you could move to some beautiful vacation spot and work in a resort
I know of other Massage Therapists that work out of the home or do house calls. If you choose this I strongly recommend doing it by referrals only from people you trust. Unfortunately there are a lot of shady people out there. The last thing you want to do is put yourself in a dangerous situation.
Learn From Mistakes
I had once advertised at our local A&W in the town I reside in. I had a couple calls from some interested people including a client that became a loyal client of 4yrs. He was an older gentlemen, super nice and very polite. That 4th year he called to make an appointment but during the conversation, he says, “Your business is so slow because you don’t do happy endings”. I thought at first he was making a joke. But then he followed with, “you should really consider doing that. Your the only Massage Therapist that doesn’t do that.
I was beyond shocked and sickened!
For one, I am NOT the only Massge Therapist who does not do that, and I don’t know anyone who does. I also informed him that there is a different name for that, and it’s NOT Massage Therapist. I said a few other non friendly things as well but I won’t include them here. I deleted him out of my appointment books and I never accepted a client without being referred by someone I know and trust ever since. In fact, I only accepted female clients after that.
It’s good to explore other avenues for this industry but always be safe and learn from your mistakes.
Just an idea but It’s also good to take self defense classes. Not saying that something bad “will” happen but it’s better to be safe than sorry. If your a female Massage Therapist like my self, it’s always better to be cautious.
My Personal Success
There’s always going to be pros and cons in this industry but don’t get discouraged. I’m thankful I stuck it out, especially being a single mom. We weren’t rich but not missing out on all my daughters events is priceless to me. She is now 19 and in her first year of college. I can look back at the memories of her growing up with a smile knowing I didn’t miss a thing.