Tag Archives: job search

Meetups for Massage Therapists

I am just back from our massage therapist state convention Classes, networking, stuff to buy and a bit of fun. I had the joy of being a test body, demonstrating treatment by one of the best bodyworkers in the world today.
But the big annual meeting/convention paradigm is changing Conventions are losing attendance, and may be going the way of the pay phone. We have lots of other opportunities to communicate, so fewer therapists every year, also means fewer people selling products, fewer recruiters and fewer classes.
At some point our state meeting may change to every other year, or it may morph into some sort of social event that happens to have some classes the same weekend. They just don’t want to call it a convention, because conventions are losing money.camp
Well, should the community of massage therapists care? What does a convention do for we who rub?
As someone who has spent 25 to 30 hours a week for the past 20 years in a dimly-lit room, I have to say I like seeing other people who do what I do. It’s a good time to compare notes. How’s business? What are your shoulders feeling like? Find a good program for your schedule? How do you unstick scalenes?
Hey, we can do all this online, of course, but I do like to see folks in person. I notice that the web has replaced much communication, yet people still gather in groups. Perhaps we should have bonfires on the beach, so we can feel our tribalism as in days gone by. Whoop-whoop!

Yearly Goals, Triumphs, and Mulligans

Goals 2015Right about the end of the year, or sometimes the beginning of the year, I do an audit of my massage therapy practice.

Years ago I started doing because I found it was easy to slip into a groove – also called a rut – and because I usually take at least a few days off during Christmas and New Year’s.

My list includes things I think went well, things that sucked and things I need to take more seriously, as well as look toward some goals for the next calendar year.

By setting these things down on paper, I was able to take some mega-steps in my massage therapy career. My status as a spa employee helped me buy a home, but once that was done – and I had two years of spa experience learning about massage, people, management, etc. – it was time to move on.

Picking up the skills I needed to move on took some practice. All the while I had minor and major goals to help me along – how to book a private client was a mini-goal. Once I could book one private client, I learned enough to give myself a goal of three private clients a week, and so on.

I like big goals for the end of the year, but little chunks at a time to avoid discouragement. Making the goals is not so important as learning how to get there. If I am off by five massages, who cares? At least I figured out how to get a few clients.

As you may notice, lots of these goals are not the purview of massage schools. They have a hard enough time teaching people the basics of techniques and body mechanics without turning themselves into business schools as well. We had a class or two on basic business skills and that was it.

The odds are probably good, too, that most massage students would not need business skills because few go into business for themselves. What they needed were skills at getting jobs working for others, and learning how to survive in the environments of places such as spas, clinics and chiropractic offices. Some of those skills could not be taught they had to be earned. One of my classmates was great at interviewing, but couldn’t show up for work. Another gave a terrible interview, but was rock solid and loved by the clients.

A spa manager I liked a lot confessed to me once that she often hired people solely based on whether they were on time for the interview. She had long ago given up on the idea of figuring massage therapists out.

Now, in my 20th year of massage, I’m looking at the nuts and bolts of what I am doing and asking myself: Is this where I want to be? Am I working enough, too much? Going in the right direction? Are my clients benefiting from my work? Where do I want to go from here?

These are great questions to ask  – in past years my questions would be how can I get more clients or make more money. Or how I could better use my energy – doing massage or managing or training those who do? Not easy questions or answers but this helps in my sense of satisfaction from work.

Wherever a massage therapist is on his/her career I urge this time of year for some self-reflection and goal setting. It really makes a difference in the long run.

What We Massage Therapists Know…

Recently in looking for an associate to assist in my practice, I interviewed a bunch of massage therapists with ample experience. I thought I would offer a good step-up to private practice to people who wanted to move in that direction. I looked for experience because I wanted people who understood the economics and challenges of massage practice. The resumes were pretty interesting.
One resume listed athletes the person had massaged. That’s it.
I did ask for credentials. People told me they were licensed in my state. We don’t have a state license.
Or they could get it if required, along with insurance. Tell me, how had they worked in the field thus far without the basics?
As I weeded through the applicants, I tried interviewing a few by phone. One hung up when I explained that I would pay minimum wage//click//plus piece-work for massages performed.
I was getting a little bummed out. Then I found someone who I thought was great in person, on the phone and in resume. There was only one problem. She did not want to work on any of the days/shifts I could make available. Turns out she was burned out on her spa job and did not want to take on any more massage time.
Why was she answering my ad, I thought.
Back to the drawing board.