When I graduated the massage therapy program in June 2011, I was all too eager to get into my first job under my new vocation. The profession of “massage therapist” seemed all too promising. It was one of the fastest-growing occupations in the nation, the average pay was much higher than that of other jobs some, if not most, graduates from regular colleges find themselves in, and the seemingly soothing, stress-free environment of a spa was enticing. Much better than the chaos and bullshit I had to put up with working retail at Macy’s.
This is not going to be a post on why I hate my job. Hell no. I love my job. It may not be my ultimate dream job (you know, trophy wife to Rafael Nadal while moonlighting as a dominatrix to celebrities that need some discipline), but it’s great for now. Rather, this post is about my typical day in the life of a professional bodyworker. Who happens to work at one of them chain spas. And anything that happens to be a “chain” of something…well, hear me out.
*Drive For Your Dough*
I live 40 miles away from my job in Marin County, first up. I’d work closer to home, but I live in an area that’s not a spa destination, and the place close to home that is (Napa Valley) have spas that are stupidly finicking in who they want to work for them. (Some spas want MTs that have 2-3 years of experience, “preferably in a luxury spa/resort setting”, with a minimum of 300 schooling hours. Which MAKES. NO. SENSE! 300 schooling hours doesn’t make you a state-certified therapist, just a practitioner! I am not kidding on this.) And so I drive for my dough, four days a week. I’ve done five days before for a few months; I’m surprised I survived.
And if you think 40 miles to and from work is a loooong drive, there’s a girl that lives 15 miles further from where I live. That’s 55 miles one-way to work, over 100 round-trip. She used to do five days a week (!), but she has since cut her schedule to three days now that she’s attending college.
I prefer to work afternoon shifts. I never work a morning shift. But I have before. I’m surprised I also survived that. It’s a pretty drive to make given the route I use to go to work during sunrise, but not so pretty when you’re half-awake and driving with one bloodshot eye, wanting for the caffeine in your coffee to get going in your system. I agreed to it but only because I was a then-new hire, and the spa needed coverage for a Saturday morning shift. I work at a spa that doesn’t require us MTs to work both Saturday and Sunday, so the blessing to working that Saturday morning for the first seven months at the spa was that I can sleep in that night. Being a not-morning person, that still sucked, though.
There are MTs that can be very picky with what room they work out of. All but one room in the spa is primarily used for massage (the lone room is for the esthetician, as we also do facials at our place). Each room has its charm, but some people really like certain rooms. It’s this kind of stubbornness, however, that can lead to shit getting started. We have a girl that always needs to have a certain room whenever she’s there. I’m not a big fan of this particular room, so I don’t know what she sees in it. And when someone else is in this room when she’s around, oooh, she gets pissy. Since she’s been around the spa for a while and happens to also be one of our most-requested MTs, she does have some clout to where the rest of us don’t mess with her and her need to have this room. I personally adore this girl, and have seen her for massages (she’s really good at what she does). That being said, I wish she wasn’t a room whore. She’s not above that shit, and I sometimes feel like she thinks she’s above certain things.
Another reason to not be stubborn in what room you choose when working at my spa was a case that turned ugly. A fellow MT wanted to have another particular room, but it was occupied by another MT, who was nearing the end of his shift. The fellow MT expected that this guy was gonna get out of his room 5 minutes before the top of the hour–which is the protocol at my spa. He didn’t, and fellow MT (I’ll be calling him that, ’cause he’s a good buddy of mine, too) got ticked off with this guy. So when he confronted him as he got out, things got ugly to where zen ran off in hiding because it got shit-scared. Not that there was fight, but words were exchanged. I’m not fond of the guy that was in that room initially, but I felt it was the fault of fellow MT. There were other rooms open in the place, and he could have gone in those rooms instead! Fuck, he had a couples’ massage that day; he could have gone in the couples room where there’s much more space! I asked fellow MT why he likes that one room he wanted to get in: “it’s more spacious,” he said. Shut your front door, dude. The couples room is the biggest room in the spa; there’s much more space there than the room he wanted!
The moral of this bit is: never be a room whore at a spa.
More juicy bits next page.