Perspective Spa Position, Possible Business Avenues

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Satchmo
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Perspective Spa Position, Possible Business Avenues

Post by Satchmo » Tue May 17, 2011 6:33 pm

Hi, I'm new here. I've been a therapist for a little over a year(fully certified and insured for 8 mo.) Apologies if this turns into an autobio, it feels like a precarious position I'm in and some of the things I am describing are jaw dropping- to me. I'm a male therapist, 24 yrs. old. I live in a rural area and went to a great massage school hear locally. After graduating I realized that because of the quality of the massage school, not only would I be a great therapist, but I would also have to compete with much more experienced great therapists. This has led my independent practice(mobile only, since I have never made enough $ or gotten enough clients to warrant renting a space)...pretty much no where. I went to LA last fall to find work, but got no where. It was not completely obvious, except for every other ad being "Female massage therapist wanted", that I would be up against a bias I would not overcome and out of the running for every job immediately, especially having limited experience at that point.

I returned to the good old rural area to an economic deadzone seasonal climate, caring for my disabled uncle for minimal life support $. I hit LA again in late winter, but had the same issues, I thought I hadn't tried hard enough the first time, haha. Now back here in the boonies, my friend/client who works at a local DNC-run resort recommended me to the spa manager and I quickly had an interview- bingo!- I thought. That was a month ago. I have had three "practical exams" with them and a socializing night/training evening at the spa manager's house(if he likes me enough to invite me to his house, why not hire me THEN train me?...I smell penny pinching!). The practical exams are thinly veiled training sessions within which they seem to find something that "isn't quite how we want it done". For instance the very conservative draping the spa manager(male) showed me was not how the assistant manager(female) could tolerate it("If I had been raped in the past I would have been off of your table immediately!") Do they not communicate? I was clearly thought to be in the wrong by both of them.

My training was all about holistic healing type moves and they seem to want it to be less well done and more mechanistic. When I do it more mechanical the soul leaves the massage and it isn't good, no surprise they don't like it! Twice now the "exam" has been postponed, each time the manager reciting exactly:"there's a surprise internal audit today its all hands on deck, I'll call you back to reschedule." This was the phone call that came at 7:50 AM(as if I would be asleep and he could passive aggressively leave me his recitation on voice mail). Now I'm left thinking wow, how do I wait around any longer on a job that treats me like this? Do they have "surprise internal audits" on a every other week basis or is he lying? Will they be glaring over my shoulder and pressuring me to sell sell sell their creams and stuff? Will they even hire me or are they waiting for me to go away so they don't have to say, "we're sorry...blah blah blah"? So I have three options, and I am not too stressed about it just curious for opinions.

I can a)wait around for more exams/training sessions and probably get hired. b)start a business in a town of 10k conservative type people and 3-4 established(and seemingly not very prosperous) MTs(since it is tourist season coming I can cater to walk-in chair/foot massage for tourists) c)move an hour away to a city of 130K less conservative people, rent a space and start from scratch there(while working at a restaurant or grocery store too).

Just as a side note, my friend that works at the resort thinks my holistic massage is better than the lead therapist's massage(out of 13 MTs) at the resort. I also found out their booking practice lends itself to bias, the first thing they ask the client is if they have a gender preference for their therapist. I was informed the male therapists are much less busy(3 out of 13 are male). They also pay minimum wage(8.50/hr)! Oh, but they say, you get all the tips, a strongly suggested 18%(a note at the end of their menu), and if you sell our lotions and creams you get a percentage of that too. They charge $90 an hour and I get $8.50? People go along with this? I can fund the new business with about $600(at the moment until I raise more mowing lawns or whatever), so that's not looking so fantastic either, even though I have a lot of the pieces for it already. I need more perspective on this, any thoughts are welcome, thank you.
Last edited by Satchmo on Tue May 17, 2011 7:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Perspective Spa Position, Possible Business Avenues

Post by PIFATOS » Tue May 17, 2011 6:57 pm

TL;DR - if you break this down into paragraphs, you might get more responses

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Re: Perspective Spa Position, Possible Business Avenues

Post by Satchmo » Tue May 17, 2011 7:33 pm

thanks, :) , I've been messaging a lot facebook, where if you hit return to start a new paragraph it sends the message :p

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Re: Perspective Spa Position, Possible Business Avenues

Post by JasonE » Tue May 17, 2011 9:00 pm

Lots and lots of stuff in your post to think about and worthy of discussion, but I'll get right down to it. I think you should choose this option:
c)move an hour away to a city of 130K less conservative people, rent a space and start from scratch there(while working at a restaurant or grocery store too).
Basically I think the prospective employment situation sounds like a dud and the small town situation sounds like a double-dud. I think you need to find an environment better suited to you, and a prosperous suburbia is what came immediately to mind.

That said, you might find some good employment opportunities in the new city, so don't assume that opening your own space is the only option there. Look around, ask lots of questions, and let life surprise you with some good news.

While you are doing this, review your appearance, hygiene, professionalism, communication skills, etc. Look for ways to improve in each area, even in those you think are already "good enough" - and consider finding a successful male MT willing to mentor your professional development. The AMTA has a mentoring program worth investigating.

Good luck!
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Re: Perspective Spa Position, Possible Business Avenues

Post by JLWmassage » Wed May 18, 2011 4:13 am

Just as a side note, my friend that works at the resort thinks my holistic massage is better than the lead therapist's massage(out of 13 MTs) at the resort.
I would also not say this out loud in an interview. This phrase would really turn me off as an employer hearing it come out of a new MT's mouth.

I also think as a new MT looking for work you need to be willing to do almost anything. You don't have the experiance under your belt to say I just want to do X.

So my suggestion apply everywhere. There are quit a few nation wide mobil massage co. you can be a contractor with. http://www.gomassage.com maybe a good place to start for you. And volunteer as a way to network and refine your skills.

Get yourself a website and facebook fan page. When you are first starting out you really need to put a ton of effort in getting your foot in the door.

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Re: Perspective Spa Position, Possible Business Avenues

Post by Satchmo » Wed May 18, 2011 9:55 am

I would also not say this out loud in an interview. This phrase would really turn me off as an employer hearing it come out of a new MT's mouth.

I also think as a new MT looking for work you need to be willing to do almost anything. You don't have the experiance under your belt to say I just want to do X.
I would never say that in an interview. I was shocked the interviewer told me they pay minimum wage, without it being in the same conversation as, "here's some paperwork, when can you start?" Some cards are better off un-played. I know that obviously. I was just trying to get across the point that I am worthy of the job.

Their hesitancy seems to be that the assistant manager doesn't want another male therapist, even though the manager is trying to please(his secret girlfriend which I found out when I went to his house)my friend by hiring me. Their season may not be getting rolling as fast as they want, so if they can hold out until they actually need me or realize they don't, they will same themselves the massive trouble and money loss of hiring me then not really needing me. With their gender biased booking practice, will they need another male therapist... probably not. So you can see how convoluted and confusing and dramatic this job is already giving me the feeling of.

I am willing to do almost anything, that's why I mentioned doing foot and chair massage specialty for tourists, working at a grocery store or restaurant. I am supporting myself now mostly with yard work and elderly care, and with my living expenses really low, I really do have the option to say "I just want to do X". I have not said that yet, as I have still left the option open to work for this spa. However, if I sense that working some where will make me money but make me unhappy or stressed, I will choose not to work there. This is one of the reasons I became a therapist.

I have not decided for sure that this spa will make me unhappy and stressed, although the indicators in that direction are somewhat alarming(the lead therapist saying wistfully how she was originally trained in holistic healing, but now feels like a "massage machine"). Some of the people I have met that work there are very nice and seem happy though.

I have really tried to maintain my openness towards the possibility of working there, but I cannot play dumb and put myself through a crappy work experience just to get experience. I will be a massage therapist for many years to come, and experience will come whether I am massaging a few clients here and there, friends and family or when I visit the school, or doing mechanical spa massages 8 hours a day 5 days a week.

Ten years from now, if and when I am in some interview for a job, when they ask me how much experience I have(like Massage Envy did, having not read my app, obviously), I will say eleven years(like one of the co-interviewees in our group interview said "20 years"), whether I work for this spa now or not. I will still continue to go to school once in a while, still read into new modalities, still continue anatomy study, working on my personality, etc, whether I work wherever or not. It's not like I'm not progressing if I'm not doing the same massage over and over 20 times a week. Of course there is "spa specific" experience which I may be missing out on , which I can train myself on to some degree(and have already gotten some out of these "practical exams"), wraps and hydrotherapy and such.

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Re: Perspective Spa Position, Possible Business Avenues

Post by Satchmo » Wed May 18, 2011 10:19 am

JasonE wrote:Lots and lots of stuff in your post to think about and worthy of discussion, but I'll get right down to it. I think you should choose this option:
c)move an hour away to a city of 130K less conservative people, rent a space and start from scratch there(while working at a restaurant or grocery store too).
Basically I think the prospective employment situation sounds like a dud and the small town situation sounds like a double-dud. I think you need to find an environment better suited to you, and a prosperous suburbia is what came immediately to mind.

That said, you might find some good employment opportunities in the new city, so don't assume that opening your own space is the only option there. Look around, ask lots of questions, and let life surprise you with some good news.

While you are doing this, review your appearance, hygiene, professionalism, communication skills, etc. Look for ways to improve in each area, even in those you think are already "good enough" - and consider finding a successful male MT willing to mentor your professional development. The AMTA has a mentoring program worth investigating.

Good luck!
Thank you. Yes as I talk more about it with more people, the employment option and small town option are seeming to be dead-ends. I have researched this city to some small degree after meeting a therapist that works there several months ago. According to her almost all of the massage gigs there are self-created. There are no ads in the newspaper(in the last three months) for employee massage therapists. There is usually an ad or two every other day on craigslist there for independent contractors or renting opportunities, that's why that seems like the only viable option. The "employment" ads I have seen usually want lots of experience because in this job market they can hold out for the perfect person with no issue. I need to expand in a direction where people can realize I give great massages regardless of my gender or experience.

I will review all of the traits you suggested, good idea. The only male therapists I know graduated at the same time or after me but I'll look into some kind of mentorship. I am going to take a business class and interpersonal communication class either this summer or fall so that will help.

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Re: Perspective Spa Position, Possible Business Avenues

Post by Satchmo » Wed May 18, 2011 11:06 pm

Ok, so I have still been thinking about this spa position. I love living in the country and don't want to leave my family behind for a city job.

I know now that my working there may be a lost cause, especially since the assistant manager(female) according to the spa manager, and I quote him, "doesn't like male therapists". That statement came into my mind and I realized that if that idea was coming from a male and saying "doesn't like female therapists", they would be getting their asses sued off for discrimination. This is troubling, and not just for me, but for the poor guys that work there whom they "have trouble booking".

I want to change this, and have devised a plan to at least put the idea that they are gender biased in their booking practice into their minds. This is a major turn off at this point and I will not work there if the situation is not at least improving at the time I begin working there(the chance of which is seeming very remote at this point).

My first thought was to give up any chance of working there and tell the spa manager that I would not work there unless their booking practices are altered slightly so as not to directly reference therapist gender selection. Not only would that probably come off as somewhat insulting, I know it would not register much affect no matter how eloquently I put it, and they would think "oh well, he's just too much of a free thinker for our corporate climate, that won't work for us, we need 'yes women'."(haha instead of "yes men", excuse my sick sense of humor in this case).

The plan is to call my friend, the spa manager's secret girlfriend who works in another department(another detriment to me working there is that I know about their relationship). I am going to tell her that I am strongly considering withdrawing my availability for the position. The idea of the assistant manager not liking male therapists is somewhat revolting, no matter how grounded in the sideways logic that they are difficult to book. Under the policy of asking "do you have a gender preference for your therapist?", of course they are hard to book!!! I will sound saddened and troubled by this in the phone conversation and definitely less sarcastic, sickened. I figure with the right amount of frustration and vague lust-fullness for how great it would be to work there in my voice and this will get through to my friend. She can then get through to the spa manager's head(preferably in bed haha) that this could be a major issue of almost lawsuit proportions if male therapists are being shunned because of their gender.

This way, even if I don't get to work there, there may develop a small cyst in the manager's mind, not only about the assistant's poor standpoint(which I am realizing is why I have not passed their "practical exam", they have all been with her), but about their misguided booking practice. That could then perhaps lead to better working conditions for the guys that work there now.

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Re: Perspective Spa Position, Possible Business Avenues

Post by Ding » Thu May 19, 2011 6:24 am

Satchmo, I don't know if you have found the "massage from the male's perspective" section on this forum, but this thread may have some information that might be helpful for you: Legal Discrimination in Massage Therapy.
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Re: Perspective Spa Position, Possible Business Avenues

Post by Pete » Thu May 19, 2011 7:36 am

Ding wrote:Satchmo, I don't know if you have found the "massage from the male's perspective" section on this forum
Ding, you're funny - this IS the male perspectives section. ;)

Also, I edited your link, per your request, to show the thread title in the link.

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Re: Perspective Spa Position, Possible Business Avenues

Post by Ding » Thu May 19, 2011 7:45 am

Pete wrote:
Ding wrote:Satchmo, I don't know if you have found the "massage from the male's perspective" section on this forum
Ding, you're funny - this IS the male perspectives section. ;)

oh GEEZ!!! :oops: :roll: :smt005 :smt043 :smt044 :irked: :oops: :shock:

Well, so that newbies don't think I'm a COMPLETE idiot :smt105 ... the way I get around in BWOL is by clicking the "view new posts" link, so I see only the new stuff .... which means I would have to actually LOOK at the top of the screen to know which "section" I'm in :smt004
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Re: Perspective Spa Position, Possible Business Avenues

Post by Satchmo » Thu May 19, 2011 12:01 pm

Ding wrote:Satchmo, I don't know if you have found the "massage from the male's perspective" section on this forum, but this thread may have some information that might be helpful for you: Legal Discrimination in Massage Therapy.
Thank you, yes I had read some of that post before typing up mine. I just wanted to get more perspective specific to my situation. I didn't read the whole thing because it felt somewhat discouraging and I don't want to break my optimism completely, just temper it and strengthen my resolve and awareness.

That being said I am getting a recommendation letter from my old boss so that I can get a job as a cook again while I develop my practice. I've gotten a lot of skills out of this so I know I can be a great earner for myself or any business. I just have to get past the gender bias in some way and the rest will follow more easily.

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Re: Perspective Spa Position, Possible Business Avenues

Post by pueppi » Thu May 19, 2011 1:49 pm

Satchmo wrote:I will sound saddened and troubled by this in the phone conversation and definitely less sarcastic, sickened. I figure with the right amount of frustration and vague lust-fullness for how great it would be to work there in my voice and this will get through to my friend. She can then get through to the spa manager's head(preferably in bed haha) that this could be a major issue of almost lawsuit proportions if male therapists are being shunned because of their gender.

This way, even if I don't get to work there, there may develop a small cyst in the manager's mind, not only about the assistant's poor standpoint(which I am realizing is why I have not passed their "practical exam", they have all been with her), but about their misguided booking practice. That could then perhaps lead to better working conditions for the guys that work there now.
I doubt that hints will work in this situation, nor do I think by way of a third party there will be any info filtering into the managers mind. If you have an issue, actually talk to the manager about it. He's the manager... and the problematic assistant is just that, an assistant. If the manager can't cotrol the situation on his own, then the manager isnt managing. Explain why you think the working conditions are unfavorable and why you are considering withdrawing your application. Then, provide an alternate booking proceedure if you think you should.

I think there are a few other gender based threads within the whole of the BWOL forums.
Don't forget to leave other links on this thread, once you find them, in order to help others who come along in the future.
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Re: Perspective Spa Position, Possible Business Avenues

Post by Satchmo » Thu May 19, 2011 2:12 pm

pueppi wrote:
Satchmo wrote:I will sound saddened and troubled by this in the phone conversation and definitely less sarcastic, sickened. I figure with the right amount of frustration and vague lust-fullness for how great it would be to work there in my voice and this will get through to my friend. She can then get through to the spa manager's head(preferably in bed haha) that this could be a major issue of almost lawsuit proportions if male therapists are being shunned because of their gender.

This way, even if I don't get to work there, there may develop a small cyst in the manager's mind, not only about the assistant's poor standpoint(which I am realizing is why I have not passed their "practical exam", they have all been with her), but about their misguided booking practice. That could then perhaps lead to better working conditions for the guys that work there now.
I doubt that hints will work in this situation, nor do I think by way of a third party there will be any info filtering into the managers mind. If you have an issue, actually talk to the manager about it. He's the manager... and the problematic assistant is just that, an assistant. If the manager can't cotrol the situation on his own, then the manager isnt managing. Explain why you think the working conditions are unfavorable and why you are considering withdrawing your application. Then, provide an alternate booking proceedure if you think you should.

I think there are a few other gender based threads within the whole of the BWOL forums. Don't forget to leave links on this thread, once you find them, in orfer to help others who come along in the future.
Thanks good info. The reason I had not thought talking to him directly about it was that I already feel somewhat discredited. I told the assistant I did the draping techniques exactly how I was shown by the manager. She then said she might have to go over draping techniques with the manager the, like to show him how it's really done. They most likely determined, with the manager, through her skewed brain, that I had lied. Yes this is an assumption on my part but was my intuitive reasoning after the manager called two days later to postpone the next practical. After which I have not heard from him and have been wondering if I should even pursue it further. What easier way to get me not hired? Since she doesn't like hiring male therapists... If I'm a liar it doesn't matter whether I am male or female.

The assistant manager is in charge of the therapists' techniques. I think her title is actually "spa operations coordinator" or something like that. The manager is more the numbers and interviews part of it. So he is not completely in control of it. I'd have to make it through her practical and with her skewed mentality it doesn't look good. I was told by the lead therapist that she had loved my first massage. What's the issue then? Hire me then train me. There's something deeper at work.

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