Susan in Quartz Hill, CA
I read your “Red Responds” articles on a regular basis, and I appreciate the way you reach out to people and give them insight. I was hoping you could help me in the same way. I am a licensed massage therapist of seven years, and I really do feel that it is what I’m meant to do. I love it when I’m working, and I love to see the progress that my clients make with regular treatments. The problem is that I’ve not been getting any work. I work at two places doing massage, and I make less than $600 per month. I’m swamped in debt, twenty-five, and still living at home with my parents. I feel like an absolute failure, and question my career on a regular basis. I’m a very simple person. I just want to make enough to be self-sufficient, and live on my own. I’m not afraid to work, and would gladly take on two or three MORE jobs, if it meant that I could be on my own. I’ve continually put in applications, and have heard nothing.
After a consistent five month cycle of horrific accidents, traumas, and struggles, I’m finding it hard to see any light at the end of this dark cycle, or see an end anytime soon. Please shed some light on this very dark situation. Will I end up getting another job or two? Will the massage work pick up? Will I be able to move out on my own within the next six months? Am I doing something wrong? Any help you can give would be much appreciated, as I feel like I’m just starting to give up and want to just walk away. Thank you so much.
You’ve definitely been going through a challenging cycle, and there’s no doubt about it – it sucks. While you really aren’t going to be thrilled with what I’m about to tell you, let me just say that before you read further, take a breath and open your mind to see the bigger picture, because there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
One of your largest challenges is money. Simply put, you don’t have enough. This is limiting your ability to move out and be on your own. However, realize that this doesn’t make you a failure. It’s not about you personally; it’s just that there aren’t a lot of opportunities surrounding you, largely because of the economy. I’m not going to say that you’ve been doing anything wrong, but I am going to say that it’s time for you to be looking at things differently. You’ve been so focused on the present and short-term, that you’ve haven’t really been thinking about the bigger picture.
Here’s the bad news: Your goal of moving out and being independent within the next six months isn’t necessarily your best plan. I’m not going to say that you can’t do it, but I am going to say that you shouldn’t. Even though you aren’t content with your current situation, that doesn’t mean you can’t use it to your advantage. A little more suffering and sacrifice now can mean quite a brighter and easier future.
You are an excellent masseuse, with natural talent and ability. If you had the means to advertise and procure your own equipment, you would be able to sustain yourself. However, money would continue to be an issue. So, you do need to continue to look for other in-house opportunities. You will find part-time work at an established place in November. While that is going to help you tackle your debt, it doesn’t look like your income is going to be enough to allow you to comfortably move out on your own quickly.
If you’re willing to shake up your game plan and explore other alternatives, you can achieve a higher level of success without giving up what you love. Look for part-time, even full-time, opportunities in the fields of physical therapy and chiropractics. While this path is still being presented as a bit challenging, the long-term rewards are great. It’s going to take some time before you find a solid opening, but if you keep looking, you can have a stable job by spring, and still be practicing massage. By blending fields and sources of income, you will be able to support yourself.
Any way I look at your situation, education keeps coming up as a key factor. Since you are currently struggling and more or less stuck at home, use it to your advantage. Start looking at courses and programs for becoming an assistant physical therapist. You have what it takes, and your parents would even be willing to help you. In time, you may even decide to go for the whole shebang, and become a fully licensed physical therapist. Whether or not you choose to take it that far will be solely up to you, but becoming a physical therapy assistant not only opens the floodgates of financial stability, it also enables you to heal more people and to build a stronger client base for a higher level massage business of your own.
Things will work out for you, just not as quickly as you would like. Ultimately, you will find that your perseverance will enable you not only to scrape out a living, but will also give you a level of freedom and stability that you can be proud of. Instead of just getting by, you will have created a comfortable life.
Don’t give up!
Psychic Red ext. 9226