What is it like working as a massage therapist? What is your work day like and what kind of interaction do you have with your office mates?
Working as a massage therapist is drastically different from working an office job in many ways. The biggest way in that the massage therapy profession is different from working in an office where you are surrounded by others is the fact that in a massage job, you spend most of your time one on one with your patients.
Unlike an office job where you may be exposed to anyone and everyone at any time, in a massage therapy job you may go a full day and sometimes even a week or weeks without seeing or interacting with other massage therapists who work at the same place.
Not only is everyone’s schedule different because of the flexibility this career offers, but also because everyone’s patients schedule massages at different times. When you are giving a massage, you are usually in your own room with your patient. You usually don’t know what’s going on outside the closed doors.
Massages generally last an hour. Of that hour, you usually start 5 to 10 minutes late into the hour and end 5 to 10 minutes early before the next hour. The extra few minutes of time is given so that the patient can undress and dress, and for you as the therapist to be able to change the sheets on the massage table to get it ready for your next massage appointment.
Imagine a popular massage therapist who generally works a full day filled with back to back appointments. Imagine that you get in to your place of work at 7:50 AM and give your first massage at 8 AM and have a full day scheduled till 5 PM when you are done for the day.
If you have massages scheduled all day, outside of your one hour lunch break, there is barely any time to interact with others other than the occasional Hi or Hello that you might exchange in the event you run into someone in the hallway. Remember, because everyone’s schedule is so different, it is not a guarantee that you see people at the time you are walking the hallways. Others may be busy during this time, or simply not in the office.
Can you see why this profession can be lonely at times?
While many patients like to relax in the quiet when getting a massage, you may have some patients that like to talk and interact with you while you give them a massage. This is why it is particularly important to genuinely like people and to enjoy conversation. At the least, you should be a good listener because many patients simply like to vent and have an outlet to let their feelings out.
Some of the common characteristics in successful massage therapists include possessing genuine interest in others, social skills and being a good listener. At the same time, you need to know how to resist and control your tendency to engage in a conversation when you notice your patient wanting to relax and enjoy the massage in a quiet setting.
While having a good professional relationship with your patients is important, it does not guarantee social interaction. If you want to make the most of your limited free time as a massage therapist at the place of work, try the following:
Make the most of your breaks. Try to exchange sheets quicker and spend more time hoping to catch someone outside your room in between massages. Even quick conversations can build up rapport and friendships over time and alleviate the sense of loneliness in the office.
Join the water cooler chats when possible in between massages or when you have down time. Many times patients cancel their appointments at the last minute. Other times you may just have an open slot that a patient has not booked. If you have no errands or personal business to take care of, take this time to mingle and socialize in your office.
Attend office events to meet and network with others. Networking is one of the most underrated and underutilized career progression strategies not just in massage but in any other profession as well. Make sure you make the most of your time together with colleagues by engaging in conversations that build good relationships.
Forming good relationships can lead to after work gatherings and events as well where you get to build even stronger relationships.
Keep the above handful of tips in mind as you progress in your career. While massage is not the most socially dynamic profession, working on the above will alleviate some loneliness that comes with working alone in a one on one setting with your patients all day long.