Massage From These Heights: Diary of a Massage Chain Employee

By Jennifer Shaw, Massage Heights Lakeline LMT and Guest Blogger

It’s been three weeks, and I am suddenly struck by how happy I am to go to work. Yesterday, I even gladly picked up a Saturday shift, and took two days off in the middle of the week.

This morning, I’m sitting at the Starbucks next door to the massage clinic where I recently accepted a position. It’s more than a half hour before I need to go in to prep for my first session, and I am, dare I say, excited to go to work – to see what bodies I’ll have on my table today.

After years tethered to a desk, with restless leg (and mind) syndrome, dreaming of being on my feet, making a difference – and my own schedule – I am doing it. And I’m not stressed out at all. I feel relaxed and – joyful. Is that the right word? It might be.

It feels like success. Finally.

Entering the Chain World

It wasn’t hard. It only took five years.

At first, I thought I was going to graduate from massage school and have my own practice. Poof – there it would be. And I believe it could have been, really, had I fully committed to it. Then my first post-massage school desk job arrived.

I strung along a handful of clients for half a decade until my mind and body couldn’t take the desk-and-chain, the glaring computer and the anxiety of boss-pleasing any longer. And then I freaked out – and then, I took the plunge into the “chain world” at Massage Heights.

I always knew I could get a massage job – if only at “a chain.” I’ve heard working at a massage chain was a great way to get your hands on a lot of bodies. I also heard that the management expected back-to-back massages for eight or more hours per day and that the pay was measly.

I did it anyway.

And sipping my coffee, reflecting on this monumental life change, pounding this out on the keyboard because I want to – not because my boss told me to – I feel really good.

Plan to Plunge?

Massage therapists have a lot in common with each other. We are a special breed. There are about five-or-so reasons we cite for becoming massage therapists in the first place. Why did we go to massage school? To make a major life change, be free of our desks, to make our own schedules, to help people – that’s why.

But how many of us are following through? Are you?

While not all massage chains are created equal – they’re franchises run by individuals, and that matters – there are some good ones out there. Follow this blog series to learn more about my personal experience in the “chain world,” or just take the plunge. Why wait? Massage Heights is hiring.

Jennifer Shaw, LMT, is a new-hire at Massage Heights at Lakeline in North Austin. She is also the past-time Marketing Director of Lauterstein-Conway Massage School, periodic blogger for the Austin Massage Blog and serial massage workshop attendee.