Who wants to be a fire engine??


Gosh, it’s practically April already?  Where, oh where, has the time gone?  Oh yeah, I forgot.  It flew out of my truckbed on I-35 somewhere between Waco and Hillsboro.  I swear, isn’t there some government grant they give to people to drive as much as I have?  Anyway, that’s done.  It will be a long time before I remotely resemble normal, if that’s even a possibility in the first place.

So here I am, blowing off more steam (translated: nervous energy) and this is probably a sick attempt at auto-therapy, but what the hell.

I realize that the more spare time I think I have and the more I think I’ve accomplished, the more, I realize, I have yet to do.  So today, while flipping back and forth between another I’m-900-pounds-and-haven’t-left-my-house-in-4-years and yet another stupid ’80s movie that is apparently 25 years old and was a big hit then but I’ve never heard of before tonight, I came to the realization that in a couple of short weeks, I’m going to have to play Personnel Manager again (between sneeze attacks, which I’m still blaming on Dallas-Ft Worth) and actually.  Hire.  Someone.

This someone will be someone near and dear to my own circle of influence: a massage therapist.  How is that for irony; I’m massaging hamstrings and calf muscles one month and posting a job ad the next.  That’s how it goes.  I realized I needed to write a job ad.

Now, just because you’ve spent the past 10+ years reading (and deciding whether or not to give the time of day to) classified job postings, doesn’t mean that when it comes time to write your own, you can.  Nope.

I tried to think back to the job ads I found most compelling.  All were different, yet roughly the same.  What they all had in common were two things: they mentioned the salary (even if it’s just a range) and they sounded relatively down-to-earth.  The ones I laughed at right before flipping the page?  Those who mentioned 401k, listed an 800 number, re-ran ads week after week (thus demonstrating they couldn’t keep anyone), required a resume for $8 an hour, and those who mentioned commission.

Then I heard all the horror stories from fellow massage therapists.  Sure, MTs can be a flaky bunch, but so can some employers.  I think some employers/supervisors completely lose touch with those they’re trying to hire, and in the process, scare/turn them off.

So here’s the basic culture I would’ve loved to have seen, from a decent soon-to-be-employer’s point of view…

Here’s what I am looking for:
A Massage Therapist with a current license from the State of Texas and current malpractice insurance to work as an independent contractor in our office.

Here are other requirements (I won’t negotiate on these):
What you must possess can be summed up into 4 concepts: maturity, initiative, common sense, and support for chiropractic and other holistic/natural medicine.  Maturity means you’ll show up on time, whenever you have an appointment scheduled.  Initiative means you’ll show up even if you don’t, in case one of our patients could use some work on the spot.  Maturity also means you’re level-headed and you won’t bring any drama into our office.  We realize you’re human, but your personal problems stay at home; the office isn’t just a continuation of a bad day within a different set of 4 walls.  Maturity means you’ll act professional in front of patients, not chew gum or gab with friends when you’re supposed to be working, that kind of thing.  Initiative means you take classes for the joy of learning and acquiring new skills, not just because you have to.  It also means you’ve got some of your own clientele already and you’ll do what it takes to keep them happy, attract more, and not let us down when we refer our patients to you.  It also means you’ll refer your clients to us.  We want you to actively promote yourself and what you do; we encourage you to promote the practice as a whole.  If we make money, so do you.  Common sense means you won’t pull anything stupid.  Don’t say you did work you didn’t do.  Work the areas we recommend.  Don’t use too much pressure; back off when they say lighter or stop.  Don’t smoke or eat junk food or any smelly food, you get the idea.  To support chiropractic ideally means you’ve been under care yourself and know how to explain it effectively to skeptical or apprehensive people, but at minimum it means you advocate and suggest it when appropriate.  Here’s the bottom line: we’re a small office and we’re mainly looking for a compatible personality fit with the necessary credentials, a great attitude, and most importantly, a focus on the patients.

Here is our wishlist (these are more negotiable; the more you fit, the better):
It’s helpful if you already know medical massage, trigger point therapy, or deep tissue.  And by deep tissue, I mean how to go deep without working too hard or causing discomfort to your client.  If you know Neuromuscular or medical massage protocols already, you’re ahead of the game.  Same if you can spot a common trigger point by its referral pattern.  If you don’t even know what a trigger point is, all hope is not lost; we’re willing to teach you, but that previous paragraph is going to apply to you even more.  Ideally, you have your own established clientele, but if you’re just starting out or you’re not running at your peak due to the sagging economy, we understand clients don’t just show up and knock on your door.  We are going to expect you to work that much harder, though–just like we will.  If you’re bilingual, that will help you a lot.

What we don’t want:
We don’t want a drama queen (or king) who repeatedly makes bad life choices that are then blamed on everybody else.  We don’t want someone who is hostile, skeptical, or even nonchalant toward chiropractic.  We don’t want someone who thinks massage therapy is the answer to everything, like we don’t think chiropractic is the answer to everything.  We don’t want someone who is late, or regularly can’t do their job (the reasoning doesn’t matter).  We don’t want someone who doesn’t convey a picture of decent health; don’t smoke or gorge yourself on McDonald’s.  Obviously someone unprofessional is out; strange comments, smells, etc.  Bad.  Just don’t go there.  We don’t want someone who is going to expect us to supply you with all your clientele without actively going and getting your own.  And we certainly don’t want someone who will steal clientele or encourage them to come to another place for things we provide.  Someone who falsifies notes is also gone.  And please don’t bring your kids unless they’re getting treated, after which they leave with a responsible adult.  No rumor mills, no pot-stirrers, you get the idea.

Here is your bill of rights, MTs:
1) We will not say we’re hiring when we’re really not.  Putting up a “Help Wanted” sign just to get free massage is not cool.  If we say we have a position available, we really do.
2) We will not make you give a ton of long freebie “interview” massages during the interview process.  We’ll bring you in for an in-person interview.  We’ll then move on to (or we’ll ask you back for) a demo massage where we might ask you to work a certain area, do a certain protocol, or present you with a certain complaint scenario and have you do what you would do to alleviate it.  The first massage will last at least 15 minutes but no more than 30; a second demo massage is possible, but rare.
3) The contract we’ll present you with will be straight-forward and fair.  There are no excessive non-competes, product sales quotas, or laundry sidework.  (Even if the contract contains a non-compete, it’s not going to be over the top like some I’ve seen.)
4) We’re not going to play both sides of the W-2 vs IC fence.  You’re an IC.  This actually works out to your advantage, as it did for me, because it opens up a whole can of goodies you can now write off your taxes.  I’m not a CPA; seek a good one!  As an IC, you set your schedule and how you do things.  We’re not a spa and I’m not going to shove “our signature massage” down your throat.  Please note that we’re going to refer our patients to you for specific work, and we expect that you’ll do that work effectively, without hurting the patient.  As former full-time (and current, actively-licensed) MTs ourselves, we’ll probably eventually show you some cool moves that might help you, or moves/sequences we might’ve developed over the years, but in the end it’s all you.  We do have hours of operation, and we have times that a patient is likely to be scheduled for a massage.  We won’t make you show up, but it’s to your advantage to do so; if you’re not, we’ll find someone who is.  No hard feelings; it’s just business.
5) You have the right to corral a misbehaving patient or to refuse service altogether.  If a client is taking the conversation in a direction you’re not comfortable with, steer them back into benign territory, or give them a warning, if need be.  You can terminate the massage right then, and you can also refuse to work on them ever again.  If someone acts like a jackhole, we’re behind you.  If they demean you or treat you with disrespect, we probably don’t want them in our office around us, either.
6) Your pay rate will be set and you’ll be paid on a regular schedule.  I’m not going to make you wait until the insurance check comes back, because that could be a while.  Sometimes, they don’t pay at all.  I’m not going to put you through that; you get paid every week or every 2 weeks.  I’m also not going to make you take the brunt on some obnoxious discount I decided on and you had no control over.  The fact is, you still spent the same quality time, gave the same great massage, and spent a whole ton of core energy doing so; I’m not going to make you take the discount when you provided the same work as regular price.

That’s what I can think of for now. I’m sure there will be more.  I’m full of tough love.  It might be tough, but it is love.  Y’all come?

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