The plan

Step by step

I alluded to grad school in an earlier post. I’m thinking I’d like to become a teacher. I’d like to teach kids about writing and literature, like middle school or maybe high school. I think that would be really fun, don’t you?

Right now the plan is:

Winter:

– Investigate grad schools. I’m attending an info session at the University of Minnesota on 12/5. I’ve also got some school info marked on Pinterest to read later (I never understood the reason for secret Pinterest boards until now).

– Talk to teachers about teaching. I’ve started doing this in my online community and in real life. My aunt sent me a nice Facebook message that I still need to finish processing before I see her at Christmas.

– Investigate Teach for America. My aunt told me, “But they’ll make you teach in an inner city school for a year!” Two years, actually, and really, I’d probably end up doing that anyway.

– Continue volunteering at Homework Hub. Homework Hub is hard and challenging, but I look forward to it all week.

– Study for the GRE. Bleh.

Spring:

– Take the GRE. Bleh bleh.

– Apply to schools.

Summer:

– Finish applications.

– I don’t know, make money, I guess? Read the last books I’ll have time for?

Fall: 

– Start school. It should take about 18 months or so to finish. Then, I guess I’ll try to work as a teacher starting in January 2015. I might be working through TFA or not.

Lots to do.

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Case in point

OMG, turn your head! How do I work on your neck if you're showing the camera how hot you are?
This is what I’m competing with.

This just popped into my inbox. Two 30-minute massages for $29. $14.50 per massage. That’s roughly what massage therapists get paid at Massage Envy, assuming the therapists get paid the entire amount and none of this goes to overhead (hint: that doesn’t happen ever).

This is a hard environment for spas and wellness centers to thrive in. I understand that. But a lot of them are able to offer these deals because they discount their employees’ pay on Groupon* services. I saw something on Craigslist where a therapist got so overwhelmed by a Groupon she sold that she was advertising for subcontractors for $10/hour. That’s insulting.

Not to mention that setting up and cleaning the hot stones is a major pain in the butt (assuming they’re cleaning them properly, which I will). That’s a lot of work for just a 30-minute session. And they’re going to be doing a butt-ton of them if hundreds of people bought the Groupon. Yuck, those poor therapists.

*I’m using Groupon as a general term for all those discount coupon sites. Deal with it.

Oh, dip

We have a dearth of "Oh, dip" clip art. Internet, fix this!
Oh, right.

For some reason, it just occurred to me that if I go back to school, I’ll be in school. I’ll have to study and write papers and be graded. It’s going to be really hard.

I’m usually a good student. I’m bright enough (“if I go back to school, I’ll be in school” notwithstanding), I follow directions well, I can write a paper without too much drama. But I’d rather work, because work has set starting and ending points. With school, you can always be studying more.

And reading books. God, I love reading books. Literature is one of my few passions in life. Kiss that goodbye if I go to grad school.

Does that mean I’m not going to do anything that requires grad school? No, it doesn’t. I do have to mentally adjust to this idea.

The current situation

I’m so burned out on massage therapy I can barely stand to walk into work. And I don’t hate the work, I hate the job. And the lifestyle.

Look! I'm hot, but not *too* hot!
How am I supposed to work on someone’s back when they’re cranking their neck to the side?

And the work.

What I like, in no order:

1) The physical work. It’s fun to just put your hands on something and fix it the way you want it to.

2) When I get a great client that I really click with. I like feeling valued, really.

3) Being good at something, and being an expert at something.

What I hate:

1) I always work weekends. I don’t mind it sometimes, and having Tuesdays off is pretty great. But sometimes it would be nice to be on the same rhythm as the rest of the world.

2) You can never give enough for some people. I never charge a low enough price. I never have the right hours. If someone leaves a voice mail, I try to call them back. But there’s no point–they never return my calls.

2.5) It’s hard to stay competitive in the current climate. If someone can get a decent massage at exactly the time they want it from a big box massage place, they will. Or they’ll wait for a Groupon. Even independent contractors will cut their rates to compete. Well, what if I don’t want to charge $30/hour? What if I can’t make a living charging $30/hour for massage (who can?)?

3) I worry about arthritis in my joints, especially my right thumb. What do I do if my body wears out? A different job, I guess. Should I wait until that happens or just move on now?

4) Trying and failing to find that elusive chemistry with clients. What makes some stick around while others just come in occasionally, or never again? I’m sure a lot of it is personality. There’s nothing wrong with my personality, but somehow it isn’t clicking with as many clients as I need to make this business work.

It’s been 5 years. I feel like, if it was going to happen for me, it would have happened already.

First post

This blog is about my midlife career change and other angsty stuff. I can’t really call it a crisis, since it’s been going on since I was 30 or so, and I’m 38 now. I think some people just take a while to figure things out, and I’m one of them.

More later.