March 10, 2010

Take a Break, for Heaven's Sake

In the last few weeks, I've begun to swear to myself never again to hire a therapist who works seven days a week--especially at three to four different jobs. No matter how much she assures me she can handle it/has handled it/wants to handle it. Not even if her practical makes me feel like whipped mousse . . . the first time around.

Why? Because humans have to have a day off. With no free time or time of your own, you can't rejuvenate. Your work typically suffers. You start marshaling your energy during your clinic time, giving cookie-cutter massages with pretty, but useless frills and twirls. After all, you spent all morning working in a coffee shop or a book store or doing four massages at home, so you don't have enough left for that other obligation you have.

Even worse, short, infrequent shifts with little energetic involvement doesn't leave you a lot for being a good team member. You don't always fold that load of laundry or look around for some shared task that needs to be done. You're not really involved here, you just work here . . . sometimes. And you might make a few more dollars, but seriously . . . are a few more hours of massage going to make you rich? Not unless you're personal massage staff for a major celebrity or oil tycoon.

My days off are really important to me, even in weeks like this when I can barely take my own advice. I only work one job, but I work it five days a week as lead therapist. Sometimes a big task or crisis looms, and I end up in the office on my days off. But I still watch myself carefully. I don't want to end up with an endless job punctuated with nagging physical issues instead of a cherished calling. Which is what massage becomes to over-worked, desensitized therapists. In my opinion, at least.

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