“When Enough is Enough”
In that weird post-college, transitional time; before the land of “professional career” exists: the part time job. These varying work roles are important on many levels: helping to pay off student loans, giving you experience in different fields, and teaching you how to work with people of all personalities.
As the term “transitional” implies, these jobs wont last forever. In many situations, you leave them behind with a smile on your face as you march into “the real world.” In other situations, you’re asked to leave, in which case, the journey into the real world is a bit more winding.
The toughest case scenario, and the one that I consider my freshest wound, is the one that ends in these two words: “I quit.”
While quitting a job may sound liberating, it is an extremely emotional decision to make. While the “cons” may outweigh the “pros”, that does not mean those “pros” do not exist! The decision to leave those great things behind must mean that the negative side is pretty bad.
There is a quote that reads, “Pay attention to whom your energy increases and decreases around. That’s the universe giving you a hint of who you should embrace or stray from.”
For those who know me, describing myself as “high energy” can be considered an understatement. I give a whopping 110% with a smile on my face, excitement in my soul and passion in my heart. In my most recent job endeavor, I felt this energy colliding and increasing with the members I worked with, and instructors I taught with. This was the pro that made the job so wonderful.
The quote I just referred to also has a darker side to it; paying attention to whom your energy decreases around. Now, for someone with a lot of energy, feeling it decreasing is one of the most draining sensations. It then becomes physical. It’s a tension in your neck and shoulders. A headache that makes you want to cry. You feel like you just got beat up, but no on has laid a finger on you. This type of feeling is not cohesive to a healthy work environment.
My Grandpa once told me, “whatever you are, be a good one.” I hold his wisdom near and dear to my heart, and put my 110% into the world of group fitness classes. In my time at this job, I felt myself growing, learning, and truly making a difference in the lives of the members that walked onto the mat. I’ve seen people lose over 40 pounds, drop dress sizes, and have thanked me for making the fitness process fun and exciting. In accordance to Grandpa’s rule: I was a fitness instructor, and I was a good one.
Now, there was another side to this job that I am a complete stranger to… the business side *cue evil music*. Growing up, my dad was a salesman. I’m pretty sure if you look up salesman in the dictionary, the definition is something along the lines of “manipulates others in order to better themselves.” Because of this, I always had a bad taste in my mouth when it came to salesman jargon. Words like “leads” make me cringe, and in my heart of hearts I believe that the truest way to sell a product (such as a gym membership), is to give a damn good class, and if the product (such as a gym membership) is what the potential buyer is looking for, they will purchase it. No fancy speeches necessary. No annoying phone calls or emails. If you build it, they will come.
Naturally, as a business owner, your main concern is revenue. As a main supporter of a household, your business is how you feed your family. The issue becomes when this main concern trumps other aspects of your business. In the field of fitness, human betterment is what keeps your business running. As someone who is working these transitional period jobs in order to afford my goal of earning a doctorate in psychology, human betterment is right up my alley. I loved every moment of working with each member, learning about their lives, their goals, and seeing them fight for what they wanted; whether they had a 12 month membership, or were on a 3 day trial. My genuine passion to help each individual better themselves was the best I could do on the business side of things, because as I said before, if the individual enjoyed the workout, and had the funds to afford it, they would sign up. But, unfortunately, my best was not good enough, leading to a severe case of energy drainage.
Stan Kimer, president of Total Engagement Consulting defines effective leadership as “providing the vision and motivation to a team so they work together toward the same goal, and then understanding the talents and temperaments of teach individual and effectively motivating each person to contribute individually their best toward achieving the group goal.” This may seem like a difficult and time consuming task when managing a business, however, when you have a staff of 3, there are no excuses. No where in this definition does it say, “discuss what you are unhappy with about your employees to your other employees in a negative and derogatory way.” An effective leader is not passive aggressive, but a wonderful communicator. They are not unappreciative, but will praise you for what you do right, and will give constructive criticism on what you can improve.
I am writing this post for several reasons. First, because I did not get to give a proper goodbye to the wonderful members I worked with. You are all such incredible people and I am so proud of your hard work and dedication each time you hit the mat. My other reason for writing, is to let others know that if you feel your energy being drained, then it probably is. You are entitled to your feelings, and deserve your best to be recognized by your employer. I hate the words, “I quit”, because quitting implies giving up. Looking out for yourself and your mental well being is not giving up, but staying in an unhealthy work environment is. When one door closes, another opens… so when push comes to shove, close that door with dignity, stay true to yourself, and never let anyone make you feel like less than you are.