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26 August 2010

Different complaint

When i first began working as a massage therapist in Costa Mesa right out of massage school, there was a loophole in working so that if you were working for a chiropractor you were not required to obtain your own license to work.  Costa Mesa eventually made that illegal & required for all MTs working to obtain their own license regardless of where they were doing the work.. 

I freaked out a bit about this because i'd heard really awful things about the licensing process & was afraid of it (i don't test very well anyway).  The test had been written by my former teacher & she was rabid on making massage a "medical" profession.  She believed that no one with less than 1,000 hours of training should be licensed & i heard she wrote the test with that in mind to try to eliminate folks with less training.  Current standards usually require 500 hours, & some require even less.  I have 1,300 hours currently, but still was afraid of the test.  So, i went to work in other cities that didn't have this requirement.

A couple of years later i met Dr. Ketner.  I liked her work very much & eventually she offered me a place in her office to do massage.  But that meant i had to do the dreaded Costa Mesa license.  I doubt i would have done it for anyone else but i bit the bullet & went thru it.  

The fact is, many people doing work other than massage use the term "Massage Therapist" to hide what they are (illegally) doing.  It has to do with pleasuring men in a way that can land you in jail.  So everyone doing massage is under quite a lot of scrutiny & suspicion.  In fact, most cities license MTs thru their vice department at the police station.  

But i did it.  And i think that the test my teacher had originally written had been re-written by the time i took the test 6 years later.  It was entirely fair & not a mess written for someone working on a doctorate in physical therapy.  

But my point in all this was that i began working with Dr. Ketner.  The room was entirely set up by her.  All the furniture, linens & equipment in the room were hers, also the pictures.  I provided a blanket, some towels, & a tiny table on which to put my supplies.  

I didn't run a very busy practice.  Those were the days when i had more energy & i did do some marketing, but nothing was very successful.  Still, i had people coming in to see me.  Then Dr. Ketner told me that Dr. Geske was looking for someone in his office & i might want to split my time & that i could pick up some additional people.  So i began working two offices.  This was no additional stress as Dr. Geske is in Costa Mesa too, & i already had that license.  

At some point in time, as i wasn't covering many hours, Dr. Ketner invited another MT, (i'll call her "Dee") to work out of the office.  As i wasn't paying for the room/office but only an hourly % & none of the equipment was mine, there was nothing i could say about this.  It wasn't a problem at first, except that i didn't like how Dee would set up the table.  I did think it a bit odd that she never contacted me or tried in any way to coordinate.  Maybe i should have made the effort as i was there first, but it seemed to me that it would be more natural for her to call me & say "Hi, i know you've been working the room, but i'm going to be there a few hours now too & wanted to let you know."  Oh well.  It was a problem at the end of my time there, because Dee scheduled herself with a client at the same time i had someone & we had only the one room.  I wasn't very happy about that, but i transferred my person to Dr. Geske's office (Dr. Ketner was in the process of moving in with Dr. Geske then anyway).  

So we made the move to Dr. Geske's.  I was pleased about that because now i could work with both doctors without splitting my time between offices.  It took some adjusting, but it worked out well, especially as we were living in Big Bear by then & i was driving down to work.  (Before i'd lived within 2 miles of both places.)  I bought the sheets & equipment from Dr. Ketner she had left from her office.  (Since i was already established at Dr. Geske's, i already had the whole room set up, but i was pleased to be able to buy the towel warmer & some other items.  Unlike Dr. Ketner's, at Dr. Geske's office i started with an empty room.  One hundred percent of what is there belongs to me.)  

About a week after Dr. Ketner moved, Lori (office manager) & i were quite shocked when Dee walked in one day & began looking around to see what the office was like.  Lori didn't know her & didn't know what she was doing.  She said, "I'm the new MT & have come to check out the office."  BUT, it was no longer "Dr. Ketner's office."  Dr. Geske was who she needed to talk to & make arrangements.  AND, the massage room was no longer set up by the doctor.  All the items belonged to me.  

Long & short, Dee never made the transition to our office.  Her license was expired & she didn't make a good impression with Dr. Geske at all.  He didn't care for her attitude of entitlement.  

He has talked about bringing in another MT a couple of times.  Neither has worked out, but the first time he approached me about it, he did say, "You're not going to get weird about sharing the room, are you?"  Um, yes & no.  I told him it depended upon the person & how we would be able to divide things.  As it never hit reality, we've not had to work that out.  

But i am a bit "weird" about this because all of the items are mine.  I purchased them.  I set them up.  And the room isn't very big.  There is not a lot of space to share with someone else for storage.  And while we can work out the using of my equipment, i guess, i will not share linens.  Which means things could get weird.  It also doesn't seem equitable to me for someone to come in & use my equipment.  THEY don't have the cost of setting it up, nor does the doctor.  

And this comes up now?  Dr. Geske interviewed a MT yesterday.  

That is his right.  I'm not working very much at all (i average maybe 3 hours a week).  I very much wish i could do more, but reality is right now i can't.  So i understand him wanting to do this.  But he didn't mention it to me so i was shocked & rather upset when it happened.  And he's not discussed it with me, so i don't know if he is interviewing her for the room he has empty (& she could set up herself) or for the room i currently utilize & contains all my belongings.  He didn't discuss it with me after wards, either, so i don't know what is going on.  I asked Lori, & she told me, a bit sharply, that she doesn't know, she wasn't informed either.  

I'm "over it" now, although a little anxious.  I wish he would tell me what he has in mind.  A long time ago i worked for a couple of different chiropractors & i was never able to store anything at their office.  Two of them i had to bring my table with me every time i went there, & all my linens & oils for the day.  Since i no longer live in OC, that really isn't an option for me.  I've nowhere to store the linens if i couldn't leave them there.  Oils & lotions go bad stored in a car. Shlepping all my stuff around would make massage impossible for me.  The reason i've been able to continue is that the room is set up & i don't have to do a lot of work each time i go there to prepare.  I've essentially given up doing massage in BB because i don't have a room set up to do it, & taking all my stuff each time was wearing me out, even when Duane went along & did most of the carting. 

I don't like surprises & i don't like changes.  I certainly recognize his right to do as he wishes with his office, especially in the light of the fact that i'm there so little & not bringing  in many clients or income.  I wish it was otherwise.  

But in my experiences in the past, a new MT is usually "vetted" by someone already there.  When i worked a spa, no one was hired without one of the established MTs checking out the work the new MT did.  That meant that part of an interview process was that the interviewed MT gave someone a free massage.  Standard.  Instead, i feel like i'm in the dark & don't know what is going on.  

All images free, provided by Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals website as a benefit to their members. 



Amrita said...

These conditions exsist only in spas an d luxury places, otherwise we have our traditional massages.

And yes here also the 'other business ' goes on in the guise massage parlours. Its illegal.

Hope you get everything worked out.

Jo said...

You know what? I don't think I would be very happy with that situation either. If the doctor is going to hire another MT, then the doctor should provide facilities for that person to work, and not take advantage of your facilities. After all, you have had to become a licenced professional, so you should be treated like one...!

Kathryn said...

I'm sure it will, Amrita. I just don't like being in the dark. I'm rather surprised he wouldn't at least mention it - OR schedule her interview when i wasn't there if he didn't want to discuss it now.

Thank you Jo, appreciate that it isn't just me. He does treat me well, over all, in fact he highly regards my work, but this was a bit of a shock to me.