There was a conversation that started in the Facebook Group I created in 2011. One local LMT asked a question regarding her classification where she worked. The conversation devolved into a few other local LMTs over sharing their opinions regarding this place that provides jobs for massage therapists. The moderators and myself had to step in a few times and remind some posters that we’re professionals.
One of my frustrations with our industry is the lack of professionalism. There is always a way to have a conversation that is productive without name calling. I understand that we’re emotional beings doing our best to navigate the world in business. We must remember our training as compassionate & relaxation specialists but we are still operating in a bigger pool of professionalism.
It’s pretty obvious that I’m an advocate for employment. I operate a successful business that proudly employs massage therapists. There seems to be this disconnect in school where the schools push LMTs toward owning their own business or being an IC. I do believe that the phenomenon of chain massage places have put a negative light on employment but I know it started before that. I began my massage career right as chain massage places hit the scene. I’ve spent a lot of time researching and learning the recent history of massage therapy and it’s roots in licensure. There has always been a push for massage therapists to own their own business. It is shaped as if there is freedom in owning your own business. Yes, you can surely take off on whatever adventure you want when you own your own business. The part that is being missed is that work that goes into the business to actually access that freedom. Yes, they discuss it’s a lot of work but there’s so much that goes into a business, I often wonder if they are actually painting the appropriate picture. I have known people who have lost their marriage or other important relationships because of their dedication to their work. Do they accurately paint the picture how much effort goes into a business? I’m not so sure…
Often times, Independent Contractor (or 1099), just does not work in our industry. You can rent a room or share space (which is different than IC) with other professionals but IC very rarely works. There seems to be an anti-employment vibe in our industry but those who’ve been in the industry for awhile start to see the benefits of employment. Especially if you have a kick ass boss. I want my staff to go on their adventures, they are better therapists when they feel replenished. I understand the nature of the person called to this industry tend to be nomadic, so let them roam so they return.
Employment allows you to come to work, practice your craft, and then go home to put energy into other passions. Your employer contributes to your taxes and actually pays a portion of them. You can worry less about saving enough for taxes. Have you ever been in bed with the IRS? No Thank You. I had this happen to me one year when I was working several positions and before I understood misclassification. I ended up owing the IRS more because my “business” was going through different growth periods. IC doesn’t give you perks of actually owning a business. You often have to share business decisions amongst other professionals.
Sometimes being an advocate for employment means I miss out on other opportunities to work with some really cool professionals. If someone is looking for space to rent or a different set up, they’ll ask me and I remind them that I only offer employment and that means our relationship is limited. But, that means that we create other ways to work together and that creates excitement and new ideas.
The reason misclassification is so crucial to understand is that many places of business are treating their workers as employees but not providing the advantages that go along with employment.
That’s my biggest beef with misclassification. LMTs are not getting the proper treatment and they aren’t being taken care of. And essentially, (in my opinion) this group of humans are some of the leading therapeutic folks in the world. Many of my clients rave about how much better they feel after receiving massage and how much good we are creating in the world. Why aren’t we doing what we need to take care of each other?
I have seen IC work. It is possible. It just doesn’t happen properly very often. I’m not against LMTs working as 1099 contractors but I just want them to understand the differences and that they shouldn’t just accept a 1099 position. It’s important for them to find what works for them and their situation. There are many different avenues to figure out what is best for you. And that can change throughout your career.
If you’re in a place that you’re trying to figure out what is best for you. Check out my coaching page.