I recently left my job as a fitness consultant/personal training intern. To provide some background for this decision, this is how I originally charted my future: I was going to work full-time as a consultant while using this business to help launch my part-time career as a trainer. That was the ideal for me then because my consultant job provided a salary plus commission, plus an opportunity to shadow a personal trainer. It was a win-win situation for me. I sell memberships, monitor the front desk, and occasionally shadow a trainer and sometimes train his clients. But I eventually learned that plans aren't permanent. Sometimes you have to re-write your entire future--and that's not necessarily a bad thing.
The manager who hired me got the ax 2 weeks before I quit (he was the sixth one in the two years that gym had been there). We got a district manager who ramped up the expectations for our little gym a month and half before I quit. It was when we got a district manager that I started sweating bullets. The expectations were a bit unreasonable considering we weren't being given any resources to meet those. But the manager who hired me was still there. so I kept on doing what I'd always been doing. It was only when he was let go and the new manager came on board did I decide I needed to do something about my situation.
Change was coming.
Now I don't want anyone mistakenly believing that I'm averse to change. I'm not. After all, before this job, I was at a job where I went through three managers, each manager being about a year in length. Yet, when the morale at the gym is so low because management is unnecessarily unstable, your job loses its perks (like my job shadowing opportunity), and you know you just can't handle the constant stress of sales, it's time to jump ship. So a week before I left, I applied at a local YMCA based on a friend's tip. And luckily I got the job.
Now I realize this leaves me in a precarious position. The money I'll make will be based entirely on how hard I hustle to build up a full list of clients who keep coming back for more. Even so, I'm in a privileged position that allows me to do this, as my fiance has a full-time job and can support the both of us while I build up my personal training business both inside and outside the gym.
I had to take this chance. The first day with the new boss had me sitting in a purgatory of perpetual misery. This was by no means the new boss's fault. In fact, we left on amicable terms and I still chat with him when I work out at the gym (I love that little gym; it has become another home for me). He was simply implementing what the district manager told him to implement. Yet, how sales-y the job was growing terrified me to the core. It left me feeling nauseated knowing that each day at my job was not guaranteed, that I was now just another number, that I was only valuable based on my numbers and not how helpful I actually was to the members.
There was no longer a desire to be there. I was left feeling both hopeless and helpless. This isn't the job I signed up for. This had become an entirely different job; it was time to move on.
Now did I know I was going to have to jump ship when my manager got let go? Not really. I wanted to give this new manager a chance along with all the changes being made. They ultimately did not mesh well with me. However, when my friend told me the local YMCA was hiring, I knew I had to submit my resume before I lost my opportunity since they weren't hiring three months prior. Joe Cannon, someone I consider a mentor, told me the YMCA was a great place for trainers starting out, which is why I knew I had to apply.
I was surprised I got the job considering they preferred at least a year of experience (I only had 3 months), and I had to submit my resume online. In fact, I was surprised I got an interview BECAUSE I had to submit my resume online. The last time I went through a major job search I sent out over 40 applications online and heard back from only two places. So can you blame me for having trust issues?
In any case, this little story of mine highlights how necessary it is to take action. When you're at a point in your life where you feel miserable and fed up with your situation, where you feel trapped, helpless, and hopeless; where your future plans have been derailed; and where you wonder what tomorrow's going to bring, you need to rethink your plans and then take action. If you absolutely hate your job, and all you can do is complain about hating it, it's time to seek out new opportunities, even if you think you can't do anything else.
When I decided that I no longer wanted to be some big-shot editor at a publishing house or a journalist or even an English teacher, I felt lost, wondering just what on Earth I was going to do with my English degree. I had originally planned on doing some freelance editing and tutoring, but being purely freelance wasn't palatable for me. I was then trying to get a promotion back when I was a marketing trainee. That, of course, didn't pan out.
It took life experience, trial and error, being curious and asking questions, and dreaming, dreaming, dreaming, to finally figure out what I wanted to do with my life. And even then I wasn't sure if I could do it, but the only way I could do it is if I tried.
I didn't let my fears and insecurities hold me back. After all, I couldn't imagine a life of drudgery, of ceaseless minimum-wage work, and then showing up to my class reunion and having nothing to show in my professional life except a job that never gave me a raise. This is how I seriously thought. I always kept thinking, 'Is this a life I'd be proud to talk about at my class reunion?' You can ask yourself a similar question. If the answer is no, take action to make it a yes!
Quit making excuses. Work within your limits and make stuff happen. Take risks, even if they're financial risks. I've taken plenty of those in order to reach my dream of being certified as a trainer. And I'm still taking risks. I have to rely purely on myself to make that money.
Have you ever been in a situation where you've had to take action? Are you in a situation but don't know how to take action? Let me know!
ACE Certified Personal Trainer, NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, nutrition coach, young adult author, moody ballerina.
I help people perform without pain.
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The views expressed on this blog are entirely my own. Any advice I offer is not to be taken as medical advice. If you think you have contraindications to exercise, please see your physician before implementing any sample workout plans I present on this blog.
All images are either my own, from Canva, or Creative Commons