From Project Manager to Massage Therapist

I have been working in a corporate environment for 27 years and for the majority in Project Management and it has been good to me so why the change?

To answer that lets start at the beginning…. When deciding on a career, working in an office for a large international organisation was not at the top or even on my list at all, in fact I had wanted to do something medical, in essence caring for people, but a series of events meant that that path wasn’t going to open up for me and then, through the necessity to provide for myself and my family, I took a job that almost fell into my lap with the intention of it being short term. The trouble was I was good at this job and got sucked in. I found that I naturally had the qualities of a Project Manager, I am organised, have an agile mind that likes problem solving and can drive people to get the job done. Whilst the job played to these strengths they are not my only qualities, I have always been empathetic, caring and creative. For a long time I didn’t even notice that the scales had become completely unbalanced, so what made me wake up and smell the coffee?

Of course, it was not just one thing but a series of things that all came together around the same time. I was becoming a bit disillusioned at work, it was starting to feel like an uncomfortable place to be and it took a lot of soul searching to realise that it was because it felt as if the core values of the company no longer felt as if they aligned to my own. At around the same time and completely out of the blue, I was diagnosed with cancer. As many people will know this is a pretty sobering experience but in my case was the wakeup call I needed and I started to think that I didn’t want to look back on my life and ask “what if”. My knee jerk reaction was to pack it all in straight away but that isn’t usually the way I tackle things so, like every good project manager, I needed a plan! My current plan is to make the transition to full time holistic therapist over the next few years probably with a transitional period where I try and combine the job I have now on reduced hours with setting up my own holistic massage therapy practice if nothing else so that I can get used to the inevitable financial shock of giving up a regular salary. So why holistic massage therapy?

In recent years I have found that people’s issues were becoming more ’front and centre’ and complex in nature and that managing these was becoming as important as managing the technical and business needs. I started to become acutely aware of the effects of stress on people’s wellbeing whether that’s through the pressures of trying to maintain a good work-life balance or because they are going through difficult times in their personal lives and I was looking for something that could help both them and me. I have tried a number of holistic therapies over the years and found them all helpful in different ways so knew that it was a holistic approach that I was looking for. I chose massage as I thought it would be a really good gateway to other therapies if that’s what I decided I wanted to do. Every now and then I would do an internet search looking for courses but nothing really jumped out at me until one day BCMB at the Fold came back in the search results. Everything then came together, this was a holistic approach to massage, it was literally on my door step and the lovely Sarah Cohen was running an Introduction to massage weekend in just a few weeks so I thought why not. It was one of the best decisions I could have made, I loved it and signed up for the Professional Training Course in Holistic Massage course straight away.

I am now over half way through the course and it feels absolutely right for me, the support from the teaching staff and fellow students is second to none and whilst I still have a lot to learn I am being taught the skills I need to be able to start practising massage professionally whilst being able to meet the needs of each individual as a whole.

This is just the start of my journey and I don’t yet know exactly where it’s going to take me but what I do know is that I’m enjoying the ride.

Suzanne M.

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