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Adjective of the Day: Fiduciary

February 22, 2012

My apologies for this entry being so much later than intended. With real life so hectic and recent events taking priority, I’ve been stressed to the max. This blog begins with a bit of explanation, and then my own thoughts on the word I’ve chosen. The theme for the day is not compromising professionalism or business integrity. If you’d rather not hear about my massage work, then you can skip this one. I won’t hold it against you! XD

For those following my blog, you’ll know that I’ve been unhappy with my massage therapy job for a while (even though I only mentioned it recently ^_-). To make a long story as short as possible, I quit my job today. I was put in a position where I had to choose between the monetary benefit for the spa versus the health and well-being of not only myself, but my clients. To me, that choice was a no-brainer. The health and well-being of my clients is paramount to me. If I’m feeling sick, the risk I pose to my clients is a very serious concern. Who here would want to receive a massage from a massage therapist who is sick? I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not have a sick individual touching all over my body; I don’t care how many times they’ve washed their hands. *laughs*

When I determine that I’m unfit to work on clients, I do not make the decision lightly, and I expect other health professionals to trust my judgement. I’m not the type to go out on a drinking binge, and then call in sick the following morning simply because I made a poor decision and am intoxicated. I am the type, however, who is willing to admit when I am at risk of transferring onto my clients (and I mean that both in a Western Medicine microbial sense as well as an Eastern Medicine energetic sense). My employer was willing to force me to give sub-par services to clients in order to make a few extra dollars. This was deplorable to me, and it brings me to the adjective of the day:

Fiduciary – (non-legal definition) – of, based on, or in the nature of trust and confidence

In the profession of massage therapy, we are placed in a position of inherent power. Our clients trust us to provide them with a service that is medically sound, usually as part of a larger treatment for their chronic tension or injuries. Are we licensed to diagnose or cure anything? Of course not, but that doesn’t mean that massage isn’t a legitimate part of some rehabilitative plans. Due to the medical nature of massage and its growing acceptance in the medical field as part of integrative therapy, it’s my opinion that we are bound by the basic concepts of the Hippocratic Oath to do no harm.

Our relationship with our clients as massage therapists is fiduciary. It should be respected and not cast aside in favor of what basically comes down to plain old greed. Is money important to us therapists and to spa owners? Oh, you’d better believe it. It’s the same for anyone who is doing a job and receiving compensation for it. We all need a certain amount of money to make due, and I understand that, but willfully putting clients at risk is where professionalism goes out the window. It’s a fundamental breach of trust to put someone on that massage table knowing they might get sick from it, and when it comes right down to it, I don’t want to work for a business who is willing to compromise that trust instead of showing compassion and a dedication to providing the client with the best possible experience.

So, to tie up this slightly rant-y blog entry, I’m somewhat relieved to be cutting my ties to a company who doesn’t put the client’s health and well-being first. It’s onwards and upwards for me from here, I believe, and I do have an interview and hands-on already scheduled for another potential workplace. My hope is to simply find a place that takes the fiduciary relationship between massage therapists and clients very seriously. Here’s hoping I can find business owners who share that standard of care with me.

tl;dr version of this post: Fiduciary is a word sometimes used to describe a relationship based in trust and confidence (e.g. between a massage therapist and their clients). It’s also an 18-point word in Scrabble. ^_-

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