Professional Jealousy: Not Professional at All

Have you ever been a victim of professional jealousy? Even worse, have you been one to perpetuate it? I personally can’t think of any motivation to be so jealous of a fellow massage therapist that I would do something to try and sabotage their business, or repeat rumors or outright untruths about someone in the hope of ruining his/her reputation. And yet, I hear about this every day.

Someone wrote me recently that some current students from the massage school that she had attended had passed along to her that their teacher was holding her out as an example of a terrible massage therapist and business failure–actually calling her name in class. That teacher needs to be fired in my opinion. Even taking into account that there might be any truth in what she was saying, which I didn’t believe, teaching a class full of impressionable students that kind of nasty behavior is just unacceptable.

I experienced something similar at a business meeting recently. Myself and several other people were present at a meeting of local professionals and a new director was presiding over the group for the first time. I had never met the man and he didn’t know a thing about me. I asked him the question if membership had fallen off some due to the recession, and he replied to me, “No, most people left because they hated _____ (the former director).” I was shocked beyond belief and informed him that the former director had never been anything other than nice and helpful to me, and that I had never seen him be less than that to anyone else. Again, bottom line–doesn’t matter if it was true, it was very unprofessional of him to say that in front of the group, especially considering he was brand new and not even acquainted with most of the people there.

A few weeks ago I heard from a massage therapist who had seen a male therapist as a client.  She made it clear that he had absolutely done nothing wrong, but she said she just got a “vibe” off him. I questioned her about the things he had said and any behavior that took place, and nothing at all had happened…but she wanted to know if she could warn other people about him! I repeat, the man hadn’t said or done anything…she was just projecting that he might do something in the future! Why would you try to ruin someone’s career by spreading that kind of tale? After doing a little more investigation, I found that he had a very successful practice that was not far from her office, while she was having trouble getting hers off the ground.

I’ve known of therapists who opened up a business in close proximity to another MT who was already established, and started advertising their prices at half of what the established therapist charges in an attempt to steal clients.

I’ve heard from therapists who say they won’t refer out to anyone else–even someone who has a different skill set or modality than they do, even when the client is seeking something–and they justify that by saying “No one is as good as I am.” I also see a lot of so-called “medical” massage therapists who act as if they are superior to the therapist who does Swedish massage and who talk about those therapists on the discussion boards as if the Swedish practitioners are the peans and they are the Queen of Massage…go ahead and believe that. You’re making me laugh.

And while I’m on a roll, I’ll just go ahead and mention Massage Envy. I hear therapists criticize them all the time for their low prices–and in reality, their therapists get paid as well as many MTs I hear from who work for chiropractors and in spas, judging from the mail I get and social networks I’m on–and I have also heard many derogatory comments about their massage, as if anyone who works there couldn’t possibly be giving a good massage because they work for Massage Envy, and that is just plain wrong.

Slandering fellow therapists isn’t going to get you any success. Charging half-price isn’t, either. Oh, it may suit you for a while, but eventually, you’ll come to realize that people get what they pay for and that you’ll become resentful of doing the same work for half the money.

Folks, there are enough aching bodies and stressed-out people to go around. Professional jealousy is ugly. It is mean-spirited, and it is about as unprofessional as you can get. If you’re confident in your own abilities, then you don’t need to be jealous of anyone else.

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