Choosing to Be an Employee
Many massage therapists choose to be employed by someone else for several years before they strike out on their own as sole proprietors or independent contractors. Some choose to remain employees for their entire careers because of employments obvious benefits: having a steady paycheck and colleagues, avoiding the risks of business ownership, and avoiding many of the administrative and management tasks that accompany business ownership. But even though employees avoid the risks inherent in owning a business, they nonetheless accept serious responsibilities inherent to their employment contract (formal or informal).
Your Responsibilities as an Employee
Your responsibilities as an employee are similar to your responsibilities as a professional. If you read the AMTA Code of Ethics and the AMTA Standards of Practice, you will see that many of the following responsibilities are implied as part of a greater commitment to professional excellence.
- Be punctual
- Treat clients as though you were the owner of the business
- Uphold the work standards established by your employer
- Respect employer and client privacy and confidentiality
- Be scrupulously honest in all your dealings, including supply and inventory control
- Maintain a congenial working relationship with your co-workers
- Dress appropriately and give strict attention to personal hygiene (also known as taking standard precautions)
- Be meticulous and timely in your recordkeeping; this may include not just client intake forms but other records such as revenue and expense tracking, inventory control and telephone messages
- Follow the employer's policies regarding vacation time, planned absences and sick days; whenever possible, provide enough advance warning of your absence that client care is not disrupted
- Protect the safety and security of your clients and colleagues
- Keep your work area safe, hygienic and attractive
- If you disagree with your employer regarding any work-related policy, including customer service or working conditions, discuss your concern with your employer in an appropriate setting, focusing on your concern for the business as a whole
Every job is a stepping-stone to something else, possibly increased responsibility, a higher-level position, another job within or outside the company, or just a better understanding of who you are and what your ideals are. Use each job assignment as an opportunity to learn what behaviors you would and wouldn't do under the same circumstances as a supervisor or co-worker, and use what you've learned in future job opportunities. The key to being a good employee is the same as being a good professional: total dedication to your best performance at every opportunity.