I have the perfect job for a superstar wanna-be. I’m a massage therapist. I want to hate my current place of employment so bad, but it turns out, it’s the dream job for a kid with stupidly ambitious goals.
First off, I make enough money to pay my bills and buy the expensive gluten-free bread that my delicate body requires. For someone with their head in the clouds, it’s really nice to be able cover rent without panicking too much.
Mostly, I work with tourists who come in to feel rich and pampered, not because they are suffering from some physical ailment. Of course, I didn’t get into massage therapy to pamper rich people; I got into it to help take away people’s pain. The fact that I rarely get to actually help people might sound terrible, but it’s totally not. If I were constantly making people happy and contributing positively to their health, I’d be able to justify staying with this job for so much longer and it would prevent me from shooting for superstardom. But on the other side of things, I do occasionally see a person who really needs help. And I really help them. It’s those few people that keep me fulfilled enough to not just storm out and quit.
But the key to this being the dream job: I’m totally expendable. I can be replaced in a minute. Actually, most of the time I don’t even need to be replaced at all. I’ll give you an example:
One day, I was feeling overwhelmed with life in general. At work, the clients weren’t appreciative, my back hurt, my hands hurt. I just couldn’t do it. I was being a bit of a diva. I walked up to my boss and said “I’m going to leave now,” and she responded with, “ok.”
I felt it necessary to tell her that I would be back the following day but I’m pretty certain she didn’t ask for a reason…She didn’t care.
This is pretty perfect for a few reasons. I can take a day off whenever I want. I can call 3 minutes before I’m supposed to be there and tell them I’m not coming in. Not only do they not care, they say, “Ok…who is this?”
At a moment’s notice, I can run off to an audition or see an afternoon matinee of the latest Adam Sandler movie.
This expendability is my greatest source of motivation. I’ll illustrate with a story of the other end of the spectrum.
There was a guy who was having a bad day. Things weren’t going well at work. The clients weren’t working with him the way he hoped. He was just having one of those diva days. He said, “forget this, I’m going to leave early.” And he left.
Do you know what happened next? There was a riot. Literally. With cars being flipped and fires being set.
The guy in the story is Axel Rose and the “clients” he complained about were thousands and thousands of screaming, diehard fans.
The next time I leave work early, I want a riot to erupt. Well maybe not a riot, but I want someone to care. I want at least a few people to appreciate what I do. I want it to be kind of difficult to replace me. The fact that none of this is a remote reality for me right now burns me. I need more. I have to have more.
Every single day, my job feeds my burning desire to be appreciated and wanted but never teases me with the potential that it will happen here. My job says, “You wanna be appreciated, go somewhere else.” There is no carrot being dangled over my head, no false promises. I won’t be fulfilled enough to ignore my dream and stay at this job for 20 years. I’m sitting in a chair that’s comfortable enough to help me rest my legs but not comfortable enough for me to want to sit for too much longer. And I’m so thankful for that.