Hi, Aunty B,
I am a brand new personal trainer, and I love this career, but I have some concerns about my employer.
I was hired a few months ago at a health club, and during the interview process, was told that they wanted to have a fitness manager in place before they hired an inexperienced trainer.
When I finally started they’d just hired the new manager, who, to my surprise, was both manager, overseeing the other trainers, and full-time trainer (that doesn’t seem to be the norm in most clubs).
This manager has rarely been available to help when I have questions or need guidance, because their own personal training business comes first. I also view this as a conflict of interest, because the manager is directly competing with an inexperienced trainer and all of the other trainers for clients. (This same person even tried to purge one of my prospective clients – and this was before I had any yet.)
I have spoken to them diplomatically about my concerns, and they said they felt they should “lead by example” (which was supposed to explain why they are so competitive when it comes to selling training) and assured me they would begin delegating clients to other trainers as their own schedule filled up. That conversation was two months ago, and there have still been no changes.
I fully expected the first year to be tough, and I’m happy to say I do have a few clients, now. The club, however, seems poorly managed, and I wonder if this situation is creating more of a challenge than necessary. If you were in my shoes would you stick it out or move on and find another training opportunity somewhere else?
I would appreciate your feedback. Thank you!
Running thin on patience
Dear Running out of patience,
That manager is eating your lunch. Any manager responsible for overseeing the work of employees or contractors should be very clear about what their job is and what they are rewarded for. And of course the person reporting to the manager must understand their responsibilities and goals or they become completely demotivated and annoyed – as you are.
In fact, when I employ managers I spend a lot of time trying to suss out if this is a person who can do their job – not the job of their employee. It is very common for managers to not know how to do their job well – or even half well! So they take the work and the credit and the glory and the commission and the clients… And all the time defending their actions with a whole lot of excuses. Like “this is our culture. And it will teach you to be aggressive. And we are changing things, just be patient.”
Well a young lady like you who clearly knows what’s what can only be patient for so long.
So here is what you have to do. Feel justified in being very annoyed. Suss out other places to work. Line up an alternative job. Then confront your manager. Be very clear about what you want. Be prepared to leave if you don’t get it. Make sure in this conversation that you are not fobbed off again.
And meanwhile in the back of your mind keep thinking about how you might grow your business and how you will make sure your managers are doing their job.
Your Aunty B
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