I was recently invited to participate in a Career Day at a Secondary School. Back in our time, we were given information sheets in Third Form and these were to be filled out at home with the guidance of our parents. So the discussion was mainly on the home front as to what your career choice would be and you were then placed in the appropriate Forth Form when that information was added to whatever your Report Booklet reflected. Things have evolved. Many schools now see themselves as parents and seek to give students the exposure they may not readily receive. Well, it does have something to do with the actual parents not encouraging, supporting, and researching career options for their children. So Career Day provides opportunity to envision themselves in a rewarding career, be it academic or skill based.
With the understanding that there will be small groups, I decided on a short video via my laptop as part of the presentation. My battery needs a replacement, and I was advised that that is okay as electricity abounds. I turned up to learn that the classroom to which I was assigned had no power in those outlets on the wall. Alright. I will just have to animate myself. The first group arrived and my greeting them with Namaste had to be explained. Some decided that they liked it and said Namaste to me and their friends; others were fine with Good Morning. We got down to business. By the time the fourth group came along, there were students from previous groups who joined them. Having left, they had some time to assimilate the information and were now back with their questions.
I hopped and skipped through my journey from finishing school and working at the National Library to being a Therapist/Teacher, though it was my intention to be a Journalist. They were keen on knowing how well a Massage Therapist is paid. I gave an estimate of employed and self-employed rates. Now there was eagerness to know what subjects are required to enroll in the program so that they can get to making money sooner than later. Okay, hold up. The subjects are not in isolation, skills are needed too. The passes obtained reflect what was done with your journey in school. I advised that everything they are doing now, some of which they probably want to negate, is part of the molding process. Think of it this way, if you don’t do your best to set that foundation right, the weight of concrete blocks like Massage Therapy, or any other career, will put on public display your inherent faults. Employers do not want to play parents, they want productivity. So be disciplined enough to successfully finish school and that would lend itself to you being disciplined enough to deal with career training, the perseverance required for marketing yourself, and wise use of the money you earn.
I gave them handout and they browsed some of the International Therapist magazine. We spoke of the tools needed to do massage and I solicited ideas on how massage itself can be used as a tool. I labeled two opposite walls Exotic Massage and Therapeutic Massage, and shared on some of the varieties to be found in-between. Participation was forthcoming when we explored Therapeutic Massage, but piety and bashfulness overtook the class when I spoke of Exotic Massage. Oh really? I’m standing in front here talking about something you don’t know? Bottom line is, there are many types of massage therapies, and thus therapists, so education and skills can be built upon. During one session a young lady came up to me to whisper her fear that she might have breast cancer. I asked to class to excuse me for a moment and tried to get the gist of her story quickly. When I addressed the class again I spoke of being a Lymphedema Therapist, as one of the options, then proceeded to talk about the engorged breasts during PMS and draining them towards the axillary nodes. The young men left the class, except for one who I made eye contact with and instructed him to stay put. I told him he may eventually have a girlfriend and could tell her what he learnt. Her pain relief will be to his benefit. So that was the whispered. The young lady felt she had cancer because of engorgement and pain. Google search cannot aid our education if we are only on Whatsapp. But students cannot be judged because many adults who are paying internet bills are no more knowledgeable.
In the end the presenters had a rendezvous. When it was my turn I shared, but highlighted two experiences. Firstly, there was a young lady whose head was on the desk and she was asleep within five minutes of entering the classroom. I went over to her, woke her, and gave her a magazine. I wanted to talk to her afterwards, but with time constraints and strange faces replacing strange faces, it was to breathless. Imagine my surprise when another presenter two seats away from me got up to say her session was not boring, so no one fell asleep. Really? Her decades in a people-oriented career resulted in that assessment? Some of us are unduly competitive. That student was dog tired, not bored. If the school is playing parent, then the Welfare Officer may already know several domestic scenarios that allow for unashamedly falling asleep in the morning, within minutes of being seated. But let’s say it was Narcolepsy.
Secondly, a tall, slim, light-skinned, good-haired, young man came to me privately. He wanted to know about the scope for men in the Exotic Massage industry. He is genuinely interested providing these services for professional women and wanted my opinion on what the minimum pay would be. He already had a few things planned out, like doing outcalls, which I agreed with since the women might be more comfortable in their own space. None of the presenters commented about this. He is a sample of the school population so again, there is work for the Welfare Officer. What domestic circumstances are lending themselves to him having these considerations at age 17? After the eats and drinks I was on the road awaiting a taxi when the very young man came up to me with another student. They were now dress in regular clothing. He stood there smiling. He asked where I was living. I answered. He smiled some more, then pointedly said: I like you. I smiled…as they walked off. Does that mean I am on his radar? Hmmm. Your Honor, I’m the victim. My only crime is that I am a professional woman.