In 2012, I decided I wanted a career change. I decided that I wanted to swap my fancy corporate outfits and shoes and ties and cologne and cufflinks for sweaty, comfy, colourful, multipurpose so-called ‘activewear’. I simply thought it would be a good idea to be swapping being really good at spreadsheets, finance and budgeting, marketing campaigns, proposals, elevator pitches to something more meaningful (loosely used here) and something that I know creates a change and impact on a day-to-day basis.
That was more than 5 years ago now. I was lucky enough to have already been working with one of the community gyms in Canberra to operate as their marketing and creative business personnel so my entry into the fitness world was seamless. Swapping out late night hang outs to early nights in preparation for the 5am wake up call didn’t seem to bad after all especially that I was lucky enough to transition into a management position with one of the industry leaders in Australia as their Group Fitness Manager and only just after 18 months with the community gym in Canberra. It was all that I have ever wanted at the time. And I did it!
Six months working at one site for an entry level me shortly saw me getting moved to look after the top two busiest sites in the country when it comes to everything group fitness and customer service. As you can see, this is like a fairytale come true and I was having the time of my life.
One year went. Two years went. Three years went. (wow I was actually doing not so bad for a millennial who on average only last 18 months in one position). Four years soon went and I decided I need to pull the plug. And call it quits. Not because I no longer love the industry that I was in. Not because of the 9pm curfews on school nights and 5am wake up every morning. it was that I soon realise after four years, there was really no where for me to develop and progress to.
This sounds stupid and diva-ish but I don’t always know what I want. However, I do know what I don’t want. I knew I don’t want to be a Club Manager. And I knew that there was not really any pipeline in place for any of the Group Fitness Managers really to move up into an Area Fitness Manager position as our colleagues from the Personal Training departments are always deemed a better favourite to us. Because apparently, you can learn and pick up everything group fitness as a Personal Training Manager but the reverse ain’t quite so true.
Being a 26-year old, I questioned this. I mean, I had a university degree. I had a clean track record of my employment history. How about let’s create some opportunities? Thankfully, management was nice and trusting about it all and something landed for me. I gave it a good hard go creating opportunities for myself and putting my hand up to run regional training and offer my expertise to others. Why? Because I strongly believe that the more you can create congruency across departments in a brand or business, the more well oiled your business is going to be. And, most importantly, is that some doors will be readily open for you in your life but some doors are there for you to ply them open yourself! And all I ever wanted at this stage of the career was to be THAT person. That person educating across the board the power of group fitness in the fitness industry, that person educating on retention strategy, customer service satisfaction, quality assurance across product delivery, and that person to be mentally stimulated to create a bigger impact within the business and the industry.
Maybe it was that the future of the business didn’t include or may it is the fact that I could never be a puppet to anyone just carrying our their orders without voicing out my opinions, my suggestions and etc. What’s the term? Too opinionated. Maybe I am that entitled millennial who thought he knew it all but yet actually no. Whatever it was, I just knew I was hitting the end. The part of the tunnel where there is no more door to open and digging further into the tunnel may just get me stuck deeper underground. There was no more development. There was no more growth. There was no more goal for me. There was no more meaning that I yearn entering the fitness industry in the first place. Sadly, there was no more engagement from me to the business. Because, I started to question “What is in it for me?”. Was that stupid? Was that selfish? Was that young, dumb and blonde?
As a person who will always give my 110% to the company and business, I decided I wanted a change. I wanted where, if it is true that there is no more pathway to go further, I can dedicate 110% to the company at 50% of the time and dedicate the other 50% to my own self. When my request could not be met at the time of resignation, I simply said, thanks for everything to-date but here is my 4-weeks notice. The lack of engagement and support from the organisation was the main reason why I quit in the very end. Do I have any angst against the business? Absolutely not. Do I have to end everything on a bad sour note? Absolutely not. It is just now two entities who could no longer meet each other’s reciprocal needs. Simply incompatible.