The road less traveled
Pinpoint a moment in your past where you had to make a
big decision. Write about that other alternate life that could
A few years ago I was a swim coach. At that point I had professionally coached for 3 different teams and was the head coach of a swim club at a health club. I was so passionate about helping people of all ages to learn how to swim and grow as swimmers and people.
At the time, I was working full-time at that health club, but to supplement hours; they gave me long life guarding shifts earlier in the day then swim lessons and coaching in the evening. It felt like a demanding schedule and I knew that that much exposure to chlorine was probably not good for my skin and lungs.
I always gave it my all and one day the owner of the club praised me for my work ethic and the way that I connected with the members and swimmers at the club. A week later he called me to offer me a management position. I was so thrilled and couldn’t believe it. He said that I would just have to tell my managers that I was ready to be trained as Aquatic Director.
Then all of a sudden it slipped from my fingertips. My manager (who was not a swimmer) said that they would probably not fill the aquatic director position and asked if I could help with training new lifeguards and running inservices. As a whole, I was very disappointed. The aquatics department was close to my heart and I had so many fresh ideas on how we could improve our programs. Then they made one of the spa managers the lifeguard director and asked me to help her. This created a lot of tension within me because this new manager did not even know how to swim and was not a lifeguard. In fact, she was afraid of swimming. It was nothing personal against her, but I felt like I was treated unjustly because they had promised the job to me then gave it to someone else.
I also did not get a raise for helping Ellie run the lifeguard department. At that point I wanted to find a different position that would pay more than working at the pool, but it felt like they just wanted to keep me exactly where I was with no real opportunities for growth.
Many of my swimmers on my team had talked about how they wanted our team to become sanctioned under USA swimming so that they could compete at swim meets. I was working hard to make this happen, but got shot down by management. I even organized our own swim meet.
This whole situation made me feel like somehow I was lacking or not good enough for that position. What did these other individuals have that I didn’t? Was I pouring my heart and soul into my work for nothing? My team made everything worthwhile, but management cracked down even more and cut my breaks in half and I felt myself starting to burn out.
The happiest day of my life, that year, took place in May when I found out that I got accepted to a University. After years of working my ass off and struggling to make ends meet I finally had the opportunity to better myself. I didn’t want to leave the health club completely and was going to hang in there for my team.
My bf always told me that I could do better. I could learn skills that would help me to get further in life rather than spending my days struggling at the pool. It felt like a huge risk, but after a while I decided to take the leap of faith.
Looking back I realize that it was the Best decision I could have ever made. Sometimes I really do miss coaching, but I know that I could always pick it up again if I really wanted to. I think that if I continued working there I might be in better shape because I was so active and had a free membership, but it would not have been worth-it. The place, the drama, and the management would have continued to drag me down. I would have continued to go to work each day wondering why I wasn’t good enough.
I have decided that I never ever want to work another job at a place where the people make me feel like I am not good enough. I have set higher standards for myself and am raising the bar!