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Shifting Gears and Careers – Part 2

Shifting Gears and Careers – Part 2

Gavin Rowlandson of Baie-D’Urfe, Quebec made the decision to leave a professional engineering career of over 25 years and pursue becoming a massage therapist and co-business owner with his wife Julie.  This is Gavin’s story. 

(To read Shifting Gears and Careers – Part 1 click here)

Part 2 – The Transition

Gavin's Massage Therapy Room

Gavin’s Massage Therapy Room

The decision for Gavin to pursue massage therapy as a new profession did not come without doubts.  Gavin was unsure of how he would feel about massaging people’s bodies and wondered whether he would even be good at it.  Once Gavin started his massage therapy classes, he received the confirmation he was looking for.  He actually enjoyed giving massages and was told he had ‘good hands’.  Gavin started to slowly feel more confident about his decision to change careers.

At this point though, Gavin had only confided his plans for his new career path to a few of his very close friends.  He didn’t think it was a good idea to broadly announce his future career aspirations too long before he was actually prepared to leave his current position.  He was also not quite sure how people were going to respond to his new career direction.  It was not a very common occurrence for a professional engineer to announce they are changing careers – especially to something like massage therapy.

Gavin eventually started to tell some of his engineering colleagues of his massage therapy business plans.  He was quite surprised by their response – which the majority of the time was very calm.  He wasn’t sure this calmness was from respect or just outright shock at his drastic change.  Gavin soon discovered that most of the time the response was from a place of respect and the recognition of the courage he was showing in taking such a bold move at this stage of his life.

This career shift was not an easy transition.  There were quite a few times that Gavin questioned his new path and whether this was the right decision for both himself and his family.  The fear of losing a steady job and a consistent salary with benefits, along with turning his back on all his experience and expertise in the field of engineering were all very real.  Gavin felt that he needed to trust his instincts and continued to push forward.

Gavin is also quick to highlight that his family – and particularly his wife – were his biggest supporters through this change.  He says he sometimes wondered whether their support was because they wanted him to pursue his dream, or just to see if they could get rid of the irritable and moody man in their house. Either way, he was appreciative to have their support.

Gavin's Office

Gavin’s Office

Once Gavin completed the massage classes, he initially started by taking on clients in the evening and on weekends.  Once Gavin started, he found himself not only providing massage services but also guiding people and trying to help them deal with some of their life issues.

In order to support his clients in this area, Gavin realized that he also needed some counselling tools and enrolled and completed classes in holistic psychotherapy.  It was during these classes, that the  instructor and fellow trainees helped him to make the decision to formally announce his new career plans.   Gavin made the decision to meet with his boss and tell him that he was pursuing a new career path but that it was in a stage of transition.

Gavin’s boss agreed to Gavin working part time.  This was a good solution for both Gavin and his employer as this would ease both the impact to the organization as well as provide Gavin and his family some additional financial support as he made this career change.  Gavin then completed the necessary 200 hours of case studies and added Holistic Practitioner to his Massage Therapist credentials.

Gavin was now ready to go.

Find out where Gavin is today in the final segment of Shifting Gears and Careers