For years friends told Roger Weaver that he had a ‘great sense of touch…amazing hands’ and a giving nature, so it was not a huge surprise for him to find himself in the Therapeutic Massage program at SJVC’s Bakersfield campus.
Roger had found the 15-month TM degree program online and “Doors just opened, financial aid and everything,” he says. “It was the perfect time and opportunity, and I was going to make this happen.”
Roger was in need of a new direction. Already in his late 30s, he had spent much of his work life in a business management environment, as well as a few years as a pastor in the ministry. A recent divorce sent him from Reno back to his childhood home in Bakersfield. Roger’s only college experience was a couple of years in Bible College where, when he was nineteen, he “left early and walked away with nothing.”
This time it was going to be different.
The small Therapeutic Massage class of about ten students became the training ground to test the reality of his new career plan. Roger learned the importance of ‘body mechanics’ and excelled at its demonstration.
“It’s how you stand and position yourself and your hands,” he says. “It’s how you don’t want to overreach when you perform a massage, so that you won’t injure yourself and so you also deliver a more effective massage. It is the proper body mechanics of using, not just your thumb, but your elbow and forearm,” he affirms.
Roger’s understanding of technical applications and their fluid performance earned him a long line of student peers and eventually clients, during clinical studies. “When my instructor told me I was booked 5-weeks in advance and people were coming back and requesting me, I was very humble and it made me feel it was my destiny,” says Roger.
Months of near perfect attendance and high grade point averages made Roger a strong candidate for induction into the National Technical Honor Society. Only he and two other SJVC Bakersfield students who applied were accepted.
Roger also stood out for his generosity to other students, many of whom he mentored throughout the program. “If I know something, I’ll share it,” says Roger. “It’s not my glory; I will always encourage others.”
“Roger was well known on campus, as he has an amazing attitude and takes the time to mentor and coach others in his program,” says Chelsea Esquibias, Career Services Manager.
He also got a lot of encouragement – and massage practice – at home. His mom and dad, Judy and Roger, were used to friends and family coming by for their scheduled appointment. “Who wouldn’t want a free massage – but, I was a calendar person,” says Roger, who worked full-time throughout his program. “All my guinea pigs gave me full support.”
A month before the completion of his TM program, Roger submitted an online application for a Massage Therapist position with Burke Williams Day Spa, one of the largest and most reputable spas in California. He was called within half an hour and invited to come to the Union City offices to begin the interview process. After meeting with various levels of representatives, Roger was happy to join their team.
“Burke Williams was my first-choice because they are a hi-end, five-star organization with a reputation for treating their clients and staff well,” says Roger, who started to work at their San Jose spa right after graduation. “I knew I could have gone with them sooner, but I wanted to get that degree.”
“My age and maturity might give me a different outlook than a younger person,” he says. “This is my long-term goal, not a fly-by-night, then move on to something else, kind of outlook. I am filled with awe that I have my dream job and am part of this company.”
Roger has settled into a steady work routine and has begun to build a loyal clientele. He has his own philosophy about the power of human touch that makes him very good at his profession.
“I love, love what I do – and that is huge,” he says. “I do massage as therapeutic relaxation, physical treatment, muscle tension relief, deep tissue, and breathing techniques – result-focused work. There’s a flow that happens, a positive energy that goes into the other person.”
Roger’s innate talent for giving to others will likely find a larger scale eventually.
“I definitely want to move into a teaching level,” he says. Roger will approach that goal as he has everything else of consequence: “boldly, but humbly,” he says.