Sunday, August 28, 2011

Am I Still in High School?

Recently I added Zumba Toning and Aqua Zumba to my Zumba certifications.  I was excited when the local YMCA accepted my application to be an instructor there for these two specialties.  Today I attended my first meeting as a Y employee.  All fitness instructors are required to attend monthly meetings to discuss concerns, safety and any other hot topics.  I was very excited about meeting my new peers. 

When I walked into the room everyone turned around a looked at me but no one said hi.  I smiled and said hi and introduced myself.  One person responded to me and then went back to looking out the window.  No one else said anything.  Granted, I was a couple minutes early so there were only 4 people in the room when I walked in but isn't that even more reason to be friendly?  When the other 12 instructors showed up no one said anything to me.  It was clear that they already had their cliques established and were not open to expanding their social circles.

I think what disappointed me the most was that the fitness director didn't take it upon herself to introduce me to the group.  She didn't respond when I walked in the room.  She saw me sitting by myself while people chatted and didn't do anything to include me.  I sat through the presentation and participated when it was necessary but when it was over I just got up and walked out the door.  At the end of the meeting everyone went back to their cliques and started chatting again so there was no reason for me to sit there are get excluded any longer.  It was so frustrating. 

I have been the new kid/the odd man out before and it really sucks.  When I am in those situations, I go out of my way to speak to new people.  As a fitness instructor I love bringing people out of their shells and challenging them to do things they never thought they could do.  I'll admit there is a little bit of acting involved in being a good fitness instructor (no one is happy or on all the time but you can't dish your problems and life frustrations out to your class) but I genuinely want to make sure the people in my class have a great experience.  No matter how bad I was feeling when I walked in the door, I always feel good at the end of great class.  I couldn't imagine any of my new peers fitting this description.  These people seemed to lack the basic social skills to make it through a job interview, let alone act as a leader and inspire people as a fitness instructor.

I had heard bad things from other friends who worked at the Y and then quit.  But all the complaints that I heard were about the people who worked there, not the people who worked out there.  I knew I wasn't going to come in there and make 15 new best friends but this was much worse than I was expecting.  I am going to focus on giving great classes and making my students feel comfortable.  I left all this cliquey drama behind in high school.  I don't have the energy to go through it again. 

Inevitably, after a month or so some of the people who never spoke to me will be my friends because that always happens over time.  I am open to making friends but I won't be able to forget the awful first impression that they made.  I will make sure that I go out of my way to be nice to new instructors if I am ever put in that position.  Who knows, maybe some of my personality will rub off on some of these kids!  Either way, I'm still excited about my new classes and having new students.  Those are the ones that matter.