I wrote this article for StrengthCoach.com last week, but decided to post it here as well. It basically wrote itself in my head while I was reading an article from another trainer about some of the Frustrations of being a Trainer. Of course every job or career has frustrations, but it occurred to me while reading that article that I am so incredibly lucky to have such a great career, and that perhaps some of the other trainers who have not worked a Dilbert job don’t quite understand how great we have it. I say this as someone who spent the first 15 years of my career with a desk job; most of it either as an employee of a large multinational corporation, or as a consultant for government clients. The following Facebook post by a friend of mine reminded me that I want to post this: “Working for a living bites the big one”

I realized this summer that I smile on my way to and from work almost every day. I absolutely love virtually every aspect of being a trainer, and so when I think of this career, I think of the great satisfaction I get from going to work everyday. Here are a few of them.

1. Satisfaction is…spending most of my day walking, standing, bending, and lifting instead of sitting.

2. Satisfaction is…knowing that I get paid to spend my day talking with interesting people.

3. Satisfaction is…working in a field that I love so much, that I sit in the front row at conferences and ask questions because learning excites me. Satisfaction is chuckling to myself thinking that university me would keener bingo current me.

4. Satisfaction is…realizing how easy it is to excel in my field because so many of my peers do not put in the time and effort to be great.

5. Satisfaction is…having a client tell me that, since training with me, their back doesn’t hurt for the first time in years.

6. Satisfaction is…having a client tell me they think the reason they managed to only sprain their toe from a fall on the stairs (toy on the step) is because the training she has done with me made her strong enough to right herself to avoid a full on Homer Simpson tumble to the bottom.

7. Satisfaction is…a client telling me that he had to adjust his golf club selection since training with me because he can now hit a 7 iron the distance he used to get from a 5 iron.

8. Satisfaction is…being the trainer that massage therapists, chiropractors, and physiotherapists send clients to because they know I will help their clients get strong and fit without getting hurt.

9. Satisfaction is…seeing more and more of my friends come to train with me because they see how well those who already train with me are doing. Extreme satisfaction is watching these friends increase their energy levels, lose weight, have less joint pain, and improve their sports performance.

10. Satisfaction is…watching clients smiling, chatting, and having fun while they work out at my gym.

11. Satisfaction is…watching the smile on my client’s face after they accomplish something they never thought they’d be able to do. Like a pullup. Or a set of 10 proper pushups from the floor. Or jump up onto a ridiculously tall box. Or hit a new personal best deadlift. Or break the 60 second mark in a plank.

12. Satisfaction is…not spending 40 hours each week in a cubicle within a maze of cubicles; with no sense of what time of day it is or what the weather is like because you haven’t seen daylight since 8am this morning; unable to accomplish anything because:

  • the person on the other side of one cubicle wall is talking loudly on the phone about the upcoming weekend.
  • Someone in another cubicle is clipping their nails (Seriously – I’m not making this up).
  • Another colleague has decided they need to talk to you so they just waltz in and hover over you, leaving no escape.
  • You just returned from a 2 hour meeting and you have 2 more meetings today. None of them have any conceivable purpose.
  • Your boss doesn’t know how to delegate so you literally have nothing to do, but must sit there looking busy (this may sound blissful, but trust me, it is horrible).
  • Your boss hasn’t communicated clearly what it is you are supposed to do.
  • You don’t have the resources to accomplish what you are supposed to do.

In other words, satisfaction is realizing that Dilbert and Office Space are pretty accurate portrayals of the job environment most people have to endure, but thankfully it no longer applies to me.

13. Satisfaction is…not counting down the hours and days until retirement when it is more than a decade away.

14. Satisfaction is…having a link between my job performance and my income.

15. Satisfaction is…knowing that I helped somebody today. Probably more than one person. Real people. With names. And real needs.

Special bonus:
Satisfaction is…no longer wearing golden handcuffs. For those of you who know what I’m talking about with this one, I’m going to let you in on a very important secret: The golden handcuffs aren’t locked! All you have to do is open them.

Elsbeth Vaino is a reformed engineer in Ottawa, Canada.


  1. I have lived #12 on and off within the past 10 years (amongst other jobs) and is why I started my goalie coaching business 4 years ago, to escape to reality, LITERALLY!!

    I feel your joy 🙂

  2. Hi Elsbeth,

    Fabulous post! I am on the verge of all of these things, having worked as a full time trainer for years then thinking I needed a “grown-up” job made a move into clinical research. After sitting behind a desk for a few years I am dying to get back to training full time (been doing it on the side part time) and have just removed the “golden handcuffs” to launch my own business in September 2012! (website coming soon)

    Every reason you listed is so on point with all the reasons I’ve decided to finally make the leap!

    Thanks again!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *