Thursday, August 16, 2012

Zumba Job Journey

When I began the steps to get hired as a Zumba instructor at the nice, huge fitness center here, I didn't quite realize what I was getting into. Unbeknownst to me, I had shown up at the Lamborghini of gyms. (I've never been a real gym member, much less at one of the fanciest in the country! I only know dance studios; and the one gym where I taught in Georgia wasn't a franchise: very simple - no bells & whistles.) It was like walking in off the street to the Admissions Office of Harvard or Davidson and saying, "I'm smart. Let me in." :-D In the dance world in Atlanta & Chicago even before Zumba, I was used to just showing up at a studio with my résumé, the management really liking my personality, and hiring me on the spot - every single time.

*pop* [the sound of my bubble bursting. :-P]

That was NOT the case here. At all.

I am *WORKING* to get this position!

I got an inkling that this would be a serious corporate operation when I called to express initial interest and inquire re: openings. I was told to fill out the paperwork to preregister for the Group Fitness Movement Audition and prepare a three-minute audition song. Ummmm, OK. It's actually normal (I was just lucky before ;-)) to have a Zumba movement audition, and I liked that they'd see what they were getting with me up front. :-) What I didn't expect was to see 23 other people at the audition! It closed with the director saying we'd hear something in 3-5 business days...

Happily, I *did* hear on the very first possible day! I had passed the movement audition (forgot to mention: during which we were scored by SIX different department people!) and scheduled a phone interview for the next day.

The phone interview also went well. I had no idea what to expect: it only lasted 10 minutes. After I got a big check mark for that, it was time to schedule my first personal interview - before which I needed to memorize the company's Mission Statement, Vision Statement, & Group Fitness Department Objective. I was also asked if I'd be willing to take an all-day group fitness certification course on the 18th from 9 AM - 6 PM an hour away & pay for it out of pocket. Ummmm, OK. (I actually responded, "Of course!" with the utmost enthusiasm ...but if I'm being honest, I really thought, "ANOTHER hoop to jump through?") I completely understand them requiring the training course: they are a major company that needs quality control to protect their brand. I would require the top levels of education from anyone I wanted to employ, as well, if it were my business ...but when a job was not, yet, guaranteed, for a moment it felt like a lot to ask.

I tried not to let myself get overwhelmed (thank you, TBP!) I memorized the company statements and showed up for the personal interview Monday morning. We had a great connection & energy that put me at ease right off the bat ...but then the "tell me a time when" questions were hard. I haven't been teaching Zumba that long, so I haven't experienced many (any?) hardships that I've had to overcome; but I also wanted to come up with at least SOME answer to each question. I had no clue whether I was bombing or rocking this portion, with my stretch answers.

But apparently I rocked it. :-P She said she LOVES that I haven't taught at many other gyms, so I don't have to unlearn any bad habits. I have the energy & passion, and those are the only things she can't teach. :-D So now she wanted me to go to the next step: interview with the GM.

That was this Thursday afternoon at 4:15. My appointment confirmation made a big point of saying to wear "professional attire", so I dug my timelessly classic Brooks Brothers suit out of the deep recesses of my closet. [It was back there with other precious-yet-seldom-used gems, like my genuine red leather pants (which I rocked on my bachelorette party weekend in New Orleans ;-))] Dressed to the nines and in sleek black heels for the first time in...AGES [PS - Will looked at me like I was an alien!!! He made a point of saying he doesn't like Mommy in high heels! :-P :-D] we arrived early enough for me to drop the kids off at free childcare (joy!) and "relax" (wait some more ;-)) in the lobby.

The GM was casual and put me right at ease. She read over all my previous interview notes and even told me some of the things others had written on my movement audition critiques: "adorable", "amazing smile", and - the most jaw-dropping, from the Group Fitness Department Head - "good muscle tone". :-O #knockmeoverwithafeather I will live on that for weeks!!! :-D The GM told me flat out that the Group Fitness Department Head wants me, so I that I can "bring diversity to their Zumba program." HAAAA!!! How hysterical is THAT - that they need a dancey, cheerleadery white girl who will draw the Caucasian members into Zumba, b/c their current classes are almost all Latina/South American! :-D I never thought the race card would EVER be an advantage to me in Zumba!!! (I've even often wondered if I should trend more Latin in my music & choreography, like everyone else. I guess not! :-D)

But I still don't know exactly what's next. The GM asked at the end, "So what did the Group Fitness Head [who has been spearheading this] say was the next step?" Ummmm, I thought this WAS the last step. ??? I told the GM that she had said this was the final interview, and the GM said she was sure the Group Fitness Head would touch base with me soon, then, and they could copy my social security card & drivers license later. So, nothing formal still, but the GM told me exactly why they want me and that I'll be great...so I assume I'm in? Tentative yays???

Yes, I still have to pass this Group Fitness Certification training all day from 9 AM - 6 PM Saturday, and I will still have to get CPR/AED certified and go through heart rate monitor training, etc. ...But it sounds like if I keep staying the course with them that I'm in.

When I found out about all these initial hoops, I did question myself for a minute: "Why not try the Y or call some other private gyms that won't make me do all this involved corporate stuff?" This was the very first and ONLY Zumba teaching opportunity here that I even heard about & pursued. I knew I was doing the right thing, though, b/c I kept praying about it with every step and gave every bit of it up to God. I asked Him to make this happen, if it was His will, and to prepare me for every hoop. There probably were/are easier avenues out there, but I'm so glad I stuck with it and have ended up in a Lamborghini situation! :-D

The free membership for me & the kids (& JB at a discount, if he wants, after football season) will be worth it alone. This place is literally a resort. A resort with free childcare that they love, too! And indoor year-round pool, hot tub ♥ , café, and day spa!!! (Oooo! Praying for employee massage discounts! ;-)) The fact that I'll get paid to get healthier and now I'll have a much stronger Zumba resume is icing on the cake. :-D Thank you, God, for carrying me through this!

3 comments:

  1. Hope the rest of the process goes smoothly!!

    Have a great weekend!

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  2. Wow, what an experience you've had the past few weeks! Keeping my fingers crossed for you, and it sounds like there are plenty of great reasons to pursue this (discounted membership, etc), above and beyond the fun of doing a job you love! :)

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  3. Thank y'all so much!!! Still waiting to hear anything either way, so prayers of grace during the limbo would be appreciated! :-)

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