Name: Erika Schick
Title: Director of Operations/Head Trainer, Patriot Crossfit
What is it that you do on a day to day basis?
I wear two hats at PCF: Head Trainer, and Director of Operations and Training. As Head Trainer, I coach several Workout of the Day (WOD) classes, which essentially means that I explain and demonstrate movements required for the workout, assist clients in determining the appropriate weight and equipment selections for their skill level, and provide oversight/feedback/corrections as they perform the workout. In my capacity as Director of Operations, I manage the day to day business operations of our small business. This involves a variety of activities, including (but not limited to) managing and training our staff trainers; programming workouts; maintaining our daily blog; maintaining equipment and performing general upkeep around the gym; building community relationships, and ensuring that our clients remain satisfied with the services we provide.
What are your favorite parts of your job?
My favorite part of the job, hands down, is seeing people improve their lives and contributing to the achievement of their personal goals, however big or small they might be. Interacting with our clients is the highlight of my day, and I never tire of seeing someone’s excitement over accomplishing something they didn’t think they were capable of accomplishing. Whether that be gaining strength, speed, confidence, or losing weight, I love helping people get the most out of the hour they spend with us.
How did you get into this field? Was it something you always wanted to do or something you discovered bit by bit?
I started Crossfitting with my husband back in 2007 and was amazed by the changes, both physical and mental, I was able to make my own life. I made the decision to become a Crossfit certified trainer to help other people experience those same benefits, and continued to train people part time while working a full time government job. In 2011, I left the Department of Defense in order to run Patriot Crossfit full time.
What aspect of your work most surprised you? (Either in a good way or a bad way.)
The not so good: the sheer volume of small details that need to be addressed when managing a small business. The good: the impact that can be made on a person’s health, well-being and outlook on life.
Does your education (high school, college or graduate degree) matter in terms of the work that you do today?
Nope. My degree is in political science and I spent 12 years working on the Hill and for the Department of Defense. This is a quite a departure from my education and previous experience.
What environmental factors have the greatest impact on your job satisfaction? (For example: co-workers, compensation, company culture, flexibility, work/life balance, etc.)
I changed career paths as my husband and I decided we wanted to start a family, so I’d have to say work/life balance is a big one for me. As we near the birth of our first child, I’m excited about the flexibility I’ll have to raise our daughter without relying on outside child care – something I couldn’t have done in my previous career. Another huge factor is the wide range of people I get to interact with and impact on a daily basis. I’m a people person, and I love getting to know folks from so many different walks of life.
Any career advice you’d like to pass along to others? (My audience is comprised mainly of adults in their twenties and thirties.)
Don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith. Definitely do your research and make sure that the change you are considering is realistic; if it is, trust your instinct and give it a try. I’ve had both a fulfilling “traditional” career and my current “non-traditional” job, and both were the right thing at the right time in my life. If I had been too afraid to give my current job a try, I would have missed out on the opportunity to drastically impact our family life and to find a completely different type of job satisfaction.