• Jajuan Michael Harley

I'M SICK OF THIS SHIT!


I’m sick of this shit! I always told people I will not work in a gym. Over the past two years, I’ve worked at two gyms. This recent experience was by far the worst. As of today, I was verbally abused by the gym owner on West Gandy Blvd in Tampa, Florida. The owners have refused to pay me for my skills and services managing the gym, recruiting clientele, marketing, and training interested customers. I spent 93 hours helping to get this gym going within 10 days.


In 2019, I coached members at a gym in South Tampa for four months. They were struggling to reach $40,000.00 a month, but when I came in, I helped increase that revenue from $40,000.00 to $80,000.00 in 4 months. The GM at South Tampa was so impressed with my customer service and training skills that she awarded me Employee of the Month. However, the Head Trainer, my boss at the time, did not view these skills as assets; rather, he viewed them as a threat. He suggested we both have a challenge on who can transform members the best within a certain time frame. We both believe in our methods, but he spat on my training style in front of customers. His actions took and/or could have taken food out of my mouth because he is the head trainer and has been there longer, so his words were more powerful to the members of the gym.


My method is based on what my father taught me. To be clear, my father was a National Physique Committee (NPC) Bodybuilder and Judge for 20+ years—and in order to become a judge, one has to first build a reputation as an esteemed competitor. What makes matters worse, the head trainer called me, a black man, a “boy.” We live in Florida where racism is high. I was illegal banned from the premises per his orders. I set up a meeting with The Human Resource Department where he claims he didn’t know the impact of a white man calling a black man “boy.” By the way, he is from Oklahoma. The Human Resource Office did nothing to him. I resigned while he kept his job. They wanted to transfer me to another gym, but I knew this transition posed more risks than benefits; I knew it was a set up for failure. Their intentions were to fire me and mess up my reputation. I struggled for months, nearly a year before I could find an earning. His actions overall incurred for me a deep depression and anxiety.

When a black man, peacefully and respectfully stands up to get what he deserve, we are considered out of line. Black men are viewed as boys who have no reason to stand up like a man. This goes back to my College Football Days. I was thrown under the bus after having a great year performing but went through hell with my coaches., sadly I was told by National Football League (NFL) Scouts that I would have been drafted if my coaches had decent things to say about me. This disrespect is why my experience as an NFL Free Agent is a journey for the ages.

I’M SICK OF THIS SHIT!


Despite these obstacles and setbacks, I have learned five valuable lessons:


1. Stand up for yourself when no one else will.


2. Know your worth. Do not let anyone place a stamp on you because he/she refuses to see you as an equal.


3. Speak up, out and control your narrative. Do not allow anyone to tell your story.


4. It is okay to take a chance, even if it means you have to re-pivot, to take a few steps back to better navigate your next move. You have more power within you than the person who’s trying to destroy you.


5. Continue to do the right thing because what is done in the dark, will come to the light.

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