If unbridled optimism was contagious via phone calls, then physiotherapist Hussam Hakeem passed a long a peppy case of the smiles when we spoke. A traveler, physiotherapist and optimist, Hakeem has a job that he loves: helping people move their bodies toward rehabilitation. Physiotherapy, in essence, he says is a practice in ‘active medicine.’
“Don’t do too much, don’t do too little,” Hakeem explains when I ask him about what kind of health advice he gives to his Physio2U clients. “Go for walks. Go for a swim. Go for runs, just do it all in moderation. Whatever it is you love, just take care of your body because it’s the only one you have.”
An in-home physiotherapy collective, Hakeem has worked as a therapist with Physio2U since graduating with a Masters in Physical Therapy from UBC. Like many young BSc undergrads, Hakeem always wanted to be a doctor. But after a few years of travelling through Europe and South America with stints of working at a gym, he realized he wanted both work and life balance. As a trainer at a gym, he volunteered some physio colleagues for a few shifts and realized he wanted to do something more physically active than writing prescriptions and 80 hour work weeks. “I live to work, not work to live,” says Hakeem. His job as a Physio allows him to balance his love of physical activity, interacting with people and helping people overcome often great mental and physical challenges.
Hakeem helps everyone from stroke victims to people with freshly broken arms and enjoys in working in the wide range of fields that physiotherapy offers: neurological rehabilitation, orthopaedics, hand therapy, sports injuries, and geriatric medicine. His client age range is 9 years old to 99 years old, something he really likes about working at Physio2U.
Hakeem believes a client’s positive outlook is just as important as the therapy they receive – approaching a client’s therapy from a holistic and positive perspective not only achieves balance, but also paves the way to a speedy recovery and return to function.
So with that, I urge you to read about Hakeem and his journey to his f*#king awesome job…
So how did you get that f*#king awesome job? Can you describe what your job is and what it is that you do?
I Met Kim (Founder and Owner of Physio2U) when I was a Physiotherapy student at UBC – I was an annoying and eager student looking to network and she was patient enough to listen and help. She gave me her information and told me to contact her when I graduated. Fast forward to present day – I’ve been a Physiotherapist with Physio2U for just over 2 years now and LOVE my f*#cking awesome job?
Being a Physiotherapist is all about the proper diagnosis and treatment of one’s injuries and/or conditions in order to restore proper and pain free movement to get people back to doing what they love and what they need to do.
Did you have to give anything up to get here?
Lots of sleep was lost in the process of going through Physiotherapy school!
Who or what has been your mentor/inspiration along the way?
My dad came to Canada 24 years ago. He didn’t know the culture, the language, or how things worked. He was a Civil Engineer from Iraq who couldn’t work in Canada because his education wouldn’t be recognized. He struggled, but worked relentlessly to support his family, give his kids the best life, and chase his dreams of working as an Engineer in his new home. He learned the language, re-took his exams, and was able to be certified to work as an Engineer in Canada. He did all of this while holding down a job and providing for his family. He now has worked on some of the biggest projects in Vancouver and continues to be sought out for his skills and expertise. I’m lucky and blessed to have had him as a role model to look up to – someone who is living proof that you should always strive for greatness and never give up because success isn’t given to you, you have to put in some real sweat equity to earn it!
In three words or less, what’s the best part of your job?
Working with people
In three words or less, what’s the worst part of your job?
Working with people
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Pro basketball player
What is your drink of choice?
Caesar – extra spicy
Where was the last place you travelled?
San Diego/La Jolla, California
What’s on your playlist right now?
Mark Morrison – Return of the Mack
What are your top three reads vis a vis your career (books, magazines, manuals, podcasts)?
2) Prehab Guys
Any advice for someone who’s looking to lock down their f*#king awesome job?
Get yourself out there! take on opportunities as they come within your industry of choice and don’t be shy – meet people, connect, listen, and learn. You have a pair of ears and one mouth: listen twice as much as you talk 😉
What does the future behold for your f*#king awesome job?
Sky’s the limit! The beauty of my job is in its versatility – I can dabble in the fields that suit my interest, connect with organizations that may benefit from my knowledge and expertise (sports teams, corporate offices, elderly, etc.), and continue to learn and hone my skills.