New Year’s Resolution: Your Body, Your Career, or BOTH?

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 Invest time and money in your career!  It will have a bigger ROI than the time and money you invest in your body!


ohio stateWith a daughter going to Ohio State University, New Year’s Day started for me in Colorado watching Ohio State University’s football team play Notre Dame.   The family was assembled around the TV at 11 am as the announcers introduced the Battlefrog as the new sponsor of the Fiesta Bowl.   My son and I gave each other a quizzical look.  What the heck?  What happened to the Tostita Fiesta Bowl and who the heck is the new sponsor Battlefrog?

It turns out Battlefrog is a new personal fitness challenge event that participants can pay for the pleasure of overcoming obstacles, crawling through mud, and climbing ropes.  It joins similar personal challenge companies like ToughMudder, Tough Guy, and the Spartan Death Race.  Combined, these organizations provide a platform where over a million people per year can challenge themselves by participating in physically challenging courses.

That got me thinking about the other channels we have available to fulfill our New Year’s resolutions as we work on our health and bodies.   At the stroke of midnight on December 31st of every year, many of us pause to take note of our lack of physical activity.   Whether we make a mental note, write it down, or confide in a friend, many of us will pledge to make a commitment to lose weight, gain strength, or simply start walking to keep in shape.

An enormous industry has grown up to support this consumer demand.

Crossfit has grown to nearly 3,500 locations around the country, Soulcycle is offering spinning classes for as much as $45 per forty-five-minute session, and the industry as a whole now generates over $21 BILLION dollars generated from over 51 million members–that represents about 15% of the U.S. population.   It’s clear that we consumers are investing a HUGE amount of our disposable dollars and time in keeping fit.

Would you invest $55 per month in your career?

According to we spend an average of $55 per month on gym memberships alone.  That’s more than $600 per year.  Take a moment to think about the return on investment you are getting from the time and money you are investing in “getting into shape.”

But what about our careers?  Would you invest $55 per month in advancing your career?

More importantly: When was the last time the shape of our bodies helped us get a job? 

My firm, TalentMarks, provides a Career Community to alumni associations and career centers around the country.  Our goal has been to help colleges and universities show alumni that they are committed to help them launch and lead successful careers by giving alumni access to live and recorded lectures by the nation’s top career authors.  We provide 6 different webinar series designed to deliver career content, advice, and strategies to help students and alumni from the days they graduate through well into their retirement years.  We remind their members (the alumni) that their careers are the greatest investment they will ever make.

In polls we’ve conducted, less than 5 percent of alumni have a written career plan they use to manage their careers.  

It seems odd that we invest so little time in our careers when the payoff is so huge!   Many of us have hobbies and past times where we idle away many hours learning more, making new contacts, and gaining more experiences.   Yet, few people are able to turn their hobbies or pastimes into revenue generating opportunities.

So why don’t we invest time in our careers?

If you talk to Richard Bolles, author of What Color Is Your Parachute, he’ll tell you it’s because our culture is not focused on careers.  Richard sees parents as having a critical role in beginning to help their kids understand the importance of building career plans.  Next, our elementary and secondary educational system needs to actively guide students in how to build a career plan and putting a plan into motion to manage it.  

And our colleges and universities need to focus more on careers!

A survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that the average career center experienced a 22 percent budget cut during 2007 through 2014.   This, at a time when social media and new Internet technologies dramatically changed the job search process and our economy shed –then added back– 8 million jobs!   With 86 percent of incoming freshman indicating they are going to college to improve their employment chances (Freshman Survey), there is a significant need for colleges and universities to invest more resources, staffing, and time into delivering solutions to this need.

While we can point fingers at parents, our educational system has to do more to encourage students to take ownership of their own careers.  

Make a commitment to both!

As you begin your New Year, I’d encourage you to make a new commitment to your career and, at the same time, to build on your commitment to your health and fitness.  Consider following a formula in which you invest an hour in career development for every hour you work on your health and fitness.  When you think about it, both are critically important to your well-being and happiness.

If you’d like some structure to help you manage your career, consider reading Peter Weddle’s book, Career Fitness and pick up a copy of his workbook, The Career Fitness Workbook.  Peter offers a step-by-step process and methodology that will give you some structure and will reinforce your commitment to investing time in your own career development.

What do you think?  

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Don Philabaum
Love to find ways to use technology help more grads and alumni develop successful career strategies.
Don Philabaum
Don Philabaum
Don Philabaum

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