Well, 2016 is with us and in addition to my usual list of resolutions there is a pressing one relating to furthering my career. As I scooted round all manner of recruitment sites I landed on Gary Chaplin’s site. Gary is an executive headhunter based in Cheshire and his website is well worth a look if you are in the market – or if you like gin. Seriously!
One of his blog posts Too Fat To Get A Job struck a chord as it will with others who are combining general new year self-improvement objectives with a fresh professional challenge. It’s a thought-provoking read, with some useful stats and his own valuable views on how one might be perceived when being considered for a role.
He makes an effective point when comparing the general landscape of increased obesity with the body shape and innate perception of many leaders’ svelte and trim figures. How many CEO’s, how many heads of state, how many public figures are ‘stout’? And I am now squirming a little uncomfortably in my seat. He’s right! Of course there is no law against being ‘well padded’ but first impressions matter and if the person hiring happens to conclude that a visible lack of personal pride and care is likely to carry over into a view of how much care and attention you will put into the job, then maybe you are heading for trouble.
Of course, not everyone aspires to be a ‘C-level candidate’, so does that mean most of us can switch off from the issue and order another Latte and muffin, or habitually neck half a bottle of wine a night with dinner?
None of us are getting any younger. And it is likely our working lives will be longer than before. Things happen as we get older. Metabolisms change, muscle mass deteriorates, bones lose their density and maybe become more brittle. And statistically it is increasingly likely we could experience serious or chronic illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems etc. Some are down to bad luck and genetics, some are down to poor lifestyle choices. In an age where manual labour has often been replaced with a sedentary desk-bound job, we’ve not always been quick enough to recognise that the body needs fuelling and maintaining differently. Medical progress is often regarded as a safety net or a get-out-of jail card for lifestyles that have refused to adapt to the very different way many of us now live. And that’s just the physical side. What about the various mental health issues of stress, depression and dementia?
We are living longer, marrying later, having children later, and expecting a long retirement. This shifts the focus of our prime years further down the line. But what physical state will we be in when we get there? We need to weigh up quantity AND quality of life.
So, my message this week is to take a little time to look beyond the usual new year’s resolution mantras, and think a little more about long term health planning, asking: how long do I want to live? How long do I want to work? What sort of shape do I want to be in when grandchildren come along? How much of a burden do I want to be on my husband/wife/ children etc? We mostly have sufficient wealth to control these choices for good or bad. And if we take control and adopt an active rather than passive approach, then along the way we will enjoy all aspects of our life more and might also end up getting that dream job.
A Happy (and healthy) New Year