Saturday, January 16, 2010
A long time ago (4 years ago...feels like a lifetime), I had a job I hated. The fancy grocery store where I worked was in serious turmoil. It was obvious to all the bitter employees that had worked there upwards of 10 years that the store was slowly going under. They were always talking about the good old days, and would freak out at any change or any rumor of change. As a young person knowing this job was not my future, and never knowing the store in its 'glory days,' I was irritated by the awful attitudes of my co-workers. It was so physically and emotionally draining trying to always make the best of my situation.
After having been there for about 2 years, a manager position opened up, and I jumped on the chance. At this point, things were very crazy at the store...every employee knew of the marital affair our CEO had, bankrupcy was looming around the corner, and every week a old timer employee gave their notice. The store was filled with nothing but newer employees, and those old employees that were too fearful to do anything but spread every rumor that they heard. I'm sure it was because the store was so weak I was even considered for this position. I was basically a frat guy taking advantage of a drunk girl. I interviewed, and as far as I know, I got the job.
As I was in limbo between being a common deli worker and a middle manager of the deli workers, my boss took me aside and told me this: "I'm about to tell you something that was told to me long ago. Before you are manager, you must act like a manager. You must do all the things a manager does, without the pay and without the title. This way, you are the obvious choice for any manager position that opens up, since everyone already sees you that way, and you have already been doing the work."
In my young, bull-headed, arrogant youth, I thought this was crap. I understood exactly what he meant as far as my situation at that time. I was going to be doing the work without the pay and without the title no matter what. I blamed this on the uncertain future of the store, and my boss' knowledge that I would do whatever he told me to do. So I did the manager duties for 3 months unpaid until I had enough. I told my boss I needed a raise, or I would stop doing the job. I was given a raise the following paycheck, and 3 months of retro pay.
It dawned on me today while on the treadmill that I learned NOTHING from that experience. My boss 4 years ago had quite possibly given me the best advice for my get healthy journey today. I will not get the title or the pay of being healthy until I have been already been doing the job for some time. I almost shouted "AH-HAH" out loud. Of course!
How could I be so blind to this simple reality? How could I think that working out 30 minutes a day was enough for me to reach my weight loss and running goals? IDIOT! If I want to be say...135 pounds, I need to eat and exercise like a 135 pound person. Every in-shape person I know is very active. Every in-shape person I know eats very little (relative to what I was used to eating). Huh. This is no coincidence, no fast-metabolism-good-DNA conspiracy. It's just that each and every one of them practices what someone told me 4 years ago.