I consider my blog a healthy living blog. I don’t stick to just one topic, such as food or exercise, so I lump my blog in the whole healthy living category. I love to talk about anything related to health. With that comes physical health, mental health and emotional health. It’s not all about food and fitness here. That is just a piece of the whole health puzzle 🙂
Today I want to talk about occupational health. Occupational health I feel gets overlooked when we think about our health. The fact that I rarely talk about my job tells me I often overlook it myself! It’s important to be happy with what you do in terms of work.
There have been times in life when I’ve had to work jobs that I knew were not my calling, but they were all opportunities that have lead me to where I am today.
I’ve been a:
- Pizza delivery girl (When my obsession with pizza began ;))
- A lifeguard
- A salesperson
- An aerobics instructor at various locations
- And most recently I worked at a University in Georgia as a Fitness Director and part time college instructor
I loved my job as a Fitness Director. But because this job was far away from my family and friends, it made my other health (most notably my emotional health) suffer. I had to leave. This decision increased my emotional health for the better, but left me feeling unhealthy in the occupational health department.
When I transitioned from Georgia back to Ohio (where I am from), it was exciting yet very tough. I had to scramble to find a job, even if it meant doing something that I wasn’t so passionate about. But my priority was to be able to pay the bills, so I was willing to do so.
Luckily I found a job at a supplement store full time within 2 weeks of moving back. This certainly was not a fitness related job, but at least I could talk about some aspects of wellness there. I did enjoy the people I worked with and enjoyed getting to meet many different people that came in each day, but I was still left with the feeling that I was not doing what I was supposed to be doing. It made me a little depressed to be honest.
It’s About Who You Know…
About 3 months after I began working at the supplement store (and still feeling as if I wanted to do something more in my field), I got an email from the person who would become my current supervisor. She had my name and resume on file and emailed me to see if I was currently looking for a job because she had a full time Fitness Specialist job opening. I had not been in contact with her for well over a year (I had actually previously applied before I took my Georgia job and she ended up giving the job to an intern that was already working there) so it was really out of the blue that she contacted me!
You know that saying, “it’s all about who you know?” Well it was certainly true in my case! This job was not posted on any job websites or on a company website. Because I had previous contact with my current supervisor and she knew my background in health and wellness, I was able to land an interview and within 2 weeks, I had a new job.
I put my 2 weeks in at the supplement store and got prepared to take on my role as a “Fitness Specialist”. I was more then ready to do so!
The Role of a Corporate Fitness Specialist
Corporate Fitness Specialists work for companies that offer health promotion programming to their employees. The company that I am employed by contracts with another company (the actual place that I work) to run an employee fitness center and an employee medical center. I assist in the management of the fitness center, along with my supervisor (the director) and one other Fitness Specialist.
As a Fitness Specialist, my job is to….
- Keep employees healthy
- Help employees (who have decreased health) to get on the road to good health
- Increase productivity – decrease time away from job when illness arises
To do this we offer a variety of programs…
- Various Group Exercise classes
- Incentive Programming
- Ergonomic Assessments
- Personalized Exercise Programs
- Physical Therapy
- Education on various health topics
- Volleyball leagues
Today I love what I do professionally. It’s the right job for me at this point in my life and keeps my occupational health in good standing, which in turn helps the other aspects of my health (emotional, physical, and spiritual).If you are not working at your dream job, don’t give up hope! Each job we do (even if it seems irrelevant), can help build skills that we can use in future jobs.
For example, all the years I worked in a restaurant really helped build my confidence in speaking with others. I also learned how to work in a high stress environment with the not-so-nice customers, including a grown man who dropped ‘f-bombs’ at a 15-year old girl because his pizza was not ready (yes, this happened to me!)
Working as a lifeguard gave me confidence in my ability to act. I thought my job was to wear my bathing suit and get tan until I had to save someone’s life. All the training that I went through came into action at that moment. Since then, I know I am capable of more then just ‘sitting and getting tan’ and I take my jobs more seriously.
Tips for Landing a Job
Internships: Even if it’s not paid, you should be getting experience in your field. I wish I would have done that earlier in my college years. I waited until my senior year to really land a good internship. Start early! Build that resume. Most every where I’ve worked asks questions during the interview based on your experience…not the classes you took in school.
Network: Sometimes, as in my case, it’s all about who you know when it comes to getting a job. By applying to jobs, you are already getting your name out there, even if you don’t land that job. Keep applying! Keep getting your name out there. Talk with professors, friends, and family to see if they know of anything. Use social networking to your advantage to make yourself known.
Resume and Cover Letters: You should have a professional resume and cover letter written. Have someone look it over who is an expert or has a lot of experience with writing resumes, such as a teacher, your parents, a career service worker, etc. My mom is a professor and has helped me over the years with understanding what employers want to see in a resume and cover letter. Believe me, she takes no mercy on me because I am her daughter! She has torn some of my old resumes and cover letters to pieces! But it’s how I’ve grown and learned from her advice that has enabled me to land a job.
Personalize: With writing resumes and cover letters make sure to personalize each one. Address your cover letter and resume to the employer and make sure that it’s explaining your background that is relevant to the job you are applying to! Just yesterday I read a resume of someone applying for an internship here and they have no background in fitness or wellness and their degree is in science. They did not state anywhere that they were even interested in fitness. Make sure you personalize and make it clear what you are interested in. Employers will not make the effort to try and figure it out.
Dress: When showing up for an interview make sure to dress the part. Where a nice blazer and pants, that shows you are professional. I typically wear black dress pants, a button down collared shirt, a black blazer and nice dress shoes. I wear natural make up and make sure my hair is nice. Dressing the part shows that you are taking the interview seriously. At the supplement store, a guy showed up for an interview for the position of “assistant manager” in what looked like a Hawaiian shirt, shorts and flip flops. My supervisor at the time sent him home and told him to call her when he was ready to be interviewed. Employers do not full around!
Prepare: Interviews are intimidating and can be uncomfortable. I still get very nervous before each interview and the best advice I can give for this is to prepare for it. Prepare some answers to questions that you think you’ll get asked. For example, “Why are you interested in this position” or “Tell me about yourself”. These questions are asked most all of the time. I will write out my answers to these before hand so that it’s in my mind what I want to say. Don’t memorize your answer. Just have a basic understanding of what you want to get across.
With preparing you also want to know about the place you are applying to. Do your research and come up with some good questions you want to know about them.
Your always being Interviewed until you Leave: Even if you feel comfortable with the people you are interviewing with, you still need to maintain that level of professionalism. For example, if a potential employer takes you to lunch, you still need to act as though it’s an interview. It might be a more laid back environment and the employer may not even be grilling you with questions, but that does not matter. You must stay “on” until you leave.
Thank you: Always send a personalized, even hand written, thank you note to the employer after the interview. If not hand written, at least send a thank you email. This shows your taking the interview process seriously and that you are interested.
Apply Apply Apply: Keep applying every day. Every phone interview or in-person interview you get gives you more experience and you will eventually find something that fits you. Don’t give up!
What do you currently do for a living or what do you want to be doing for a living?