Calorie Counting & Your Career

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8 Success Strategies

Have you ever been on a diet? It can be a real challenge. The same can be said for job searching. It’s rare that anyone wants to do either activity, but the end results (whether it be a smaller size or a better job) are well worth the effort.

1) Consistency and patience are key to the process.
The Dieter: I’ll just drastically slash my calories, cut out all carbs, work out excessively and get this over and done with as quickly as possible.
You may be somewhat successful in the short term, but most likely you’ll be hungry, irritable and unable to sustain the effort. You’ll also be more prone to gain the weight back. Better to cut your calories reasonably, do a moderate amount of exercise and be prepared for the pounds to come off gradually.

The Job Seeker: I’ll  apply to every job that looks decent with the same resume. It’s a numbers game. I don’t have time to use LinkedIn or waste time on there. 
We get the sentiment, but blasting out resumes is not a great strategy. Instead, try targeting jobs and employers that match your skill set. Be picky! Take the time to really research companies that would be a good fit and customize your resume for each one. Learn how to use LinkedIn to your advantage (more on that HERE).

2) You need a plan, goals and accountability.
The Dieter: I’ll just eat less and move more. 
It’s a good start, but a big goal without a solid plan is just a dream. Even if you don’t track calories, carbs, etc formally, it helps to have goals you want to reach with dates, milestones and mini goals along the way.  There are free apps to track your food, activity and weight. Consider a fitness tracker to help motivate you to get moving. A chart with goal dates and what you aim to lose each week can also help. It doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated. Putting it in writing makes it real and tangible.
The Job Seeker: I don’t need to keep track of my job search activities. And, I’ll just ‘wing it’ on interviews. It’s just a conversation right?
A better idea is to start a Word document or Excel spreadsheet with dates and names of companies you applied to and when. This helps you stay organized and, if you’re collecting unemployment, will come in handy if you have to show proof of your job search. As far as interviewing, the more prepared you are, the better. It pays to practice and go into an interview knowing what kinds of questions may be asked, as well as having appropriate answers.  While an interview is a conversation, there’s much more to it than that, and there are strategies to make yours successful.

3) It’s not glamorous.
The truth about dieting is that there really is not a magic pill. It’s a grind.  You have to be vigilant and committed, day in and day out – even when you don’t feel like it. And, if you have a lot to lose, you have to sustain this commitment for months – and that’s not even counting what you have to do to maintain the loss. After the initial excitement and bigger losses in the early weeks, weight loss slows and enthusiasm inevitably wanes.

The same thing is true about the job search. Getting that first call back for an interview has you soaring! However, what will you do if you don’t get that job? Rejection stings. Time passes. Now you’re crashing. Despite the disappointment, you have to pick yourself up and continue to apply. It may take months to get that job you want. Just like you didn’t gain the weight overnight, you’re not going to get your dream job overnight either.

4) You have to be prepared for setbacks.

Wait – what- I have to do this for months? But, there’s a picnic, vacation, and holiday coming up! I’ll start after that. 

Well, the reality is, if you REALLY want to lose weight, you need to sustain your new healthy eating plan and activity level no matter what the occasion. There will never be a better time to start. Yes, dieting can be even harder on days when you just don’t want to. You know – a bad day at work, awful weather, food temptations, being sleep deprived, etc. Prepare for how you are going to handle inevitable obstacles along the way.

The same mindset holds true for the job seeker. You can stay unhappily employed or gather the courage, energy and resources to embark upon a job search. If you REALLY want to get a new job, you’re not going to let anything stop you. Determination counts for a lot. Don’t put your job search off until after the summer or next year. The time to start is now! It won’t be quick or easy, but it will be worthwhile in the end. Keep your eye on the end game – a new, more fulfilling job.

5) Get, appreciate and reciprocate your support system.
Dieters and job seekers alike need a village to be there during the ups and downs of the journey. It may be friends, it may be family, or both. There are also outside support groups (in person and/or online) that can provide a great place for camaraderie. Having others in the same “boat” (dieting or seeking employment) takes away the feeling that you’re going for this big goal all by yourself. Your tribe can help you – not just when you’re struggling – but when you reach those goals along the way. At the same time, be mindful of being encouraging and supportive to them as well! Giving back will make you feel better too.

6) Don’t beat yourself up.
The Dieter: I’m going to weigh myself every day. And, if I cheat at one meal, I might as well keep overeating. I live for cheat days. Bring ’em on!
Weighing yourself every day is just punishing yourself, as your weight can fluctuate up to five pounds. If you can’t hold out for weekly weighs ins, try every other day. Don’t let your life or mood be dictated by the scale. You may have lost inches or gained muscle. Take your measurements and use that as another way to gauge your progress. How you feel and the way your clothes fit can be another indicator of progress.

The cheating at a meal situation is a tough one. Have you ever heard the flat tire analogy? If you got a flat tire, you wouldn’t automatically discard your car or flatten the other three. You would get the one tire fixed. Along the same lines, if you overeat at one meal, do better at the next one. Don’t throw in the towel. Or, at the very least, start the next day. Don’t let one bad day turn to two, then three. You can salvage your week.  And remember, treats are ok, but too many free-for-alls are not going to be kind to your waistline.

The Job Seeker: I’m never going to find a job. Why didn’t they call me in for an interview? I’ll be stuck in this job (or unemployed) forever.
It’s easy to adopt a defeatist attitude when things aren’t going your way. We get it. You only need one yes though.  It may take twenty “no’s” to get that one job offer. It’s not ideal, but that’s just how the job process works. It’s not a reflection on you!

If you throw in the towel after a short, unsuccessful search, you’re cheating yourself out of what could have been a great opportunity. Turn to that support system we mentioned in observation #5 to get your confidence and job search mojo back. It’s not easy, but things that are worthwhile in the long run usually aren’t.

7) Celebrate the small successes.
Congratulate yourself on milestones along the way. Every pound lost is one pound less than you used to be. Every call for an interview or email from a recruiter is one step closer to that new job. Don’t wait for the big moments to pat yourself on the back. Treat yourself to a movie, new book or some other reward to keep you motivated to continue.

8) Accept that the journey never ends.
Once you’ve hit your goal weight or landed that coveted job is when the real work really begins. Now you have to prove yourself in your new job and continue those healthy habits to keep the weight off. 

Whether you’re trying to lose weight or get a better job, the power is within you. Acknowledge that there will be challenges along the way, and have a plan in place to deal with each obstacle as it arises. Remember, you’re not alone. #YouCanDoThis

Thank you for reading!

Looking for more career advice?
Check out this post: Resume Tips From A Recruiter

A version of this post, by our Social Media Specialist, also appeared on LinkedIn.

Photo Credit: DepositPhotos

Want to learn more about working for Oldcastle?
Visit us at Oldcastle Careers.

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Oldcastle is North America’s largest manufacturer of building products and materials. With more than 2,000 locations throughout North America, we are in constant pursuit of the next generation of successful decision makers, leaders and problem solvers. Learn more about joining the Oldcastle team HERE.

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