Dear J.T. & Dale: My boss is a health nut. He works out every day and eats the healthiest stuff I’ve ever seen. Meanwhile, I’m slightly overweight and have a penchant for junk food. Recently, my boss saw my lunch and said: “Wow. That meal is going to put you to sleep this afternoon. Remind me to give you some mindless tasks to work on.” I’m starting to wonder if my choice of food is hurting my career. Am I crazy? -Fast Foodie
J.T.: Is your diet hurting your career advancement? Yes. Your boss clearly sees healthy eating as part of the ability to do the job. While he might not be conscious of it, I’m certain it’s a criterion for promotion.
DALE: With a sigh, I have to agree. Picture this: Say yours is a job where you can measure your output, and you go to your boss and say, “Look at these numbers – I’m a top performer.” Will he think: “Zowie! I should promote this guy!”? No, he’ll think, “I wonder what he could accomplish if he took care of himself.”
The point is that in his mind, you’ll always be an underachiever… unless you try something like this: Tell him you want to try a healthier lifestyle, and ask for his advice. He’ll start to pay more attention to you and will see your success as his success. Someday soon, your check will be bigger and your waist smaller. Oh man, why does that make me want to have a doughnut?
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