The term 'career' is most often thought of in the context of a profession or occupation, but dictionaries also apply the term to a chosen pursuit - a person's progress or general course of action through life or through a phase of life.

If we use the latter part of the definition, then things like education, home-making, marriage, family relationships, many leisure pursuits like sailing or gardening can also be considered as careers in their own right along with work and profession.

Most of us strive to be successful in our pursuits. While the term success is somewhat subjective, it usually involves the attainment of one or more goals that we establish for ourselves, or should establish relative to our careers.

To achieve those goals, many things have to happen but as a minimum the following three things are usually required:

First, the goals must be thought out, formally or not, and established. You have to think through what you want to achieve and how successful you want to be with regard to each career you pursue.

Second, the goals must be worked towards. You have to apply both time and effort towards attaining those goals. That includes learning, acquiring, developing and applying all necessary expertise, skills and experiences. It also means applying the necessary amount of time.

Thirdly, you must be able to measure your progress and degree of success. You do this so that you can determine where you are on the path to your goals and so that you can change your goals or your approaches as required.

In short, your various careers have to be managed.

If we accept that in many cases we have more than one career on the go at the same time, and most of us do, then the issue of balance also comes into play. How do we decide how much time and effort should be applied to one career versus another?

It is not unreasonable to expect that if we apply all of our time and effort to one career, then it is likely that others will suffer as a result. That means that we must somehow find a way to rank our various careers in terms of relative importance to us, and find a way to balance the time and effort we expend on each accordingly such that the goals are achieved for each. A person who spends all of his or her time and effort on an occupational career may well find that another career is suffering - say a marriage or a golfing hobby. Conversely, spending every day on the golf course may have a detrimental affect on one's occupation and marriage careers. Look around and view the careers of people you know to see the effects of this reality. Take a hard look at how you are managing your own careers and at how successful you are with each.

Not an easy task for sure, this career business.

Now, let's complicate things a little further by suggesting that we have another career that requires management - that is, time and effort. That career is our health.

Yes, health!

While success, happiness, wealth and any number of other things are important in all of your other careers, they will not mean very much if you don't have your health. It is a critical component of our lives and its pursuit has to be managed just like anything else. It is a career in its own right, and perhaps the most important.

If you accept this premise, it means that you have to:

First, set goals relative to your health - things like weight, blood pressure, diet and body mass index levels.

Second, you have to apply both time and effort working toward those goals - appropriate levels of exercise, proper diet and levels of substance and food ingestion.

Thirdly, It means you have to measure your progress and be prepared to alter your goals and approaches as required.

In other words, you have to approach your health in the same way that you approach any other career you want to be successful at. It has to be managed.

If you accept this premise, then the issue of balance comes up again. How much time and effort should I put in to managing my health relative to my other careers?

You are the only one who can answer that question. No one can do it for you. You are the only one who can decide that your health is as important if not more important that any of your other careers. You are the only one who should be setting goals relative to your health. You are the only one who can measure how you are doing in the pursuit of those goals. In other words, you are the only one who can manage your health. No one else can, nor should you expect them to - it is your responsibility.

We can even take this health career premise further by positing that if you manage it successfully you will have a greater chance of success in most if not all of your other careers.

For ideas on the types of things you can do to better manage your health, you may be interested in other articles I have published on the subject. There are several of them because I personally think of the management of my health as a career and I try as best I can to manage it as such.

You should too.

Bob Robinson

Author's Bio: 

Bob Robinson is a computer professional and consultant in the data management profession with over 30 years experience in data processing.
As the founder of RecordsKeeper Software, Bob’s passion is to provide ideas and software that helps people get control of their lives, to function better and to improve the ability to manage their affairs by having well organized information about everything that is of importance to them.
Presently, Bob is writing articles and building his business.
You can reach Bob at or visit the RecordsKeeper website at