Since I decided to race pro this year, I've had several people ask me if I planned on quitting my job or working part time. So I decided to write a blog about my current work situation.
The way I see it, I have 3.25 jobs.
Job #1: Professional Triathlete
This would be my favorite job. What's that saying about how you know you TRULY love your job if you'd still do it without being paid? HA! Well, I must truly love triathlon. :)
This job really isn't a job so much as a passion. Because as long as I've done sports I've always had a huge passion for seeing just how far I can go with the body that God gave me. It's never really been about winning (but that certainly is fun!) or certainly not about making money. But it's always, for me, been about how fast can I be? Can I break 10 hours in IM? 9:30? 9:20? Can I go under 4:30 in 1/2 IM? How about 4:20? Can I swim a 55? Can I run under 3:30 off the bike? Can I bike under 2:20 for 56 miles? These are the types of questions that drive me daily to get up out of bed and get on my bike for the 14th day in a row. Despite some nasty saddle sores. ;)
I train about 20-30 hours a week which of course doesn't include time spent stretching or getting body work (ART, massage) done or prepping equipment, etc... But at least this job has no commute! (except to the pool which isn't so bad :). Proportionally, I spend the most time on this job. And I feel HUGELY blessed to have the opportunity to pursue this career. I won't be able to do this job forever so I remind myself daily to make the most of it.
Job #2: Registered Dietitian at the Univeristy of Pittsburgh Medical Center Oakland Campus
I also like this job but I can't say I'd still want to do it if I didn't get paid. :)
This is the job that started my career as a dietitian. I've worked at UPMC for the past 10 years. For about 6 of those years I worked full time. For the past 4 years (give or take) I've been "casual" meaning I set my own schedule (yeah!) but only get paid for the hours that I'm there (ie: no vacation days or paid time off).
At UPMC I do "nutrition support" which is working with patients that either need tube feeding or IV nutrition (TPN). I've worked in all sorts of capacities doing nutrition support including trauma, surgery, transplant, oncology, etc... I'm lucky to work with a great team of docs, nurses, PAs, CRNPs, pharmacists and of course, other dietitians. And I'm lucky to work at one of the premier medical centers in the country. UPMC does it all and because of that I've learned a TON. There really isn't any type of patient I've not seen.
Working in health care has always given me such perspective on life. The patients that I've worked with through the years have taught me so much - one of the biggest lessons of which is: if you've given up there is nothing anybody can do to save you. And vice versa, if you continue to fight like hell, amazing things CAN happen. It's no guarantee but it's better than the alternative. I've also learned that family support can make a world of difference. That cancer sucks. I've learned that modern medicine is simply awesome. But again, that a positive outlook is even more awesome. I've learned that you should ALWAYS wear your seatbelt and that you should never drink (thanks to trauma and liver transplant respectively for those lessons :). I could go on and on and on...
One day I'll probably go back to full time work at the hospital. But the problem with that now is that those are longgggg days. I have an hour commute each way and hospitals don't operate on a 9-5 schedule. This job simply wasn't flexible enough to allow me to pursue triathlon dreams. So for now I work 16-24 hours a week at the hospital.
Job #3: Registered Dietitian, CEO, Owner, Janitor, IT Specialist, etc... of The Athlete's Eutrophia
This was a job I never thought I'd have. But I'm glad I do! This is the nutrition consulting business that I started about 4 years ago. I work primarily with athletes on their every day nutrition or race nutrition, but I also work with "active people" who are just looking to improve their diet and (as is often the case) lose some weight.
I love this job because I like getting to know the people I work with! And the people that come to me are motivated and ready for change. This is almost always a recipe for success. It's very fun when people allow you to be a part of reaching their goals.
And I also love this job because it offers me all the flexibility in the world to train and race as I've wanted while making up (at least some of) the difference in salary loss while NOT working full time at the hospital. I want to ride my bike all day on Tuesday and work at night? That works! I want to take off to Denver for a 10 day training camp? That works! This work can always come with me no matter where I'm at!
I would estimate that I spend about 10-20 hours a week doing this job.
Job #0.25: Odds and Ends
I do some other odds and ends - teach classes at my YMCA, do some health fairs (got one coming up in a week or two), etc... Being a registered dietitian is a handy thing because there are a lot of opportunities out there. I've definitely cut back on some of these "odds and ends" type of work as my training/racing/recovery hours have picked up but it is still a source of some income.
And that's that! Now you know WAYYYYYY more about what I do than you ever wanted to know. As you can see, I definitely still work. But I have a good amount of control over how much I work and when I work. And for that I'm truly thankful!!
Work on my friends!