If you have just exited the military, then you have just emerged from a world where physical fitness was just part of the job. Not only was it an expectation that you would be physically fit, but it was often literally part of the job as your entire work group regularly set out for organized group exercise.
But now you are out, and it is highly unlikely that your new cubicle job as a salesman will result in a five-mile formation run before lunch. Rather, the veteran is likely on his own now, and this unfortunately results in too many of them losing one of the key indicators of discipline for which the military is famous. And while your new civilian employer may not require it, the veteran should never mistake what physical fitness brings to the workplace.
The Image of Discipline
As you well know, many jobs in the military actually require very little physical work. That doesn't stop the military from insisting on certain physical standards, as they must be prepared for what uncertainties might come in combat. However, it is also mostly an image issue. The military is keenly aware of its reputation, and it does not take kindly to those who would assault that reputation with their unsatisfactory physical condition in uniform.
A physically fit person exudes self-discipline, confidence and energy, and it might be surprising to you that the civilian workplace favors these traits as well. Studies have shown those who are physically fit are often viewed in a more positive light in the workplace and seen as leaders.
So if you are just exiting the military where physical fitness was part of the daily regimen, why would you throw away this valuable trait? Sure, it is nice to take it easy and maybe get a little relaxed with your fitness regimen. But wouldn't it also be nice to walk into a new job on Day 1 and carry yourself with confidence?
Physical appearance shouldn't be used to sum up anyone's career potential, but don't fool yourself into thinking it is a waste of time. It matters, and if you still have it as a veteran, don't lose it.
The Benefit of Energy
In addition to the image, physical fitness provides energy for what could otherwise be a lethargic workday. You might consider cubicle life a great source of rest compared to hiking 10 miles in full battle gear, but wait until 3 p.m. hits on a Monday and see how much that cubicle drains the energy right from you.
As your energy drains, your productivity lowers and others will begin to notice. However, keeping up a physical regimen based on your military experience can provide the body with a great deal of natural energy for those jobs that don't require a great deal of physical output.
No one is saying you can't gain a few pounds when you exit the military, as most do. Moreover, just because your office mate can get through the day on a diet of 10 doughnuts and 25 diet sodas doesn't mean you should give it a try. You have this valuable professional asset that you have been gifted through the military in your physical fitness. Don't lose it.
It is valued in the civilian workplace, because it portrays an image of confidence and leadership. This unique trait can literally help propel you to professional heights that surpass that of your peers as you radiate with natural energy and a never-quit attitude.
You worked hard for years to attain it, and now it is time to keep it on this side of the uniform.
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