Imagine walking into your office greeted by running posters hung on brightly colored walls, and cubicles decorated with race bibs and medals.
Imagine that while talking with your co-workers in the break area, you discover that if you don’t double, you’re in the minority.
Imagine instead of asking, “Have you ever run a marathon?” your coworkers ask, “How many marathons will you run this year?”
And imagine being a part of a work culture where everyone takes ownership in their job responsibilities, is passionate about the product and encourages participation in our sport.
This magical workplace does exist, and as of this past week, I am fortunate enough to be a part of this environment. I now work for Newton Running, located in downtown Boulder, Colorado!
Co-founded by avid runners Jerry Lee and Danny Abshire less than 10 years ago, Newton Running was founded to design a running shoe that facilitated proper running form. Newton’s belief is that mid-foot striking rather than heel striking helps prevent injuries because it requires quicker cadence (lifting the legs to strike the ground). (Quicker cadence means less time on the ground, less impact on the body and forced, proper running posture. Newton entered the market first targeting triathletes and then branched into running. Some even credit Newton as the “founder” of the recent running minimalist movement because once they entered the market, other shoe companies took notice and began re-designing their shoes to also focus on mid-foot striking. Newton currently sponsors several professional triathletes and even has a professional running team called Team Alchemy. The company employs about 60 individuals world-wide and has an international presence in both the running and triathlete communities.
I’ve spent over three months here in Boulder enjoying the scenery and the time off from working. I wasn’t actively looking for a job, but a friend caught wind of an accounting opportunity at Newton. I met the qualifications, one of which was to “..be supportive of an active lifestyle…” I figured that the company would receive hundreds of resumes, because who wouldn’t want to work for a running shoe company? I submitted my resume, had four interview sessions and was even asked to test the shoes to make sure that I believed in the product and could perform in their shoes. I was offered the job and I graciously accepted! How lucky I felt to be able to use my experience as a CPA to work at a running shoe company…in Boulder!
Transitioning back into the working world is usually a tough process, but here in Boulder it’s on a different scale. Most companies are extremely flexible since many people train year-round, and employers understand that. In fact, bosses are usually training too! Eco-friendly ways to arrive at work, such as cycling or riding the bus, are strongly encouraged. There is no such thing as business dress, and dogs in the office are pretty common. When you talk with someone about their job typically she doesn’t complain or talk negatively about the office or bosses, especially since most companies in Boulder are relatively small and employees work there because they believe in the product or service and want the business to succeed. This concept of the Boulder work environment is new to me, but very exciting!
My official start date with Newton was 12-12-12, so I am a still very much a newbie and have a lot to learn. During the few days I’ve been with the company, I’ve counted six dogs in the office (on one day), have been overdressed wearing a turtleneck and jeans and have talked running shop with elite athletes. It amazes me that I have yet to talk with someone who doesn’t genuinely enjoy their job or the work environment. Someone always has training gear at their desk; someone is always coming from/going to training. Social, group runs are held every Thursday evening with the elite team and employees are encouraged to attend. Both co-founders still work at the company and know everyone by his/her first name-including me whose tenure is less than one week. Oh, and I haven’t even discussed philanthropy, which the company strongly supports. If I wasn’t experiencing this first-hand, I would find it hard to believe.
It’s still hard for me to believe that I live in one of the best running cities in the world. Now, I work in the running industry, and I am able to use my professional experience and education? I am very lucky, and that friend who gave me the tip was repaid with a very nice dinner. Stay tuned for future posts on my transition into my brand new running career!
What’s your dream running job? Are there any athletic companies or organizations that you would love to work for?