Microsoft senior PM and best-selling author Jonathan Bailor
Jonathan speaking to a packed house about the Smarter Science of Slim
Jonathan at a book signing for "The Calorie Myth"
On Valentine’s Day, not only do we express love and gratitude for others, but it’s also a great reminder of the adage: “Love yourself.”
Trite? Perhaps. But true. And a key component of self-love is self-care. A best-selling new book, “The Calorie Myth,” challenges commonly held ideas about diet and exercise. The author, Jonathan Bailor, also works as a senior program manager at Microsoft.
Jonathan joined Microsoft in 2005, after two summer internships. “I’ve always been a PM (program manager). It was my first job out of school (Bailor paid his way through college by being a personal trainer), and I’m still a PM.” For his first seven years at Microsoft, Jonathan worked on Microsoft Word. Meanwhile, he continued pursuing his other passions of health and science. How did he do this while working full-time at Microsoft?
“My manager was supportive–even my boss’s boss was great,” Jonathan says. “He said, ‘Some people watch TV after work. You want to help people not get diabetes.’”
In the last year, most appropriately, Jonathan transitioned to Xbox Fitness. For the moment, he is on book tour. But when he returns and joins the Office team, he’ll be engaged with tech that’s so cutting edge, we can’t even tell you about it.
Here are some reasons why Jonathan loves his life at Microsoft, why he’ll return, and why he stays.
- Impact. “My passion is to help people live better,” Jonathan says. “And to do that through science and technology, and innovation. There are very few places in the world where you can have the opportunity to work with people who create things in such a profound way, to change lives, as Microsoft.”
- Creativity. “Working on Word was amazing for me,” he says. “Giving people the opportunity to express themselves on a global scale was incredible: The ability to do that, with the smartest people in the world, and on the largest stage in the world.”
- Diversity. “I have friends at companies all around the world, in every industry. I’ve never seen another company as diverse as Microsoft. Not only in terms of hiring, or by race, but the celebration of different interests while you are working at Microsoft. It seems like almost every other person I meet at Microsoft has some other interest, in addition to their family, that they are able to enjoy and excel at. Like act or sing, and have a full life outside of Microsoft.”
- Happiness. “When I interview people, here’s what I tell them: There are plenty of good-paying jobs. When you’re working at McKinsey, that’s all you do. There is nothing else in your life. When it comes to job satisfaction, it’s not about free lunch and laundry services. Those are just excuses to keep people at the office more. Microsoft knows people can be their best at work by enabling them to have a life outside of work.”
- Recognition. “I went to Xbox for a period to help because they started to do things in the fitness space, first with Nike and Kinect, and then in-house,” Jonathan says. “That’s another cool thing about the company. It recognizes, ‘Hey, these are people with unique abilities,’ and offers spots for people to use them.”
- Cutting-edge tech. “The current version of Kinect can do that which was once thought impossible. The technology where we can detect your heart rate. Here’s the premise of Xbox Fitness: Think of cooking shows or painting shows on TV where they say it’s so easy, but at home, your creation looks nothing like that. Exercise videos show super-fit people, but in your living room, you don’t know if you’re doing it correctly. Not everyone can afford a personal trainer, and not everyone goes to a gym. But if you take just about every exercise video in the world, and it can see you, correct your form, and count reps for you, that seems like science fiction, but we made it real!”
- Leadership. “With Xbox Fitness, you see the industry leaders: P90X, Jillian Michaels, Tracy Anderson. To work with that caliber of people is incredibly exciting. And when Microsoft calls, people pick up the phone. When a startup company calls, they may not pick up the phone. When you are at Microsoft, if you call anyone in the world, they pick up. That is cool.”
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