How the 100 Pushup Challenge Convinced Me That Test Prep Was the Right Career Choice

How the 100 Pushup Challenge Convinced Me That Test Prep Was the Right Career Choice

Travis on October 21, 2015

Hi, I’m Travis. I’m a brand new employee at Magoosh and I’ve been here for about 3 weeks now. Just recently, I left another position in the test prep industry specifically because I felt ready to move on to something new. With that in mind, I had some doubts as to whether working in test prep again would be satisfying. Here’s a story about why I’m already certain that I made the right choice to come to Magoosh.

My first week on the job, the majority of my responsibilities (and challenges) orbited around trying to figure out the systems of communication used by the company: Asana, Zendesk, Intercom, 15Five, TinyPulse, Gravatar, Yammer…the list goes on. I was introduced to all of these apps my first day, and then left to wander through them at my leisure, picking up threads of projects and conversations until I felt comfortable using each program (or, in some cases, ignoring them).

During that process, I happened upon a month-old idea our ever-enthusiastic Student Help Lead, Kevin, had posted: “Let’s Train to Do 100 Pushups!” The idea hadn’t gathered much momentum in the month since it was posted, but I didn’t realize that and responded that I had tried the 100 Pushups challenge once before and fizzled out before the end. That little jolt was all that was needed: within 24 hours, a few Magooshers had completed their first set of pushups together. Ironically, I missed that first day because I was being photographed for my team bio, but someone else who had missed out found me and we did our first set together the next day.

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Here’s the kicker: I’m a remote worker, and the only reason I was in the office that first week was to train. So when I missed that first day of group pushups, I thought maybe it was over for me.

I was wrong. All next week, at 3pm every afternoon, a message would pop up in my Asana Inbox that it was time for exercise. Within a day of starting the pushups regimen, popular opinion had demanded that we also take on the 200 Squats challenge, so we scheduled pushups on MWF and squats on TTh. As soon as a set was over, someone would invariably post some note about it on Asana, so I always knew that 1) I wasn’t the only one actually doing the exercise, and 2) if I didn’t do it by myself at home, I’d be way behind on my weekly visits to the office.

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This brings me to the following Friday. We’re a week into our exercise routine, and I’m back in the office for the first time. We have a monthly meeting followed by lunch, and then everyone goes back to work for a few hours. When 3pm rolls around, I expect to see a group of 5 or 6 people hop up and head across the hall for pushups. Instead, I’m pretty sure every single employee in the office stopped what they were doing and filed into the room for afternoon exercise. There we were, about 20 of us in our work-clothes, lying on the office floor, circled around our resident “coach,” waiting for him to tell us to start the first set.

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So why did this make me feel so confident that I’d made the right choice in coming to Magoosh? Well, my father used to run his own architecture firm, so I grew up with a family business. Some of my father’s employees knew me from the day I was born until I graduated from college. Many of them had known my father for longer than I had. This has formed a central part of my identity: the work a person does and the life a person lives do not have to be separate entities. They should contribute to each other, and in doing so, make each more fulfilling.

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I’m three weeks into my life at Magoosh, and already I’ve found a company thriving because, like a family business, its employees are interested in each other’s health and happiness. They challenge each other because they care about each other. Those challenges encourage growth and innovation, which ultimately makes the company stronger. Most importantly, the company itself–which at Magoosh really is the sum of its employees–recognizes this and fosters it in every reasonable way.

So, am I doing test prep? Yes. Is that what I was intending to be doing right now? No. Does that bother me? Not at all!