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The Plight of the Fat Guy 1: Getting Hired July 6, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Getting Hired, The Plight of the Fat Guy.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Here’s another week on CorporateSpeak: the Plight of the Fat Guy.

The one unprotected class in the workplace seems to be overweight men. White, black, Asian; whatever you are, if you’re a fat man, you can be the butt of jokes. Even to your face. And, better, it’s almost impossible to prove that you’re being harrassed or even that you feel harrassed — after all, aren’t fat guys supposed to be jolly?

An article posted last year says that overweight men tend to get paid 2.6 percent less than non-overweight men. But then there’s actually getting hired.

See, here’s the thing: if you’re overweight, you’re more likely to have health issues. You’ll cost the company more money. Managers see the bottom line and little else. If you even get far enough to have an offer tendered to you, that is. Overweight people often find it more difficult to present themselves favorably for a variety of reasons:

  1. Upbringing: If you’ve been overweight all your life, you’ve likely fallen in with a geeky/nerdy crowd*, and over time that is likely to retard your social maturity. It will be more difficult for you to hold a conversation because you’ll probably be smarter than the average person and fighting to show it, to make up for your overweight-ness.
  2. Clothing: Clothes for fat guys cost more. Overweight women have more options, especially in malls, but for fat guys there’s only a few stores, and the clothes always cost a lot of money. Fat guys have as much money as any other average person, but the average person doesn’t have to spend as much on clothing if he doesn’t want to. Fat guys — really fat guys — can’t shop at Target or WalMart.
  3. Climate: Woe betide the fat guy who tries to stay cool and well-groomed while waiting for an interview. Fat guys are generally harder to keep cool, and offices aren’t always cold enough. Not to mention the walk from the parking lot, especially in the warmer months. Good luck trying not to sweat.
  4. Messiness: Some — not all — fat guys are fat because they are depressed — maybe even about being fat. When you get depressed, you are likely to care less about your appearance. This sort of thing adds up and then, by the time you get to interview time, you probably will have trouble getting and staying clean. Depressed people sometimes sabotage themselves, and it’s easy for a fat guy to spill clothes on his shirt.

Then there’s the actual look. Some fat guys are nice-looking but big; unfortunately for the majority of them, they’re overweight and bland. Some are actually unpleasant to lay eyes upon. Just like skinny people, right? Except that when the choice is between a fat guy and a skinny girl, a male manager is probably going to hire the skinny girl so at least he can look at her boobs. Having never been a female manager, I don’t know what they think, but I know the female managers where I work now have not hired a single substantially-overweight male employee since I’ve been here**.

Getting hired as a fat guy is really tough. But once you’re employed, there’s a whole new list of problems. Come back the rest of the week to hear about them.

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* Football players notwithstanding.

** I don’t know how many have been interviewed, though. If none have, then none will have been hired, right?



1. golfwidow - July 7, 2009

Hell, that’s nothing. The fat guy will occasionally be known as hefty, a big guy, burly … a fat woman is never anything but a fat woman unless she voices an opinion, which is when she becomes a cow or a fat bitch.

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