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The Plight of the Fat Guy 5: The Closest Parking Lot July 10, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Management, The Plight of the Fat Guy.
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Here’s another week on CorporateSpeak: the Plight of the Fat Guy.

The phrase “fat cat” rarely applies the way it used to, when it comes to upper management. In the old days, if you were fat, it was a sign of status — you could afford to eat a lot. But these days thinner people are healthier (as a general rule) because they can afford to eat healthier, hire personal trainers, or get gastric bypass surgery. Now the fat employees are the ones who work long hours, eat crappy food, and have no time to exercise because of the hours plus the horrible commutes to the far-off suburbs which are the only places they can afford to live.

The other perk of being in upper management is that you tend to get a reserved parking spot up close to the building. And the fat guys don’t.

Dilbert.com

As costs go up and benefits go down, overweight employees are going to suffer the most — they’ll have to pay more for their medical problems, which will cut into their going-to-the-gym money or their eating-healthy-food money, and continue the cycle.

The fat guy’s plight is quite a large one, as befits his size. He is derided, mistreated, and generally pooped on on a regular basis, and all he can do is sit there and take it.

Be nice to your local fat guy. He certainly could use it.

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The Plight of the Fat Guy 4: That Smell July 9, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Observations, The Plight of the Fat Guy.
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Here’s another week on CorporateSpeak: the Plight of the Fat Guy.

First, a musical interlude:

There are two kinds of fat guys: ones who smell, and ones who don’t. And, in the end, it always comes down to how much the fat guy cares about other people.

It’s really hard to write about this because it’s pretty simple: not all fat guys stink, but many of them have That Smell, and many of them wish they could get rid of it but can’t. So there are two options for fat guys:

  1. Stop caring altogether. People will avoid you like the plague, but at least you’ll have one less thing to worry about.
  2. Actively avoid That Smell, spending valuable time trying to be pleasant to be around in hopes that people look past your size and treat you like a human being.

See, that’s what I’ve been getting at this whole week. Fat guys are the last unprotected class, the last group it’s okay to treat like crap. They have trouble being part of a group, they’re often shunned when it comes to going out to lunch or going out after work, and they never, ever complain about it to their coworkers. They just sit there and take it.

When people are upset or depressed, one thing they do is stop caring about personal hygiene*. They shower less. They clean their clothes less. And in the end, they cultivate That Smell and it becomes impossible to shake.

So what’s the point of all this? Simple: be nice to the fat guys in your office. Invite them along. At least try to be friendly. Even if they have That Smell. You could make a difference in a fat guy’s life, and possibly put him on the path to, if not being less fat, at least to getting rid of the stench. And all the other fat guys who don’t stink will appreciate that more than anything else.

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* Or so my therapist says.

The Plight of the Fat Guy 3: Free Food July 8, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Free Food!, Observations, The Plight of the Fat Guy.
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Here’s another week on CorporateSpeak: the Plight of the Fat Guy.

Here at CorporateSpeak, there’s always free food — today, in fact, when I got in there was Chick-fil-A on the table. (Yes, I ate some.)

Free food is an unending plight for fat guys. See, fat guys are always hungry. Most of them hate it. They hate that they’re always eating and that whenever they try not to eat they end up feeling sick and overeating as a result*. And food’s getting more expensive these days, too. We’re all trying to save money. Fat guys eat more, so they have to buy more food. Why shouldn’t they take advantage of free food?

fat-lolcatWell, for starters, because the rest of the office gives them The Look. The one that says, “hey, fattie, don’t eat all the cake/Chick-fil-A/chips/leftovers from the sales meeting/barbecue/popcorn, because the rest of us want some too.” The walk of a fat guy to the communal food table is often worse for him than the walk of shame is for a woman who’s just spent the night at her lover’s house.

But the fat guy can’t resist. And really, it would be silly of him not to. It’s free food. It’s just something he’s probably gotten used to and, after being fat for a while, he’s grown a nice, thick skin the looks bounce right off of.

Hopefully.

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* Yes, I have personal knowledge of this phenomenon.

The Plight of the Fat Guy 2: Losing Weight July 7, 2009

Posted by That Guy in Overheard, The Plight of the Fat Guy.
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Here’s another week on CorporateSpeak: the Plight of the Fat Guy.

It is the dream of most fat guys to drop the weight and show everyone* that:

  • It can be done.
  • I (that is, the fat guy) can look hot too.

But here’s the rub: when a fat guy loses weight, everyone notices. And then they try to be nice and draw attention to it, as if to say “hey, I know you’re still a fattie, but now you’re trying to look like the rest of us. Isn’t that cute?”

The other problem is that, when losing a lot of weight, there’s pretty much three stages:

  1. The first ten pounds, which usually show in the face.
  2. The next 50 pounds, which are really difficult to get off and don’t show very much, but people still say “oh, good job losing weight” just to seem like they care.
  3. The rest of the weight, which never comes off.

But people who aren’t fat don’t know that. All they know is that the fat guy is trying to lose weight, so they say encouraging things and “notice” how that the fat guy has done so. Except he hasn’t. Not in a while. He’s backsliding. He’s actually gaining weight. And the reinforcement doesn’t help.

Just try saying that, though; the fat guy needs people at work to be nice, and shunning compliments, even well-intentioned-but-unhelpful ones, is always a mistake.

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* Especially that hot girl from high school who never gave you the time of day.

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.
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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?