Weight Loss Support - The professional perks of being thin




Linnytunes
12-01-2007, 02:38 PM
I had a co-worker who is a professional. She started working after I did and she was perplexed why none of the other executive staff took her seriously and she was being left out of business decisions and networking lunches. So she started asking other professional women that were at the top at other companies and all of them gave her the following advice.

They told her that it isnít fair but this is the way it works. No matter how smart you are, all men and even some women (even though they wonít admit it) do not trust or respect overweight women in the business world. That you really have to be underweight to advance in your career.

That sounded insane to me but my co-worker dieted to get 10 pounds underweight and guess what? She started getting invitations to business lunches on a daily basis, being included in all the meetings and her career started advancing at a rapid pace! Maybe people just want to help the underweight or something? LOL

She decided to lose another 10 pounds and the perks really started pouring in. She even got another job making almost double what she was making. As for me, I was eliminated from my job (I had gained a lot of weight in the years I was there) and I should have listened to her when she warned me that I have to get rid of all my fat in order to stay employed at a good salary!! So I guess I better quit venting now and start working my butt off to lose weight so I can get another job.


CousinRockingChair
12-01-2007, 02:48 PM
Mmmm. Hate to tell ya...

This isnt just from my experience, but from my university psychology course -we've looked at many studies, and yes, absolutely...you are regarded as more competent (more attractive businessmen are rated as more able in one study for example), efficient, desirable in the business world..its all about Attributions, Attitudes and Prejudice.

Having said that, I don't think you have to be UNDERweight, just slim, to benefit from this stereotyping, as it were. Slim, healthy and well dressed people are favoured more highly in every walks of life. I am NOT venturing a personal opinion, just that your post was correct...its been shown in psychological study after study. Not fair but utterly true.

(On the other hand, it could have been that with her weightloss came CONFIDENCE!, and that too is very attractive, so it may have been a combo of the slimness and the new selfbelief).

Emily
xxx

JayEll
12-01-2007, 03:14 PM
I'd like to know exactly how much she weighed and her height. "Underweight" is a pretty broad term, just like "overweight."

Still, given any pair of people of the same gender, wearing the same outfit (but sized to fit them), I would guess that the "normal" sized person would be thought more competent than the "obese" sized person--for no other reason than their weight. It really is a shame! But it probably won't change.

The only time this might not hold is in a company where the majority of employees and managers are overweight/obese. of course, I don't have any data at all--I'm just guessing.

Jay


phantastica
12-01-2007, 04:37 PM
This hasn't been my experience. I have seen business units where the only job requirement seems to be nice legs and a great smile, but I personally have not ever felt I've been discriminated against professionally (or held back from promotion) based on weight.

trooworld
12-01-2007, 04:39 PM
As a college student getting ready to re-enter the workforce, that is totally disheartening. I've heard that there is bias in the workplace, but what your friend experienced is outrageous. Just one more reason for me to lose weight!

CountingDown
12-01-2007, 05:06 PM
While I firmly believe that some organizations DO discriminate and promote using weight as a criteria, and I DO believe that many people (bosses included) subconsciously treat overweight people differently, my personal experience is quite different.
I work for a non-profit organization (school district) and my weight has not affected my mobility, credibility, or popularity within the organization. I was heavy when I was hired, lost some weight after 4 years. Gained it all back, and have been at 190-215 for 8 years. During that time I have changed jobs 7 times - each time was a promotion. I now report to the superintendent (CEO) and am one of 2 trusted advisers in the "inner circle".
The attributes that I believe led to my promotions:
Honesty, integrity, dedication, work ethic, professionalism, assertiveness, self-confidence, tenacity, customer service oriented attitude, communication skills, professional attire and demeanor, and commitment to doing whatever I can to see kids succeed.

Nutshell version: I think in many cases (not always) that skill-set, personality, professionalism and self-confidence count more than physical appearance. How WE think about ourselves greatly influences how others see us and treat us.

JayEll
12-01-2007, 05:22 PM
These posts are good! Both sides of the story--and a few others sides as well.

I think that professionalism and confidence can go a long way in any work situation. CountingDown--would you say you dress for success? I would guess that you always dress well for the workplace. Phantistica, is that true for you also?

Jay

CountingDown
12-01-2007, 05:49 PM
Absolutely! I always try to look professional. While I have a hairstyle that is no-fuss, it is stylish and flatters my face shape and hair type. I always apply make-up before going to work. Again, nothing over-the-top, but a little lipstick and mascara do wonders for me - LOL. While finding suits in larger sizes that flatter the figure is difficult, finding separates has always been easy. A print skirt with a jacket, a silk blouse, and some well-chosen accessories can look dynamite - even in a size 22. I know what looks good on me and try to dress professionally in a way that flatters my figure. Now that I am in "regular" sizes, thrift stores have been great sources for suits. Until I reach my goal weight, I have been rewarding myself (every 10 lbs. lost) with a trip to the thrift store run by our women's shelter. They have awesome clothes that make me feel wonderful.

I do all of these things - for me. All 3 affect the way I feel about myself. I really do think that loving ourselves, respecting ourselves, valuing ourselves, and believing in ourselves are important keys to success in virtually everything we do - whether it be our careers, our relationships, or our weight loss.

bargoo
12-01-2007, 05:58 PM
I received promotions and was even hired to management positions when I was obese,. I did dress properly and was neat and clean and most important was qualified. Being overlooked for a position is discriminatory.

bargoo
12-01-2007, 06:00 PM
ooops, left out the most important part . It is discrimation to overlook someone for a position because you are overweight, and some employers have been taken to court beacause of this.

Heather
12-01-2007, 06:55 PM
Maybe she started getting ahead in her job because she THOUGHT she would, now that she was underweight. A sort of self-fulfilling prophecy.

veggielover
12-01-2007, 07:07 PM
Well, I don't think its the TRUST. It's not like they can't trust individuals whom are overweight, but in terms of appearance, it only helps the company if the person is representative of the company. Which means that all the qualities are supposedly "good" (as all companies believe themselves to be), inside and out. If you had the choice as an employer to choose between 2 individuals, both well and equally qualified, both well-mannered and personally likeable with the exception that one "appeared" better overall than the other (the way they dress, the way they look), which one would you choose to represent your company? This would be more of an issue if the job qualification includes communicating and social networking.

This happened once with an ex-boss of mine. Except both girls were lazy. Only one was "hot" (slim, very thin) and the other was "not" (overweight) according to the male workers there.

phantastica
12-01-2007, 07:18 PM
JayEll, I have a very unobtrusive appearance. I have simple hair and seldom wear makeup, but I wear jewelry and dress fairly conservatively (but coordinated). I'm quite tall, so that may bring a different dynamic to it too.

baffled111
12-01-2007, 07:40 PM
I'm still troubled by the use of this term 'underweight'. Why would you have to be underweight to be professionally successful? That makes no sense. People aren't discriminated against, to my knowledge, for being of normal weight--which is, as Jay noted--a large spectrum. In fact, I can imagine that subconscious discrimination could occur against very thin/underweight women. They might be perceived as not 'substantial' enough.

(In fact, Ms. Mentor, a sort of dear abby for academia, argues that female professors should be big. Her claim is that female academics receive more respect and are accorded more authority by students and colleagues if they physically take up a fair amount of space. But she is, I believe, an english professor, not a social scientist, and her argument is no doubt anecdotal.)

For what it's worth, I'm with Jay that a confident attitude and professional appearance can go a long way in overcoming people's unreflexive prejudices. It certainly doesn't hurt. The assumption that overweight people can't succeed professionally and an attitude consistent with that assumption will no doubt be more of a hindrance than the weight itself.

lola06
12-02-2007, 08:15 AM
I think studies like this are just another way of trying to "prove" the inferior fat theory. It's sad when we have to say this is just the way it is, so I might as well lose the weight and play the game. I say create your own company and do things your own way, if that's the case.

At my current job, I got a promotion one year to the date I was hired. I think we as overweight and formerly overweight people have to begin eliminating our own personal ideas about fat being inferior, thereby making others understand. It's not easy fighting a system with so many -isms, but I think it's worth it.

JayEll
12-02-2007, 08:45 AM
Why--- I do have my own company! But it's just me and a part-time contractor (who, btw, is obese). At times I do have to travel and meet with clients, though. I have been obese, but there are many 3FC members who have weighed a lot more than my highest weight, so I can't say that I have faced their struggles. Still, I have tried to dress to a business standard no matter what my weight.

baffled111, did that woman say that women professors should be fat or just big? That's another ambiguous term. I can see that taller people also have an advantage in the workplace, up to a point.

Jay

AnnRue
12-02-2007, 10:31 AM
(even though they wonít admit it) do not trust or respect overweight women in the business world. That you really have to be underweight to advance in your career.

I really think that is true. Of course not in every situation but I would say most. I think people did me a disservice by suggesting to me it wasn't a factor. I now think it was the ONLY factor in stopping me from getting great jobs and pay. But I didn't bother losing the weight thinking it wasn't that. But given the response I have received since losing weight, I think it was.

I don't even work in business. I work in public interest / law. There is no reason that anyone should discriminate against me as there is no profit involved, but since losing weight I cannot tell you how things have changed. People are far more open to me at work. I do get more invites (not just to work things). I can just tell I am considered more competent and people are blown away that I have lost the weight and kept it off (and they keep telling me years later and seem to think I am still losing weight although I am not). When I started looking for a job I thought *there were plenty of fat women interviewing me.* But what I think I failed to get was that they were thin when they got the job! Then put the weight on.

I have not had the opportunity to look for another job (as I like mine now) but I suspect strongly that if I went out there again, I would have much easier time. I tell you when I was fat I so didn't. I always made it to final interviews based on the qualifications but I didn't get the job. The job I have now I was fortunate that my boss and all his staff are quite overweight and my boss always hires the most qualified, no matter what. I respect him a lot for that.

And it is totally legal to discriminate against someone for being fat (in the US). If someone sued over that I am sure it was to force a settlement, but the suit would have been thrown out eventually.

iconoclast
12-02-2007, 10:57 AM
I'm a corporate lawyer. Almost all the female lawyers in my firm are thin and pretty, and to be honest, it's not just my firm; most of the others in my city are the same way. I think I'm one of the heaviest, actually (but I did kick some serious skinny butt in the company charity 10k). I don't really know the reasons for it, but it's probably a combination of many things, including the fact that people respond better to a good-looking lawyer, that feeling pretty begets confidence and therefore might boost our careers in that way, that we have the economic ability to eat healthy if we want to, and that the atmosphere is generally very materialistic and shallow.

Don't misunderstand me; the female lawyers I know are brilliant, and I find it a bit sad that there's a pressure to be thin and pretty among them. Someone on my floor is bulimic; sometimes I can hear the muffled-throwing-up sounds in the washroom. (I've been a recovered bulimic for many years.) It's so silly, really, that we're so focused on this, especially when my male colleagues don't think twice about tearing into the free pastries at our breakfast meetings.

nelie
12-02-2007, 12:42 PM
I personally haven't had a problem and have even found that I have made more money than some of my male counterparts. Although I don't know what it'd be like if I was skinny and also I don't have to meet with customers and i don't deal with high level executives on a regular basis.

One thing I will say is that I was surprised to find out that one of our highest level execs in my company is actually overweight. Eyeballing her, I'd probably say she is about a plus size 20/22. I was a bit shocked because I really thought that was unheard of for executives.

baffled111
12-02-2007, 01:22 PM
Jay, she uses the term "Woman of Substance" and she means fat. She's funny and her tone is flip, but here's a quote in reference to teaching and authority: "It also heps to be fatter: women of substance take up more space and seem more powerful as well as more engaging."

She's probably slightly right about this: a normal sized or moderately overweight person probably does seem more substantial and powerful than a waif, but of course, obese people are discriminated against and people make judgments about self-discipline and self-control that no doubt affect professional lives. I think that's a given. But I still think that confidence and a professional attitude can be a strong counter-weight to prejudice.

**Also, it's important to make the distinction between "thin" and "underweight" and normal-weight. People aren't discriminated against for being in the normal range. No one has to be a hungry stick.

Here's something else from Ms Mentor for everyone:

"Imagine a world of happy, well-fed, self-loving, intellectually alert women instead of the bulimic, the cranky, the anorexic, or the walking dead from dieting. That would be truly revolutionary."

practiceliving
12-02-2007, 01:22 PM
I wonder how much this varies from workforce to workforce. For example, I work in the not-for-profit sector, and have never felt my weight impacted my prospects; however, iconoclast has lots of thin co-workers in the law sector.

My understanding of the studies mentioned by CousinRockingChair is that given a choice between a thin and a fat candidate who are otherwise equally qualified, preference tends to be given to the thinner candidate. This is similar to other subtle discriminations and prejudices - job applications that are identical but have a "white" name or a "black" or "ethnic" name, and the "white" application tends to be preferenced for interviews, etc.

Gotta love prejudice. :(

Shy Moment
12-02-2007, 01:42 PM
I think part of it might be. When someone in business sees a thin ( or not really thin but the weight they should be ) person they think in control. When they see an over weight person many times they see out of control. Control, able to deal with stress and make good decisions I don't think are thought of as going hand in hand with being over weight most of the time. Yes, I am sure there is discrimination but I also think. If a person can't control and make good decisions about what goes into their own body, why would anything think they could make good decisions for their business.

AnnRue
12-02-2007, 02:03 PM
I'm a corporate lawyer. Almost all the female lawyers in my firm are thin and pretty, and to be honest, it's not just my firm;

Yes I am lawyer too and I work in the Federal Courts, I can tell you, the women who come to my court, all very thin. May not have any lawyering skills, but all thin, and pretty. Litigators or not. But even within the court, there are no female judges that are not thin and pretty - although that makes no sense really... they are appointed for life. They aren't for profit -- they wear a large black robe in public, yet there it is. When I worked in the state court there were larger women, but it is rare in the prestigious places.

I did just want to add one more thing....something that I really didn't understand when I was fat was the way the fat distorted my face. It wasn't just losing weight, but now in addition to my body looking better, and clothing fitting me better, my face is much prettier. I have mentioned this on other boards, but it is almost like I got a face lift. My hair used to have a big part to it (making it look like I was thinning) but now it is back to my youthful look -looking like I have full lush hair. My eyes are so much bigger and brighter and my nose even looks more sharp.

This isn't to say I didn't get promotions or raises when I was larger, but it was like I had a thin black veil over me... the promotions were harder earned, and the raises were less.

I am going to guess in my profession it comes from the media image of what a lawyer looks like. Watch any TV show or movie about lawyers and you will see -- Glenn Close, Tom Cruise, Paul Newman, Rose Byrne. Never say, Rosie O'Donnell. So people come to lawyers and expect to see Tom Cruise, and if that doesn't happen, they get nervous. I would imagine that if a young lawyer came in that was thin but looked really unusual, (red curly hair) she might face the same problems until she conformed herself.

Heather
12-02-2007, 02:48 PM
This is a really interesting discussion, but I still wonder how much of getting ahead is in our OWN heads. If we are overweight and expect to be discriminated against, we may interpret situations to conform with our expectations.

There's a lot of recent research in social psychology on a topic called "stereotype threat". The idea is that you take a group of people who are stereotyped in some way. For example, they have looked at African Americans who are stereotyped as having lower intelligence and women, who are stereotyped at being worse at math. And Latinos are stereotyped at being less able to speak English.

Then you put them in a situation where they are merely reminded of the stereotype (but don't do anything to treat people differently).

They find that when people are merely reminded of the stereotype, their performance suffers. African Americans score lower on intelligence tests. Women score lower on math tests (but not verbal tests). Latinos score worse on verbal (English) tests. We don't know why exactly, but it may be people expect to be judged on the stereotype and perform accordingly. A kind of self-fulfilling prophecy.

So, I'm wondering if fat people are aware there are stereotypes about them, if they do worse just because they are thinking about the stereotype and expecting to be judged accordingly. At least in part. Obviously, in the real world, people may ALSO treat you differently, so it is more complex.

ennay
12-02-2007, 02:53 PM
as an engineer you are better off being....not too thin, not too pretty. Pretty and thin = not smart enough in engineering eyes. Best to be just a little overweight...but not a lot, a slightly bad haircut and slightly out of fashion clothes. Or if you are thin...be the thin scrawny boyish gawky figure, not the thin sexy figure.

veggielover
12-02-2007, 03:07 PM
as an engineer you are better off being....not too thin, not too pretty. Pretty and thin = not smart enough in engineering eyes. Best to be just a little overweight...but not a lot, a slightly bad haircut and slightly out of fashion clothes. Or if you are thin...be the thin scrawny boyish gawky figure, not the thin sexy figure.



funny you shuld mention that ennay, I know a lot of PhD students who say its better off to look "geeky" rather than "stylish" because people take you more seriously... Now, I'm not sure how that's possible but one friend suggested that if one person decides to put less effort into their appearance, its likely that they'll put more effort into their area of work (although that to me, is not true at all. I know some real perfectionists...)

jillybean720
12-02-2007, 03:32 PM
This is a really interesting discussion, but I still wonder how much of getting ahead is in our OWN heads. If we are overweight and expect to be discriminated against, we may interpret situations to conform with our expectations.
...
So, I'm wondering if fat people are aware there are stereotypes about them, if they do worse just because they are thinking about the stereotype and expecting to be judged accordingly. At least in part. Obviously, in the real world, people may ALSO treat you differently, so it is more complex.
I'm glad I took the time to read all the posts here instead of just responding to the initial post because Heather said exactly what I was thinking (and probably worded it a lot more clearly than I would have!).

Since graduating from high school, I don't think I've ever been less than 250 pounds. So I have been obese for the entirety of my adult life (and prior, but that's not relevant here, I don't think). I read a study recently that obese teens are actually less likely to go to college than their thinner peers. Well, I went to college and did well, even graduated a semester early and had a fabulous internship. I thought being overweight and trying to get a job in my desired profession (marketing) would be nearly impossible, as my college couldn't really help me much wince I wouldn't be working near my school. But I graduated from college in December and started my new job as a Marketing Assistant on January 2. I wasn't making buckets of money, but that's simply because I was fresh out of college, not because I was fat.

So, first full-time professional job down, a whole future career to go. I moved to another new area, the DC metro area, and immediate nabbed a job with a giant corporation. I was making a bit more than at my previous job, but that was likely simply due to the increased cost of living for the area. Less than a year into that job, I was sooo tired (worked lots of overtime, worked a second part-time job, etc.), so I started seeking a higher-paying position. Being friends with my direct supervisor, I told her of a recent interview I'd gone on, and we discussed why I wanted to leave. The next day, she came back to me and told me she'd talked to her boss (director of our group), and that they were willing to give me a raise to keep me. They gave me a raise of almost $10k annually. So I stayed a while longer.

When I finally did leave that job, it was for another with a $10k pay increase. When I left that job for the job I have now, it was for yet another $10k increase in salary. I've only been working full-time in a professional environment for 4 years, and I've already more than doubled my salary from when I started. And all at 250+ pounds.

And no one can convince me that I've just been "lucky" or that I just happen to have found 5 consecutive exceptions to the general majority.

I had a theory for a while that some of my success was due in part to the fact that I've always worked for women. While some are catty and superficial, many are also more accepting of obese employees than men because I think women in general better understand the struggle of weight, even if they've never been obese (not to say they know what it's like, just that they understand the difficulty). However, recent occurences with my present employer have opened my eyes to the fact that it is my work, maturity, and professionalism that defines me, not my weight. I was offered a position with a different group within my company by their male VP (my current VP is female). He even discussed the transition with the owner/President of the company, who is also male, and his response was basically, "do whatever you have to do to keep Jill with the company, no matter which divisiion she is in." I didn't end up switching groups, but that's a whole different story and not relevant to weight.

I'll also add that I do not dress professionally every day, nor do I care to fuss with my hair or makeup. I do not wear makeup at all, and I typically just keep my hair pulled back (either in a pony tail or twisted up in a barett). That's not to say I'm sloppy in appearance, but I typically just wear pants (not jeans, but slacks) and a comfortable shirt or sweater (I'm partial to 3/4 sleeve button-front or layered shirts). Nothing special. And I NEVER wear heels :dizzy: (and I'm not very tall, for those wondering--about 5' 5.5)

I currently make more than some people I work with who are older than me, both male and female. This has nothing to do with my weight, only my work ethic, maturity, and diligence.

I'm not saying the studies are wrong, but I certainly don't feel they paint the right picture, if that makes sense. No matter what your weight, you should always attend an interview in a well put-together suit. You should always carry a portfolio of past work (if relevant to your field), have positive professional references lined up, and have an errorless resume you've worked hard to perfect. When review or promotion time comes, regardless of weight, you need to have examples of exemplary work you've performed, difficult problems you've solved, etc. And most importantly, in my opinion, you need to forget you're fat. You need to hold your head up high and carry yourself with the confidence that you KNOW you can do the work and that the higher-ups would be stupid to overlook you. If you EVER have the attitude that something won't happen (you won't get the job, you won't get promoted, you won't get picked for the business trip, whatever), then others will percieve what you reflect--that you don't deserve it because you're fat.

I'm sorry--that was much longer than intended :^:

zenor77
12-02-2007, 03:59 PM
I'm curious as to what kind of "professional" the original post was about. I could see some professions being more apt to reward thinner execs. Publishing and the fashion industry come to mind. Also, what city do they work in? The local culture may have bearing on this as well. Just a thought.

I know I was passed over for a promotion when I was heavy, but I'm not so sure it had to do with weight. I think it was due to the fact that I was not a flirt. The girl who got the promotion was highly unqualified, but she "threw" the "girls" around whenever the manager was around. Personally, if I can't win a promotion based on merit then do I really want it? Does anyone really want to work for people like that? I was very happy when I left that job.

almostheaven
12-02-2007, 05:32 PM
I can just tell I am considered more competent and people are blown away that I have lost the weight and kept it off (and they keep telling me years later and seem to think I am still losing weight although I am not).
I think this is a theme. My neighbor never saw me overweight, but she's seen the pictures. And she sees me going out jogging. And 3 times since we moved here a little under a year ago now, she's asked if I've lost more weight. I keep saying no, I'm still the same. But she SWEARS I look like I've lost more. :dizzy:

I wonder how much this varies from workforce to workforce. For example, I work in the not-for-profit sector, and have never felt my weight impacted my prospects; however, iconoclast has lots of thin co-workers in the law sector.

My understanding of the studies mentioned by CousinRockingChair is that given a choice between a thin and a fat candidate who are otherwise equally qualified, preference tends to be given to the thinner candidate. This is similar to other subtle discriminations and prejudices - job applications that are identical but have a "white" name or a "black" or "ethnic" name, and the "white" application tends to be preferenced for interviews, etc.
It varies a lot depending on the job AND on the individuals. IE: The little cafe we ate at once had aisles so narrow, my overweight dad and daughter had a struggle getting through to the table. The waitresses, because of this, HAVE to be thin. They have to be able to navigate with trays and while avoiding customers. They squeezed as many tables into as small a space as they could manage. And it's not just weight. Ever see an authentic Mexican restaurant that hires non-Mexicans? It's their business to be Mexican, and to speak fluent Spanish. There's a local one here. It's not all family either, but they only hire Mexicans. They DID hire one American in one of their restaurants, but he's a friend of theirs and speaks fluent Spanish. Is it discrimination or just good business practice? If you're in the public eye and your boss knows that many people view overweight in a negative light, is it discrimination to not hire someone overweight or just good business practice to want someone in the spotlight that's going to draw customers in rather than turn some of them away? And then there are the bosses, who are just like the many people who do view overweight negatively. Some of these bosses do as well. And THEN it's discrimination. And then there's what Shy Moment mentioned, that thin gives the appearance of in control to some. And still there is also...

This is a really interesting discussion, but I still wonder how much of getting ahead is in our OWN heads. If we are overweight and expect to be discriminated against, we may interpret situations to conform with our expectations.
I don't think it can ever be broken down into just one problem. It's all of these combined.

I've worked in small offices all my life, ones where I was mostly behind a door. My weight never mattered there. If I'd been in a job that required me on the front lines and in public view, I probably couldn't say that.

On another note, to the lawyers, and the mention of Tom Cruise. I don't even get that. Yeah, on TV, you don't see a fat lawyer...fat FEMALE lawyer that is. But can we say Perry Mason? ;) I don't think there's as much impact at having an overweight business MAN as it is a business WOMAN. And that one doesn't make sense. If it's the public eye one's worried about and looking good, why would they expect the public to not care if the man looked good?

AnnRue
12-02-2007, 05:38 PM
On another note, to the lawyers, and the mention of Tom Cruise. I don't even get that. Yeah, on TV, you don't see a fat lawyer...fat FEMALE lawyer that is. But can we say Perry Mason? ;)

I hope this doesn't insult anyone but I think Perry Mason is not known by most people. A few years ago a judge was waxing about how he got into law because of Perry and he was going on about different characters and I sat there with this total blank face, finally he goes *you have no idea who I am talking about do you?* and I didn't. We both burst into laughter.

Oh and I think it is a perk of losing weight that people still seem to think I am losing more -- although I am not. It is funny!

almostheaven
12-02-2007, 05:40 PM
?????!!!!! People who don't know Perry Mason?????

Now I'm utterly speechless, and that's unusual for me. LOL

Heather
12-02-2007, 06:40 PM
Camryn Mannheim (an obese woman) did play a lawyer on a TV show. can't remember the name of it. Lara Flynn Boyle (very skinny) was a DA on the show, so they ran the gamut. She's an exception to the rule, I think.

gailr42
12-02-2007, 11:04 PM
There was also a heavy male lawyer on one of those shows.

Maybe we have to be of a certain age to remember Perry Mason. How about the show "Cannon"? I think the actor's name was William Conrad. I think he died, too. He was really big.

almostheaven
12-03-2007, 12:03 AM
Cannon...I was never fond of that one. Wasn't he the one in the wheelchair?

And let's not talk about ages. LOL

Lafayette
12-03-2007, 10:54 AM
Having worked as a business consultant and as a nonprofit consultant, I can honestly say that I have never encountered a work place where appearance was not an issue, although whether it universally determines success is highly debatable!

I honestly believe that managing your appearance is just as important as managing any other work behavior. When I was first entering the work world, I was told by mentors to maintain a healthy weight, stylish hair, flattering make-up, good clothes and an overall attractive appearance- not because it would guarantee my success but because it certainly wouldn't be the cause of my failure. I've held on to that and set a size/weight I simply will not go above without a fight...

horsey
12-03-2007, 01:24 PM
I have a thought on this - when I was tall, thin, young, in my 20s I did better in my own business then now - older, a bit overweight. So I'm wondering how much of it is self confidence? I mean when I was thinner, I could wear anything, a gunny sack and look good, I could wear clothes well. I felt good about myself and my looks. People could feel that self confidence and reacted to it in a positive way. Now I feel older and the weight makes me feel frumpy. I don't have the bounce I used to have. And I don't have the energy. Basically I'm carrying around 30+ lbs that I didn't back then. I think a lot of this is the SECRET, the book. Who you are and what others think of you is a direct reflection of your thoughts. If you are thinking, I'm overweight, I don't fit in, I feel bad about myself etc. then others will feel that - it puts you in a different wave length then the positive movers and shakers of the world.

I reread the book last night "Does this Make Me Look Fat?" and I also agree with the author, people make judgments quickly about weight and dress. Our weight and how we dress reflects who we are. I don't think most people MEAN TO judge overweight people, but they do. Perhaps they think being over weight is a sign of self control and discipline, is it? I know it's harder for me to keep the weight off as I get older, but too at the times when I've gained weight I've lacked self discipline in my eating/exercising as well as at work. So for myself a bit of it is true.

I'm in marketing, I spend time analyzing my clothes and what to wear, because dressing right, knowing makeup gives me an edge - that first image that people judge me by. I try to look put together, even working at home, because how I dress affects how I work. I've lost a bit of weight lately, my clothes are fitting better, I'm feeling more confident in clothes, thus more confident in work.

mandalinn82
12-03-2007, 03:03 PM
I work from home. Clients only see me VERY rarely, and the people in my office see me maybe 4 times a year. And I STILL started being treated as a professional only when they knew I'd lost weight. I think I am the example that proves it isn't 100% a difference in confidence. I had gone from a size 22 to a size 14, and in between, NO ONE in my office had seen me. I showed up for the office party and everyone saw the smaller me, and the VERY NEXT WEEK, noticed a marked difference in how people were treating me. It was actually quite odd. I got promoted shortly thereafter, actually, and always wondered if the weight had something to do with it (not that I didn't earn it, I did, I just don't know if I earned it earlier than I actually got it).

ennay
12-03-2007, 03:20 PM
There was also a heavy male lawyer on one of those shows.

Maybe we have to be of a certain age to remember Perry Mason. How about the show "Cannon"? I think the actor's name was William Conrad. I think he died, too. He was really big.

I'm too young to be "of a certain age"!!!!!! (Arent I? Oh heck) Does noone have cable? Perry Mason is still in reruns ad nauseum

jillybean720
12-03-2007, 03:56 PM
I think I am the example that proves it isn't 100% a difference in confidence.
I don't think it's ever going to be proven to be 100% either way. There will always be jerks who think fat=stupid/lazy, there will always be stereotyping, and there will always be people who judge even unintentionally or subconsciously. Yet, there will also always be those who are open-minded, accepting, and results-oriented as opposed to superficial.

I haven't had the full range of experiences, as I've never been below 250 pounds in my adult life/professional career. I have had an insane amount of success for my age despite my weight. I wonder if I'll have even more when I'm thinner...:chin:

Oh, and while I know the name "Perry Mason," I certainly wouldn't be able to pick the character out of a line-up! And I don't think I've ever seen any of those re-runs being played around here. I did, however, used to watch Matlock every day with my grandma when I was little--he was no beanpole, either ;)

ennay
12-03-2007, 04:37 PM
I think my point is.....(do I have a point?) is that appearance is important to a degree. People WILL make judgements about you based on your appearance. Some people are smart enough to reevaluate based on getting to know you, some arent.

But I dont think you can uniformly say -"thinner is better, and the THINNER the better". I think there is a range of weights that people are comfortable with. For a lot of people I think "middle weights" are the most comfortable Hairstyle, fashion choices, makeup choices, all of them together can make an impression, good or bad.

I really wasnt joking when I said female engineers better not look too good. I was asked in an interview if I really wanted to apply for this job because "you'll have to get dirty and you cant wear nice clothes". Heck, I was the top performing engineer in my group and the vice president stopped me in the hall one day and said "You cut your hair. Its about time, you aren't a cheerleader anymore" Note : I had NEVER been a cheerleader :lol: and the guy was a royal jerk and I immediately started growing my hair back out. I actually didnt WANT to be promoted so it was a win-win. But of all the things he ever talked to me about...my appearance was the ONLY time he initiated a conversation in passing.

How people judge you is about their own experiences some people think fat means lazy and not as smart, some thing fat means too dedicated to work to take care of himself. Some see thin as disciplined, some worry that a thin woman is superficial and will spend too much time worrying about her appearance to get down to business.

All you can control is how YOU feel about you and what you bring to the table. Appearance is something, but it rarely trumps performance over the long haul of the career.

horsey
12-03-2007, 05:17 PM
Didn't that former model on her tv show do a deal one day? She dressed as a fat person that was frumpy? Just to prove that people would treat her differently? Why can't I think of her name? I read about it in a magazine, they showed pictures of her... I'm SURE it was like night and day for her.

On the flip side of this I think looking "too good" can be a downfall in business for a female... when I was younger men used to hit on me to test me, I never dressed other then professional but I was skinny. I think they wondered, so can she do her job?

midwife
12-03-2007, 05:43 PM
Every so often someone posts a thread about fat health care providers or skinny health care providers as if health care professionals should be exempt from our obesigenic environment. :-) I work with a lot of midwives whose weight range from totally fit (long distance cyclist/spin class instructor) to morbidly obese and I do not perceive that our patients seek us out or treat us differently based on our size. Our patients bond with us as individuals. Actually, now that I am considering it, I wonder if some women do prefer chunkier midwives, as it is hard enough to be the size of a barn at 40 weeks without being around a smoking hot midwife (not that they will ever have to worry about that extreme with me!).

I, of course, am a Pollyanna, and I think (hope!) that the people I work with take me on my many nonphysical merits.

ennay
12-03-2007, 08:24 PM
I think you have a point midwife ...maybe unintentionally..that what your career is could matter. I think people have a preconceived notion of what a "doctor" or a "lawyer" looks like and will unconsciously drift to that norm.

NightengaleShane
12-04-2007, 10:00 AM
horsey - I think I know what you're talking about - it was on The Tyra Show.

I've met successful people of all sizes. I think your overall presentation (a nice outfit, well-kept hair, good but subtle make-up, confidence, well put together) probably matters more than your weight does. In response to the original poster, it sickens me to know that some women get promotions for being underweight, though I WOULD really like to know the actual weight of this woman. Is she truly underweight or just slim?

In my opinion, fat women losing weight for a promotion in some shallow organizations (like the one the OP is part of) is just another bit of conforming to survive. For instance, I've found that CONVENTIONAL looking women are MUCH more successful in the corporate world. I think I'd be ugly if I grew out my hair, took out my piercings, and dressed professionally 24/7. The only way I've ever been skinny is with starvation - now I'm very FIT but no one ever calls me thin because I'm too "solid". I'm dreading the way I'm going to look at the interviews I have coming up for better positions, because my hair looks like crap when it's combed down. I even thought about wearing a wig if it would up my chances :lol:

nylisa
12-04-2007, 04:01 PM
I'm guessing it would vary from industry to industry. Personally, I've never experienced problems when I was gaining weight. But my work is behind the scenes type of stuff, and once you get to a certain level, there are more jobs than there are qualified candidates. At my last job, I did run into problems when I lost weight of all things. But 2 of the 3 people involved had their own weight issues. I thought it was just me, but the other person they singled out for scapegoating had lost over 60 pounds on WW and they tried to start rumors she had an eating disorder! As well as microscopically pick apart our work. But it turned out for the best, it drove me out of there and to my current job, which is a much better fit.

In addition to what people have said about self-confidence, I wonder how much it varies with how people choose to dress. Personally, having yo-yoed from 120-250 (at 5'8), even though the need for new clothes is more when I've gained weight (a little baggy is less noticeable than a hulk like straining of clothes :), psychologically, it's been a lot easier/more enjoyable to buy clothes when I've lost weight. When I had to buy bigger clothes, I bought only the minimum and was very price conscious. Unless I was interviewing for a job, in which case, I'd spend more for a good interview suit if nothing I had fit properly. But with smaller clothes, I've felt freer to treat myself a bit. And for me, weight gain has coincided with stressful times in my life. I'm more likely to get the nails done, keep up with the hair, etc. when I'm not stressed out.