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Where do you work if you are obese????

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Old 05-10-2009, 08:30 PM   #1
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Default Where do you work if you are obese????

Hallo everybody!!

Okay, I do not want to bore you with too much information, but to make a very long story short, I am (was?) an accountant / auditor. I recently decided that accountancy and auditing may not be the right career for me and that I needed a change!! I am a "people" person and love to train people, talk to people, run around and be active. I don't know if I like sitting at a computer all day and compile financial statements. I use to love it, but lately (for the last 2 years) something didn't feel right.

So, (again, not going into much detail) I gave notice at my firm and decided to take a step back from accounting for a year and to assess my life.

Oh, and by the way, I gained 90 lbs in five years whilst being an accountant...

Anyway, I decided that I should get a job during my 'gap year' to pay my bills. Importantly, this job should not relate to accountancy or administration in any way. My first option was to find work as a shop assistant in retail. I knew they would only pay minimum wage, and that it would mean a substantial wage cut, but if that is what it takes to find my way, I'll take it. I would love to get an active job, like a shelf stocker that works during the graveyard shifts.

So, confident that I will find a job, I walked into the major retail and other known stores (Asda (Walmart in America), Aldi, Tesco, Shell, Texaco) and then I went to hotels (Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express etc), and what I found was shocking!! The second when I asked people if they had any job opportunities available, you could just see the horror in their eyes. They would look me up and down or glance at each other. One guy, (probably 22 years old) that worked at a convenience store, looked at his mate who starting laughing and had to walk away. The guy tried not to laugh himself, and told me that they do not have anything.

I know we are in a recession and that there aren't many jobs out there. But I really did come to the conclusion that if it was the thin me walking into these shops, people would have acted differently. Some people were really nice and asked around, and some gave me a straight answer without judgement in their eyes. However, most of the time I had the feeling that they looked at me first, up and down, and then gave me an answer.

So, after that experience, I starting to look for places that employ overweight people - and they are really hard to find!! Asda and Tesco had many overweight people working for them, but the smaller the shops get, the thinner their employees seem to get.

Now I don't know what to do. I knew it would be difficult to find a job as the unemployment rate is increasing every day, but I really feel as if I have another obstacle to overcome.

Where do you work and does anybody have suggestions of where I can look for a job?

And one more thing that is in the back of my mind; if I do find a retail job, will I be able to fit into their uniforms (I am a UK size 20, US size 16/18)?

Any advice will be appreciated.
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Old 05-10-2009, 08:44 PM   #2
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Move to Nebraska USA. We have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the US as well as one of the highest obesity rates. Even at my highest weight, (US size 30) I had monthly job offers. I'm an accountant by trade, and a stay at home mom by choice, though I have had several part-time temporary jobs working from my home office. I hate accounting too! You'll just have to keep pounding the pavement, waiting tables is excellent exercise!

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Old 05-10-2009, 08:51 PM   #3
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If retail is what you would like to try, then a plus-size shop might be a good place to start. I take it you are in the UK??? Man, the economy bites right now! I would just completely hit the bricks and you WILL find something. And I don't understand -- you are pretty much 6 feet tall so I'll bet you carry your weight better than you think...
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Old 05-10-2009, 08:59 PM   #4
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Move to Nebraska USA.
Haha!! Thank your Lori Bell. Your posts always make me smile. Very interesting avatar by the way!

I live in the UK at the moment, and they say that more than a third of the population is obese/overweight here. One in three?? Are you kidding me?? They say that we are the fattest country in Europe. If this is true, there must be quite a few overweight people working in office jobs, as they are not working in the retail sector!!
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Old 05-10-2009, 09:04 PM   #5
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Hi.. I don't think I consider your size "obese", overweight, big, BBW... but not obese.

I was your weight and size and almost the same height as you a couple of years ago, I knew I was fat but I guess I think of obese as so overweight you are bidridden. So, I don't know... I don't think that's a reason not to go after a job you want. I see some nurses, waitresses, cashiers and others with active jobs that are overweight.

Are you sure it's not a confidence thing? I'm looking for work... and I feel me not being confident about my body and looks plays a big role in not getting hired...
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Old 05-10-2009, 09:08 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by kiramira View Post
If retail is what you would like to try, then a plus-size shop might be a good place to start. I take it you are in the UK??? Man, the economy bites right now! I would just completely hit the bricks and you WILL find something. And I don't understand -- you are pretty much 6 feet tall so I'll bet you carry your weight better than you think...
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Hey Kira!

Yea, I guess I do carry my weight a bit better than others, but my height makes me really 'big'. I can't tell you how many times I got comments like "Wow, you are a really Big girl" from random strangers in the past. And I am still a size 20, which is four sizes bigger than the average UK woman. On bad days I even have to buy 22s.

But, yes, you are perfectly right!! I just have to hit the bricks.

I always try to seem confident and smile as I walk into shops. Just have to keep doing that.
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Old 05-10-2009, 09:17 PM   #7
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Aren't there any laws protecting you from size discrimination? I know here in the U.S. if you can prove that a company didn't hire a person based solely on their weight (and that their weight wouldn't impede their ability to perform the job effectively), then that person has grounds for a lawsuit.
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Old 05-10-2009, 09:19 PM   #8
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I'm the hiring coordinator for a large electronics store and I just wanted to add that your weight may have absolutely nothing to do with it.

I'm not doing much coordinating at present because corporate has had me on a strict hiring freeze since November! If you walked in with a PHD I wouldn't be able to hire you no matter what you looked like .

I'm sure this is the case with a lot of other retail shops currently.

*hugs* and best of luck to you!
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Old 05-10-2009, 09:19 PM   #9
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Are you sure it's not a confidence thing?
That is certainly a big part of it. One of the reasons why I want to take a gap year is to get my old self and my old confidence back. But, when I walk into a shop, I walk tall, smile and look people in the eye. I always try to dress nice. The past week has really been cold and I had a nice wool coat on, black trousers and boots. But I can't hide my round face and the fact that I am 100 lbs over weight.

And the looks that people gave me were totally unexpected.

Oh, and I have a BMI of around 34, which makes me obese. Sad but true.

Last edited by Findmyself : 05-10-2009 at 09:36 PM.
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Old 05-10-2009, 09:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
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I'm not doing much coordinating at present because corporate has had me on a strict hiring freeze since November! If you walked in with a PHD I wouldn't be able to hire you no matter what you looked like .

I'm sure this is the case with a lot of other retail shops currently.

*hugs* and best of luck to you!
I am really sorry to hear about the hiring freeze at your company.

But please don't get me wrong. There were so many people that were really professional. They just told me that they didn't have anything at the moment, and I thanked them with a smile, and walked away.

But I wished I can describe that look of disgust some people gave me. Totally unexpected.
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Old 05-10-2009, 10:56 PM   #11
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Have you ever considered, nursing or ambulance type driver/EMT. CNA- certified nursing assistant courses don't take long either. Just a thouht- your size would be an advantage in the healthcare industry. I wish you luck, My husband has been out of work for several months now, but as a nurse I am able to find work just about anywhere!
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Old 05-10-2009, 11:35 PM   #12
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I'm 5' 9" and last September when I found my new job I was at 240 (unfortunately I've "found" some more weight since then). I personally went through a placement agency, who verifies your skill and asks you what you want to do and matches you up from there. So, sight-unseen you are prescreened and then sent on the interviews. Not sure if this is an option where you are -- but I find it works well.
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Old 05-11-2009, 01:59 AM   #13
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I'm not really sure if your weight had anything to do with it.

With the economy the way it is, finding any kind of employment is hard. In the area you're looking, it's even worse. I know that many friends (either in grad school or recently graduated) are in real trouble because the type of jobs you've been looking at are just evaporating. Those kinds of jobs, either casual or full time seem to be what gets cut first when times get hard.

I think people were just surprised that you hadn't realized how difficult things had become. To be honest, I'm rather amazed you'd take such a daring step at the moment. Major points to you for your courage!

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Old 05-11-2009, 02:16 AM   #14
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I absolutely hate size discrimination. Nothing gets me more peeved.
But I agree with ManyNamed, your weight may have not had anything to do with it. I make assumptions like that all the time - the reason someone did something was because they're judging me. That's not a healthy mindset at all, even though sometimes it's sad but true. Most of the time I just figure it's all in my head and the only reason I felt that way is because I'm overly self-conscious.

As for a recommendation - it's kinda funny but when I worked at a photography studio most of us were overweight, even the manager. I don't know what it is about taking pictures, but every one of the female employees were at least slightly overweight. I don't mean that in a bad way either, I just find it peculiar. :P
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Old 05-11-2009, 10:52 AM   #15
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If you were getting looks of disgust when you walked in to inquire about employment, I wouldn't assume it was because of your weight. I would assume that it was because the employees you talked to were idiots.

Good luck out there!
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