Posts Tagged ‘career’

On Being Fat and Career Minded

I’m currently a public sector employee and I’ve been in the sector since 2002. Up until then I was either unemployed or working part time jobs like Chinese Food Delivery Driver or Franklins Checkout Chick. I was lucky to get a traineeship with the State Government and my career world has expanded from there. (Lucky I was a male – I seemed to fill a required quote!)

Seven and a bit years on, with only a three month foray as a temp in the private sector, I’ve done pretty well for myself. I don’t have a university degree, but I have a degree in “working your way up through the public sector.” My Year 12 (final year) high school Accounting has become very handy over the years, and I’ve gone from an Administration Officer, Procurement Officer, Senior Procurement Officer (titles are everything!), Assets Officer, Finance Officer and now Senior Finance Officer (there’s that title thing again!). At the moment I’m an Acting Team Leader. I think that’s pretty ace.

So now that I’ve given myself a massive ego trip, onto the point of my post. I feel like I’ve achieved a lot in my career. I worked hard and taken some knocks. It took five years to get myself a permanent position rather than hanging onto my career by a thread. Another two to get a permanent promotion. And yet I’ve been FAT all the while.

There is this idea that there is a glass ceiling that if you are fat you will never succeed in business. You never see fat men and women in movies or on TV running corporations or even being middle management. Usually the fat guy is the one middle management are picking on. It doesn’t have to be that way.

I have some tips to help you in order to success in your career while being fat and fancy.

  1. Always be fancy. By that I mean dress well, make sure you have well fitting clothes that suit your figure. Don’t show too much skin and dress according to the general feel of your working environment. A couple of days in any organisation will show you what is expected. (You could always ask – no one will bite!)
  2. Be confident in your abilities. You were hired because they thought you would be good at your job, so be good. Do your best and ask for help. Don’t get into the mindset that you have to work it all out on your own. Sure, show some initiative but you need to get stuff right.
  3. Don’t play the fat card. You know what I’m talking about, and I’ve done it plenty of time. This is where you are all talking in a social situation and you are talking about this and that. “Oh, I’ve never done that – but I can’t cause I’m too fat!” Perhaps be honest and say “It’s never really interested me” or whatever the truth is.  Also don’t do the fat jokes. Been there, and people aren’t laughing with you – they just feel sorry for you.
  4. Be yourself. You have to be there eight hours a day. If you want to have that chocolate bar, have the fecking chocolate bar. If you want to go for a walk at lunchtime, go for a walk. The only caveat here is that if you like to chat with your workmates a lot, don’t let it impact on your work. In fact, nothing should impact on your work.

Actually when I think about it, just about all that could be used for non fat people too. Just replace any reference to fat with skinny or normal or whatever defining word you want to use and it still makes sense.

So in conclusion, being fat doesn’t make you a poor employee, so don’t sabotage yourself, get in there and work hard. If you get knocked back for that promotion, ask why. Get feedback. Find out what things you need to improve on to get to the next level. They cannot deny you because you are fat, so don’t give them any other reason to say no.

I note reports that fat women have more issues in the workplace than fat men. This could be true but I’m not really in a position to comment myself. If you feel that this is the case, leave me some comments. If there is enough feedback perhaps I can form it into a future post presenting a female perspective on this topic.

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