Weight. Weight. Wait. Wait.
Always swirling thru my mind, especially as of late.
I am on a search for new and exciting career opportunities. First impressions are important after your résumé gets you thru the front doors. You do the rest. Wait. How you look speaks volumes. Wait. Your WEIGHT often dictates whether or not you get the job. And with my concerns about my weight and lack of management – it’s impacting my self-confidence… and my belief that I can do a kick-ass job in my field.
I read an article a few weeks ago… and it probably didn’t do much for my self-esteem – (although – unless you are a psychologist – I hide that fact very well). I carry my weight well, as well. But the damn BMI says I’m obese. And I’m tired of dressing in specialty stores that carry shapeless outfits and mumu’s. Which makes it rather difficult to go shopping for a the perfect power suit that will knock potential employers off their butts. My smile is good… but apparently – not good enough.
So after reading all about Weight Discrimination, it’s all but sealed the deal for me. My family physician asked if I would be willing to participate in a 12 week weight loss study being conducted at the University Hospital. It’s free (or so they tell you – my drug plan doesn’t cover the medication they want you to be on in order to participate – costing me $132/month) – you meet with 4-5 specialists during the 12 week program and loose weight. She prescribed me the not-covered-under-my-plan drug Meridia – and as excited as I am about the potential weight loss opportunity – that drug is nasty!! The possible side effects have me scarred shitless! I am reconsidering this whole schpeel… I won’t make any final decisions until I speak with my family doctor again in a few weeks. I wish there was a simpler way to loose weight without all the drugs and fanfare – but I have not been successful yet.
Now what I don’t get is this: Insurance companies will cover some of the stupidest drugs available for some of the most insane uses… but a drug that is designed to combat obesity – a national problem that has the world up in arms about – isn’t. I am very confused by this. Why is that? Perhaps someone who works in that industry can explain to me this decision making process.
Anyhow… so although I don’t have any interviews booked or scheduled yet – I am still working towards that goal. Which will give me the time to set a few things in order… one of which is my weight. I already feel that my education (or lack thereof) works against me… I don’t need to be discriminated against any further because of my weight.
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You might be the most qualified and the ideal candidate for said position…but if you don’t fit the corporate image the company wants to portray… if you are overweight… then the probability of being overlooked – is much higher. And that’s if you get passed the first face to face interview… according to this article.
Mark Roehling, Michigan State University associate professor of human resources management states:
“…Weight-based discrimination consistently affects every aspect of employment, from hiring to firing, promotions, pay allocation, career counselling and discipline…”
The article continues,
A 2004 study by Cornell University Associate Professor John Cawley found that when the average white woman puts on an additional 64 pounds, her wages drop 9%. (Some studies have shown that overweight white women are evaluated more harshly than overweight African American women and that African Americans tend to be more accepting of large body types, according to Roehling.)
In 2004, Charles Baum, of Middle Tennessee State University, also reported in the journal Health Economics that obesity could lower a woman’s annual earnings by as much as 6.2% and a man’s by as much as 2.3%.
Employers, of course, are concerned about obesity in the workplace because of the associated price tag. Obese employees cost U.S. private companies an estimated US$45 billion annually in medical expenditures and work loss, according to a new report by The Conference Board, a non-profit business membership and research organization.
The damning stats don’t stop there. Between 1997 and 2004, obese workers filed twice the number of workers’ compensation claims, had seven times the medical costs and lost 13 times the days of work from work injury or illness compared with other employees, according to a Duke University Medical Center study of the health records of more than 11,000 Duke University employees. The results were published in the Archives of Internal Medicine last year.
Additionally, the average medical-claims costs per 100 employees amounted to US$51,019 for the obese, compared with US$7,503 for the non-obese. (Similar legislation is pending in Massachusetts.)
And there’s not much preventing companies from acting solely in favour of their bottom lines. Though overweight people may receive some protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Michigan is currently the only state that actually bans discrimination based on weight.