Too Fat to Work Here

June 09, 2014


shutterstock_89257099v2By: Shana Adams (@bbgtonline) I graduated from college in May 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in integrated marketing communication. Say that fast three times. I was really young and really naïve, on the fast track to getting the career of my dreams. Hold up, wait (Nate Dogg voice). College might have prepared me with the knowledge but I wasn’t prepared for the harsh realities of what really matters on job interviews: presentation. I was around 255 lbs. then. At 5 foot 9 inches, the extra weight made me look bulky, intimidating. The marketing/advertising industry is all about appearances, what sells, what makes people buy into a product or service. My look wasn’t selling. The interviewers were not buying. I remember one interview in particular with a small advertising agency in Greenville, SC. I walked in wearing my size 20 black business suit and a smile. The interviewer was pleasant but I could sense that she was uneasy about something. She was petite, around 5 foot 3 and young-ish. Damnit. I thought, shouldn’t have worn heels. Looking back, I admit I was a bit nervous when answering her questions, but the tone was set before I went to her office. I wasn’t what they were looking for image wise and in hindsight, I wasn’t surprised. Everyone in the office that I saw was petite, and had a certain “look”. Companies won’t admit it because it’s against the law but weight discrimination does happen. In an industry that lacks diversity, being 255 lbs. did not help my cause or increase my chances of getting hired on. Several experiences like this along with health concerns were major factors in my desire to lose weight. Maybe it was my lack of experience, my nervousness, or something else that prevented me from getting the job at the flashy agency that I so desperately coveted. But if we’re all being honest, “the look” means a lot and you only have one shot at a first impression.  Have you ever experience weight/image discrimination on the job search? Shana is a 25 year old communications professional who took her health into her own hands and started her weight loss journey mid 2010, but really took charge when she was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2012. She is the creator of the health and fitness blog Big Boned Gets Toned! You can also view her Big Boned Gets Toned! weight loss vlog on YouTube.

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