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OwlMBA
08-05-2008, 05:01 PM
I recently spoke at a forum on US economic output and organizational leadership. A topic that came up surrounded the lack of obese people in executive roles. A heated debate ensued, as you can imagine.

One side argued that obese people are discriminated against, and that is the cause of the disparity. The other side argued that obese people are often lazy, and that is why they aren't in the highest level positions.

I agreed with both sides.

What do you think? When you see CEOs and VPs in your company or the leaders of other large companies you rarely, if ever, see people who are obese. There is no denying that there is a disproportionate number of obese people to Senior Executives in the US. Why?

Finally, should obesity be added to the EEOC protected classes (along with age, race, gender, national origin, etc etc)?

PB2012
08-05-2008, 05:15 PM
Obesity should NOT be added to the EEOC.

People can not control their race, gender, or national orgin.

People can control what they put in their mouths and how often they exercise.

I know there are people with serious diseases and for that cases can be presented and decided.

Obese people are not CEOs and VPs because it is sucha demanding job. You need to always be on your toes, not to mention you are typically an icon for your company. I personally am going to take a middle-aged average size man more seriously than if the old Jared from subway is giving me business advice.

Lastly, I believe anyone can be successful, it does not matter your age, race, gender, orgin, or how you look.

LogansPapa
08-05-2008, 05:18 PM
Obesity should NOT be added to the EEOC.

People can not control their race, gender, or national orgin.

People can control what they put in their mouths and how often they exercise.

I know there are people with serious diseases and for that cases can be presented and decided.


Triple Bingo. Same-Same-Same. :)

OwlMBA
08-05-2008, 05:20 PM
I predict that within 10 years, obesity will be protected and we will have obese people suing over not getting jobs or being terminated. Anyone who works for a big company knows the not-so-big-secret that if you fall into one of the EEOC classes today it is practically impossible to get fired. We all know those people that have no business keeping their jobs, but the company is scared to fire them. I predict obesity will soon be in that category.

LibraryLady
08-05-2008, 05:28 PM
Obesity should NOT be added to the EEOC.

People can not control their race, gender, or national orgin.

People can control what they put in their mouths and how often they exercise.

I know there are people with serious diseases and for that cases can be presented and decided.

Obese people are not CEOs and VPs because it is sucha demanding job. You need to always be on your toes, not to mention you are typically an icon for your company. I personally am going to take a middle-aged average size man more seriously than if the old Jared from subway is giving me business advice.

Lastly, I believe anyone can be successful, it does not matter your age, race, gender, orgin, or how you look.

(I just realized your the guy from Natchitoches that I welcomed the other day,)

What about military? There are weight restrictions there. And there need to be.

PB2012
08-05-2008, 05:41 PM
My father is a retired Naval Officer, and one time he had to tell an enlisted man who was overweight to shape up or get kicked out. In the end he got into shape and is currently serving his country.

When joining the military, you should know the conditions that it comes with, part of which is being in shape. I do not believe that the military discriminates, I believe they want the best people for the job.

OwlMBA
08-05-2008, 05:43 PM
My father is a retired Naval Officer, and one time he had to tell an enlisted man who was overweight to shape up or get kicked out. In the end he got into shape and is currently serving his country.

When joining the military, you should know the conditions that it comes with, part of which is being in shape. I do not believe that the military discriminates, I believe they want the best people for the job.

If anyone should discriminate, its the military! A close second are Police and firefighters.

How many cops are overweight? TONS! And that is unacceptable.

http://fatcop.10-8.org/Use/fc_kehma_tx.jpg

LibraryLady
08-05-2008, 05:48 PM
I agree about the military (and LEOs).
My husband was Army and fought his weight for years. He used to take diuretics and saunas before weigh-ins. He screwed up his heart, his blood sugar and metabolism. He is a severe diabetic now.

lurkalot
08-05-2008, 08:18 PM
I've been morbidly obese for most of my working life.
I've been an executive and a regular staff person.

To be brutally honest, if I hadn't lost the weight I seriously doubt I would be an executive today. For many reasons:
1. Lack of self confidence. When you weigh in about 300 hundred pounds, your self esteem suffers, no matter what.
2. Physical stamina. Long hours, seven day weeks, on call 24/7...exhausting and in order to be competitive, necessary.
3. Projected image. I don't care how well you shop, where you buy your clothes, how neatly groomed you are, at 300 lbs I looked like/felt like a slob. Clothes bunch, don't fit well, are hard to find in style, you sweat too much etc...not exactly a calm cool professional....

I have the same education, background, intelligence I had at 300 lbs...but THANK GOD for Gastric Bypass

Gingersnap
08-05-2008, 09:37 PM
I think it's really hard to advance as a professional if you are a major porker. Everything that Lurk said is true.

Whether it's true or not, there will always be the perception that you care more about food than you care about your career. Let's face it - the rest of us skip lunch, eat on the run, or just blow off meals on the job in order to do work. That might not be a noble work/life balance but it does show a lot of commitment.

Nobody gets to a really high weight without making food a priority beyond mere fuel. This leads to the idea that fat people are obsessed with food. Being fat also makes it much more difficult to physically run around and that has career impacts. Where I live and doing the kind of work I do, it's common to be invited to ride centuries in charity races or to be invited for a little confab during a cross-country skiing trip. Team building exercises typically involve white-water rafting or horseback riding or something similar. It's just the culture out here. A really fat person is going to look like a fool doing all that.

So, yes - I think it does matter. Sometimes for mere prejudice (fat people don't look as good) and sometimes for legit reasons (fat people have a hard time keeping up in some careers).

OwlMBA
08-05-2008, 09:41 PM
Ginger makes good points. My general opinion is that if people dont care enough to work hard for their own health, they arent going to work hard for me. Now thats not always true, of course, but I cannot say that I have met a truly ambitious and hard-working person who is morbidly obese. I have met good workers, but not what I would consider to be the top .01%. And it is only the top .01% that have a chance of making it to the highest-level positions.

Gingersnap
08-05-2008, 09:53 PM
Ginger makes good points. My general opinion is that if people dont care enough to work hard for their own health, they arent going to work hard for me. Now thats not always true, of course, but I cannot say that I have met a truly ambitious and hard-working person who is morbidly obese. I have met good workers, but not what I would consider to be the top .01%. And it is only the top .01% that have a chance of making it to the highest-level positions.

This is the cut-off point, it's true.

Even though I work in an intensely health-conscious, rabidly "green" environment, we have our share of obese people. I have seen over the years that the obese may be valued up to a certain level of command but they are almost never promoted to positions that involve public speaking, negotiations, court appearances, public meetings, or media involvement.

Basically at my place, you can be obese and paid very well if you stick to the lab or IT. Anything else and you will hit the Twinkie Ceiling.

Goldwater
08-05-2008, 10:37 PM
How do people get that big without noticing or caring?

I'm a skeleton so this stuff is all a mystery to me.

Shannon
08-05-2008, 10:42 PM
How do people get that big without noticing or caring?

I'm a skeleton so this stuff is all a mystery to me.

They are victims. Sheesh.:rolleyes:

Goldwater
08-05-2008, 11:15 PM
They are victims. Sheesh.:rolleyes:

My opinion of you just dropped 30%.

Shannon
08-05-2008, 11:17 PM
My opinion of you just dropped 30%.


My "I Don't Give a Shit" Meter just peaked.

Gingersnap
08-05-2008, 11:27 PM
How do people get that big without noticing or caring?

I'm a skeleton so this stuff is all a mystery to me.

I can't I really it get myself. I've watched 'Big Medicine' and that show about the obesity hospital and care center. I feel a lot of sympathy for a lot of those people. Some of them are really intelligent and insightful. It's hard to understand how they got where are - they find it hard to understand.

To some degree, I think that they just give up on having a normal life and they get some kind of positive, or at least neutral, feedback from friends and family. In my childhood home, kids were routinely cautioned about 'food greed'. We simply didn't always have enough to feed 7 with seconds. Meals were prepared with an eye toward lunch and leftovers so unlimited eating was not a norm. My folks didn't buy sodas, chips, candy, or ice cream unless we had a celebration. We didn't have any opportunities to binge on food.

Now, people do have those opportunities and friends and family see such indulgence as more of a mental health issue instead of an opportunistic option.

The other part of it is probably mainstreaming. We see people today who would have been considered outrageously fat 25 years ago - now they look "chunky". Look at any old time sit-com and consider the fat character. He or she appears pretty "normal" today - Ethel in "I love Lucy" would be a good example.

Twenty years ago a size 20 would have been considered way beyond the pale and you couldn't have found that size in most department stores. Now, you have trouble finding 8, 10, or 12 in many stores outside of the Juniors section.

OwlMBA
08-05-2008, 11:29 PM
I have a colleague who actually has a policy to not hire people who are morbidly obese. He is firmly of the belief that obesity is a symptom of laziness. He also says that in his experience they are more likely to take sick days and complain. So he just won't hire them anymore. Fortunately for him he can legally do that (for now). Soon you wont be able to discriminate against obese people. We have so many of them in this country that its only a matter of time before politicians see the opportunity to get on their good side by introducing all sorts of legislation protecting them.

And if you dont believe me, just think back 3 years ago when I predicted the housing crisis to the freakin' T. :)

LogansPapa
08-07-2008, 10:26 AM
My "I Don't Give a Shit" Meter just peaked.

What a peach. :p

Molon Labe
08-07-2008, 11:04 AM
Of course everything has it's exceptions...
The little research I've read is that obese people do not have as much success in their endeavors as others. Whether that's related more to lifestyle...because Obese people have less drive or something........I don't know, but I wouldn't doubt that there are higher instances of discrimination.
Translate that to the business world and I'll bet their is even more truth.

Let's face it. We are a society based on youth and beauty and although we say we value intelligence and wisdom.....Aesthetics is what we celebrate, like it or not.

linda22003
08-07-2008, 11:48 AM
I don't know if the obese have "less drive" but I would think it's inevitable that they have less energy. Any of us who have lost even ten pounds can attest to how much difference that makes in our energy levels. Now imagine if it has to be 50 punds, or 100, that need to be lost.