Obesity can be just as crippling as an illness. It can interfere with your life and your ability to work. On top of that, you may have to deal with workplace fat-shaming. Preserve your health and dignity by discovering the best jobs for obese people and the jobs you're better off avoiding.
WORST WORK CONDITIONS FOR OBESE PEOPLE
Let's face it, many offices don't accommodate obese people. Some employers aren't very sympathetic to those they typecast as lazy, sloppy, unattractive or weak-willed. Here are toxic work conditions you should beware of:
Jobs That Require You to Stand on Your Feet
When you're obese, the extra weight can strain your muscles and joints and wreak havoc on your feet. In turn, you'll lose time on the job if you have to take sick days. [source] This could lead to a vicious cycle of pain, time off, pain, time off that may cost you your job. You could also suffer permanent injuries from pushing your body beyond its limits.
Jobs That Require Exertion
Obesity can cause shortness of breath because the extra weight in the chest and abdomen intensifies the work breathing muscles must do. [source] You'll want to avoid strenuous jobs that require bending, lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling.
Jobs with a Strict Dress Code
It may be hard to find clothes in larger sizes, let alone ones that fit properly. If men and women are required to wear traditional clothing such as suits, it could be daunting to find something that's appropriate, stylish, and fits well.
Besides money spent on the outfit, obese people may need to spend more money getting their clothing tailored to fit. A company that enforces a strict code, even if the obese person doesn't interact with clients, is one to avoid.
Jobs with a Long Commute
A long commute can be disastrous if you're overweight. In a rush to get on the road, you may skip breakfast and grab some fast food, which is saturated in sugar, salt, and fat. On top of that, you'll rack up more time sitting down, in addition to the time you'll sit at work. People who commute more than 15 miles to work have a greater likelihood of remaining overweight. [source]
Jobs That Pay a Lower Salary to People Who Are Obese
These are companies that pay a lower salary to obese people, particularly women, than their slender counterparts, even if they're far more qualified. [source] Weight also affects whether a woman gets promoted, which is blatant discrimination. Degrading treatment may also cause obese people to "emotionally eat" and put on more weight.
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BEST WORK CONDITIONS FOR OBESE PEOPLE
Luckily, there are work environments where an obese person can feel appreciated and nurtured. These are jobs where you can be comfortable just as you are:
Companies with Sympathetic Management
One of the best workplaces for obese people is an office that has compassionate management. To them, your weight has nothing to do with your work. They don't think you're lazy, stupid, unclean, ugly or weak. Instead, they recognize you as someone who contributes to the advancement of the company. If you make a mistake, they don't blame it on how many calories you eat.
They also pay you appropriately for your skillset, and never underpay you because of your size.
A good organization also raises its employees' awareness about the ethical treatment of minorities, including people who are overweight.
Companies That Provide Healthy Snacks
Forward-thinking companies have swapped vending machines filled with nutritional nightmares for healthy alternatives. These machines contain fruit, trail mix, salads, raisins, whole-grain crackers and more. They also provide bottles of fresh water instead of sugar-glutted soda.
Moreover, healthy vending machines could save you in a stressful moment where you'd normally reach for junk food.
Companies That Have Several Obese Employees
Even if you're employed by the best boss in the world, it's comforting to have others at work who grapple with the same issue, especially if you're self-conscious about your weight. You can be supportive of each other, and you may develop friendships that flourish outside of work, as well.
Companies That Welcome Employee Feedback
When you're obese, you may feel as if you and your opinions don't matter. If a boss welcomes – and implements – your suggestions, your self-worth will get a boost. This is especially true if a high-ranking executive, such as the CEO, embraces employees' ideas.
TIPS TO HELP OBESE PEOPLE GET THROUGH THE WORKDAY
There are many ways obese people can take their health into their own hands to make their workday as pleasant as possible. Here are some simple and easy tips to incorporate into your day:
WORST JOBS FOR OBESE PEOPLE
A job takes up a lot of your life, so it's no use subjecting yourself to one that makes you feel horrible. For your peace of mind, avoid these jobs that can take a toll on obese people:
- Long-distance truck driver – Long-distance truck drivers may be on the road for days, weeks or even months. They're permitted to rack up no more than 11 hours of driving time per day, but that's still quite a long stretch. [source] Not counting sleeping and brief bathroom and shower breaks, sitting is their only activity.
Moreover, you can forget about eating healthy. The only way your truck makes money is when it moves, which means you'll grab fast food and plunk it right back down in your seat. It can be worse if you're female: a paltry 6.6 percent of truckers are women. [source] Combined with obesity, this is the perfect storm for harassment.
- Server – Many obese people don't have the endurance to run quickly from table to table, and they easily become winded. Add the strain of carrying heavy trays of food all day, which can deplete you even more. There's also the strain it inflicts on muscles and joints. Servers spend only 1.7 percent of the day sitting, so it's definitely a risky job if you're overweight. [source]
- Hairdresser – Standing incessantly in one place all day, five days a week, can be strenuous even for thin people. Add excessive weight to the picture, and it can be torture for someone who's obese. On top of that, you must be able to pleasantly chat with your customers, and it's very difficult to pull this off if you're in pain.
Other jobs to avoid because you're rarely off your feet include bank teller, cashier, and dental hygienist.
- Daycare worker – As a daycare worker, you'll be chasing kids, picking up kids, playing with kids, crawling around trying to find lost toys and sitting on the floor (as well as having to struggle to get back on your feet). This job is hard on just about every obese person's body: lungs, bones, and muscles. You're better off avoiding it.
BEST JOBS FOR OBESE PEOPLE
Don't be discouraged, though. There are many jobs where you can thrive, and where you'll be appreciated for who you are, instead of how much you weigh:
- Actor – Acting welcomes all body types. Along with roles for skinny people, there are just as many for people who are overweight. Want proof? Just look at Melissa McCarthy, Chris Farley, John Candy, and Rebel Wilson. Being fat never stopped directors from casting them. In fact, Wilson says that getting fat led to her Hollywood success! And if you're not ready for the big-time yet, you can begin by acting in commercials, local programs or other opportunities.
- Plus-size catalog model – The modeling world has become very progressive and no longer expects female models to be paper-thin. They now embrace overweight models, called plus-size models, and cast people with this body type in a positive light. [source]
Plus sizes used to be frumpy and unstylish, but this career will allow you the opportunity to experience wearing chic, fashionable clothes and feel good about your body. You may want to try catalog modeling as an excellent starting point. [source]
- Pet sitter – While the word "sit" is in the title, that's not all you'll be doing as a pet sitter. You'll be able to be active without running yourself ragged. Walking dogs, playing with cats, feeding birds, and maybe caring for the occasional iguana or turtle (okay, and cleaning litter boxes) are activities well-suited for someone who's obese. Knowing pet first aid and CPR will make you an even more valuable sitter.
- Food critic – This is a job that lets you – and others – embrace your size. Since your job is eating food, there's no stigma in being overweight. Besides sampling meals, you'll spend time researching cuisines, interviewing chefs and other food industry professionals, and writing. You'll learn about new foods and cultures and get to check out a wide variety of eating establishments, from linen-napkin restaurants to diners to mom and pop sandwich shops.
- Guidance counselor – Besides providing academic guidance and counseling, you can help kids develop a positive attitude toward minorities. You can also help kids who are bullied. Your guidance will be authentic since you are a minority yourself. It will also resonate because you can tell them true stories about how you got mistreated because of your size. You can help students go into the world with compassion and an open mind.
- Survey taking – One of the best and easiest ways to make money online is by taking paid surveys. You merely give your opinions about products, ads, services and more, and get paid. This gives companies feedback about how they can change or improve their products.
Simply sign up by providing your profile, and you'll be emailed surveys compatible with you and your demographic. You can register with as many companies as you'd like. My favorites include Swagbucks, Pinecone Research, and Panda Research. Survey-taking is ideal if you're obese because you get to work from home, wear comfortable clothes, do things at your own pace and not have to worry about a fatphobic boss.
To learn more about survey taking, check out my dedicated guide here.
- Affiliate marketing – Affiliate marketing is also a fantastic money-making option for overweight people. Everything's done online, from the comfort of home, any time of day or night. Say goodbye to enduring a toxic workplace.
With affiliate marketing, you simply earn commissions by marketing a person's or business' products. Just set up a website or blog containing a link to the merchandise. When someone clicks on the link and buys the product, you earn a commission. Affiliate marketing can be a great source of passive income once it's established.
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"Obese" doesn't equate to "unemployable." Your size has nothing to do with your intelligence, competence or professionalism. There are job options for people who are overweight. And you don't have to step on a scale to get one.
NOW IT'S YOUR TURN!
What jobs for obese people would you recommend? What challenges have you faced in the workplace before? Leave your comments below!