Outten & Golden: Empowering Employees in the Workplace

Weighty Matters

July 18th, 2011 | Bob Rosner

Image: Bob RosnerOkay, this one is a blinding glimpse of the obvious, we have bias against people who are overweight. That’s the boring part. But it gets interesting when it comes to how the bias is different for men and women.

A study by a University of Florida professor found that thinner women had a higher salary. And so did heavier men.

That was interesting enough. But the reason why thinner men earned less was fascinating. Thinner men are often seen as a pushover or nervous.

I didn’t see that one coming.

And I’ve heard that overweight women are seen as lacking discipline. Isn’t it amazing that we can judge the same thing, being overweight, so dramatically different for men and women?

We all know that men earn up to 25% more than women and that this gap has held relatively consistent through the years.

Here is my question, with all of us getting fatter, will this pay differential just keep growing along with our butts?

Call me old school, but I think that bias not only does exist, it should exist at work. But our bias should be focused on the quality of our contributions and not on the size of our bodies.

This sounds to some of you as naive and to others as utopian. But I see it differently. For anyone who is able to see past these biases, there are a large number of high performers who most people are overlooking, heavier women and thinner men.

Get behind these overlooked workers and you’ll pound the competition.

About the Author: Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning workplace911.com. Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, “The Boss’s Survival Guide.” If you have a question for Bob, contact him via bob@workplace911.com.

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