Weight Talk, Business Travel Edition

I’ve been working with people in the UK and German offices of the company I work at since I started.  Now that I’m a manager, my boss mentioned that a trip to Germany for training may be in the works.

Fat woman with cellphone

Image courtesy of Rudd Image Gallery

…which would mean flying while 400lbs.

In the interest of being diplomatic, I expressed interest and pleasure that I would have an opportunity to meet the folks I correspond with and share my expertise. Then — in the interest of full disclosure — I brought up the possibility that an airline might require me to purchase a second seat if flying coach.  My primary concern was that this may happen while boarding, and could lead to delays if another seat isn’t available.  My boss said she understood that was the whim of airlines, not me, and that she would make sure the company paid for any such additional seat charges.  (She’s also thinking that it would be reasonable for to fly business or first class since the flight time would probably be over 12 hours.)

I am pleased that I did not get emotional. I stayed matter-of-fact and somewhat detached.  I was prepared to be told that this would be dealt with if it happened, or that this meant I would not be able to travel for business.

One side effect of being fat, for me, is that I don’t apply for jobs that I’m qualified for that require travel.  (Usually in the corporate training field, teaching programming or software usage.)  I don’t exactly feel this is a loss given the TSA and how airport air tends to affect my asthma, but I usually have lots of other jobs to apply for.  If I was in marketing, for example, business travel would be a much bigger deal for me.

8 thoughts on “Weight Talk, Business Travel Edition

  1. You are really blessed to have a good, understanding boss concerning your weight. One time when I was talking to the boss, she commented she had just hired “another fatty”. I was at that time around 280 pounds. I was not happy. She had been quite heavy and lost a lot of weight at that time and was evidently overly proud of herself. You know, the pride goth before the fall thing? She gained it all back AND THEN SOME.

  2. Wow. It is heartening to hear that you had this discussion with a good result.

    I am that fatty in sales and marketing, and air travel is definitely a requirement of my job. I do fit in one seat, but sometimes just barely, and live in the land where travel on Southwest is king. I HAVE had the discussion about why I won’t travel Southwest, and framed it in terms of productivity and long term cost-effectiveness (i.e.; don’t want to waste time being grounded by vague policies).

    I’m impressed at your ability to have this conversation with management without undue drama. It’s a situation that is fraught for me, for sure.

    Interesting also to hear comments about former fatty bosses. Grr. I’ve had this come up in terms of the dreaded “appropriate dress” comments. Why YES, I WILL wear a (silk, professional, modest) tank top for a Saturday non-customer ‘business casual’ workday in the summer, thank you very much.

    I am a staunch HAES advocate, but not so out about it at work. Phyllis’ comment about gaining it back hits home for me. Once in a while I have vague thoughts about ‘reducing’ so I can fit on airplanes. Then I remember I am one bounce back away from NOT fitting at all. Which would have me re-training for a new career after 25+ years of success at this one. Yuck.

    Thanks for inspiring me!

    • Before I retired I sometimes had to fly for work, I usually bought two seats and my boss was very accommodating. Southwest has been okay for me, I always made sure to have copies of both boarding passes because I turned in both originals as I board and then I can show the copies to show to anyone who tried to take my second seat. I’ve been lucky though because many times my destination was somewhere I could drive in less than a day so I rented a car and avoided the air hassle entirely.

      When I fly with my husband though I can overflow onto part of his seat and he never objects. :D

  3. I’m so glad your boss is not a fat hater. I find it so sad that fat discrimination is legal, so many companies can be awful about this. May I ask what branch of IT you work in? Also, were you good at maths in school? I am wondering if maths is necessary for an IT career. I’d say it is…

  4. Pingback: Friday links, 3/29/13 | Tutus And Tiny Hats

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