Starting a New Job After Gastric Bypass

Right at the end of November I started a new job. Technically this is the second time I’ve started a new job since my surgery but this time it was a completely different experience. Everyone would approach this in different ways but here’s how I dealt with it.

Last time I was only about three months post-op and my rapid weight loss was very much a topic of conversation I couldn’t avoid. This time though I was already at the maintenance part of this whole gig and most people I meet for the first time now just assume I’ve always been like this.

When it comes to telling a new or potential new employer about having had bariatric surgery that comes down to what you are comfortable with. I listed my blog as a skill on my CV because my new job is in the IT industry and I have gained skills from the technical and administrative side of blogging that were going to help my application. Of course if they had a look at the blog (which they did) it was no longer going to be a secret.

I would not necessarily be so upfront about it in all situations though. I’m very aware that some people choose not to talk about their bariatric surgery with close friends and family so certainly wouldn’t be telling an employer. As you can probably tell I’m an oversharer and wouldn’t have kept it secret forever blog or no blog.

In New Zealand you are not allowed to discriminate against people you are hiring based on all sorts of things (bariatric surgery would be one of those) I would still be wary being so upfront about it . There could be an element of doubt it introduces in some employers minds, maybe they might worry you will take extra sick days because they have no idea about it so I would take their lead and mention it when it seems appropriate. This could be during the interview process or after you have landed the job and started working.

Since the fact I had had a gastric bypass was pretty obvious from my initial application some of the people at my new work already knew about it. As it has come up with others I have mentioned it and talked to people about it. Of course the things I eat and how little I eat is often remarked upon so this is usually when it comes up. Where I work now is a pretty big company by NZ standards so I’m sure it’s a conversation I’ll be having on a semi regular basis.

The most entertaining thing now about telling people about my gastric bypass and how much weight I have lost is showing them the before photos of me. Most people don’t believe it’s even me and say they can’t imagine me like that. That’s honestly the best compliment and I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of hearing it.

The great thing about starting a new job as the newer, improved Melissa is that I haven’t had any of the uncomfortableness of being in my own skin like I had when I was overweight. The things I would have worried about before just aren’t there and it’s a freeing feeling not having those worries on my shoulders. It’s also giving me a whole new audience to share my experience with and hopefully help lessen stigma towards bariatric surgery when they see the reality of how it is necessary to live with.

When starting a new job the ball is in your court regarding when and even if you ever bring it up. If it’s advantageous to you to mention it in your application process go right ahead, if you think it may not be then hold off a bit. Only you will know when you feel ready and comfortable enough to start talking about it.

Have you started a new job since having bariatric surgery? When and even have you mentioned it to your new employer? (If you want to comment but don’t want your real name to show up make a name up to put in the box when you comment.)

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There are 4 comments for this article
  1. Gemma at 11:47 am

    This is cool Melissa! You’re delving into things that at (at least my) first thought don’t seem all that relevant, or just the small stuff of everyday life for most people, but it’s not that simple is it? I love that you’re making a record of all these experiences. Each bit is helping me think more deeply about what it’s going to be like after, and given I still haven’t decided about the extent I want to disclose, this is really useful. Thank you x

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 7:14 pm

      Thank you for your kind words Gemma! I do wonder at times if I’m going over stuff that’s going to bore people so I’m so glad to hear it was helpful. My gastric bypass has literally affected every single part of my life and while I wouldn’t have it any other way it’s something I have to think about and consider every single day. Thank you for reading my blog I really appreciate it!

      • Gemma at 12:26 pm

        Have got my Mum reading your blog now too – it’s helping her understand what it’s all about and she sent me a message today saying how great both the writing and your attitude is. I was meant to have surgery last week but got sick beforehand so it was postponed for 5 weeks. (Have to do the 2 weeks Optifast all over again yay!)

        • Melissa Peaks Author at 4:15 pm

          Oh wow, thank you for your great feedback! I’m glad I can help your mum understand it a little bit better too. My parents were really worried about me going through it so hopefully it helps put her mind at ease. That’s a shame your surgery got postponed but think of how much more of a head start you’re going to get doing another two weeks of Optifast.

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