Sunday, August 25, 2013


Tam observed that she encountered the size "0X" recently at Kohl's.  I have seen this size as well, and I wondered whether it existed to cater to people with plus-sized proportions who are a bit too small to fit into plus-sized clothes.  I did some investigation on the Kohl's web site and this is what I found.

Plus sizes:
The size 0X is the same as 14W. 
1X is the same as 16W/18W.

Straight sizes:
The size L is the same as 12/14 or 14/16, depending on the brand.
XL is the same as 16/18 or 18, depending on the brand.

In shirts, plus sizes (indicated by W) are designed for a larger bust measurement than straight sizes.  For example, a 16 is 41" but a 16W is 44".  I assume that this means that the overall proportions of the shirt are different, with a roomier bust area but a fit in the area above the bust that is similar to a size 16 -- so that women with a relatively large bust size for their overall frame can find something that fits both.  A woman with a 44" bust could size up to a size 20 in straight sizes instead, but would probably find that the shoulders are too wide, it gapes around the neckline, etc.

This suggests that a woman with a relatively large bust, who also has a somewhat large frame, might find that W sized shirts fit better than the straight sized ones.

In bottoms, plus sizes seem overall larger, with both waist and hip measures being bigger than the corresponding straight sizes.  For example, a 16 is for 33" waist and 43.5" hip, but a 16W is for a 39" waist and a 47" hip.  But the interesting thing is in the proportions.  Plus sizes are clearly for those with a more apple shape (i.e., a higher waist to hip ratio).  The 16 is for a waist to hip ratio of .76 and the 16W is for a waist to hip ratio of .83.  The plus sizes are also shorter in the inseam than the straight sizes by 1" (30" vs. 31").  A woman with 47" hips could pick either a size 16W for a 39" waist (and 47" hips) or a size 20 with a 37" waist (and 47.5" hips).

I also checked the size charts for Lane Bryant and found that their size 16 bottoms fits in between Kohl's size 16 and 16W:
K 16 = 33 / 43.5, LB 16 = 36 / 44, K 16W = 39 / 47.
However, the Lane Bryant has a waist to hip ratio (.82) that is closer to the K 16W (.83) than the K 16 (.76).  So it appears that perhaps there is a systematic difference between plus and straight sizes in the waist to hip proportions.  (I am not quite interested enough in establishing this to check out other sizing charts and see if this pattern holds.)

Friday, August 23, 2013

Job Titles

One thing I like about getting automatic job alerts from the job listing sites I'm signed up with is seeing the sometimes very inappropriate jobs that they send me as matching my (general) criteria.  Today I thought, nope, I'm not going to be an Accountant III, a Checkpoint UTM + Firewall Analyst, a Solid Waste Agency Administrator, a Research and Design Engineer, a Linux/UNIX Administrator, a Health Improvement Health Coach, a Public Relations Intern, or an Endocrinologist (to name a few).

Another thing that cracks me up is some of the job titles.  Sometimes this is because of the fancied up language they use (e.g., it seems like everybody is an "analyst" these days, even if they're working for minimum wage), but even better is when there is just something sort of inherently goofball about the job when they describe it straightforwardly.  For example, this one I encountered today was priceless: 

Sales Account Manager Pasta and Extruded Products

Note that it requires you to have industry, technical, and sales knowledge of extrusion.  I guess that one isn't gonna work for me.  (I do know what extrusion is in the context of commercial food production, but that's it.)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Bigotry and Hypocrisy

I liked this takedown of a recent Facebook meme put together by a gay rights activist.  The meme intends to point up the hypocrisy of those (on the Christian right) who claim that being fat is genetic but being gay is a choice and features a photo of a headless obese person sitting on a too-small, poorly-Photoshopped Chik-Fil-A chair.  (If you want to see the original image and comments, she posts the link at the bottom of her blog entry.)

I have seen memes making the same basic point on FB before -- unfortunately in some cases re-posted or liked by my FB friends -- and I find them pretty disgusting.  This one is particularly idiotic because it makes some specific claims that Chik-Fil-A people (executives/employees/customers?) hold the belief that being fat is genetic, which is not something I've ever heard in all the media thrashing around the Chik-Fil-A stuff.  (And leaving these Chik-Fil-A people out of the picture, it's not like 100% of anti-gay Christians, or even 100% of anti-gay, personally fat Christians believe that being fat is genetic either, but...OK, whatever.)

But even in the more generic cases than this one, it's clearly a weird "fighting bigotry with more bigotry" approach that is stupid and offensive.  Whatever the creators/supporters of these memes might claim, they are clearly using a photo of an obese person to trigger a disgust reaction and to associate the anti-gay position with those disgusting individuals.  I mean, why include a photo of a fat person in the ad at all if not to create an emotional response? 

Ragen takes the whole "but no it's not really fat bigotry because we're talking about hypocrisy" thing apart very well, but I want to focus on a particular aspect of this meme and related memes that pop up frequently, especially on the political left: the idea that hypocrisy is the ultimate bad (and that once a person has been shown to be a hypocrite, their positions/arguments are invalid).

By making hypocrisy the focal point of this activism, I think they're doing everyone a disservice.  The issue is not that intolerant Christians are wrong because they simultaneously think being gay is a choice (and that gay people are morally bad and deserve to have their rights trampled on) and being fat is not a choice (and that fat people are morally neutral and don't deserve to have their rights trampled on).  They are wrong because thinking that gay people deserve to have their rights trampled on is wrong.  Whether being gay is "genetic" or "chosen" (that popular false dichotomy) doesn't come into it.  The hypocrisy aspect really doesn't come into it.

In fact, what if Christians decided to get serious about all kinds of sin, not just those sins they do not themselves feel tempted to commit?  What if they decided that anybody who is fat is guilty of the sin of gluttony and deserves to have their rights trampled on?  Fat Christians start feeling shameful and guilty and full of self-hatred while their thinner counterparts lambaste them and all other fat people from a position of moral superiority.  Well now Christians are not being hypocrites, so I guess this position is perfectly a-okay.  Except of course it's not.  "Fixing" the hypocrisy in this matter just means more bigotry, more rights violations, less freedom, less dignity, etc.  It's clearly worse to have members of groups X and Y discriminated against than just group X.  I am reminded of the old joke, "I'm not prejudiced; I hate all minorities."  Is this the direction anybody wants this thing to go?

Also, is it just me or is this a kind of weird example of hypocrisy anyway?  I agree that it's fucked up that anti-gay Christians have latched onto the single sin that they themselves are (for the most part -- obviously there are gay Christians who are anti-gay) not going to commit as some kind of serious thing that needs to be addressed, while considering their own sins less significant.  Certainly the idea that fat is genetic but gay is chosen is a belief of convenience.  And it does seem to be factually wrong.  But is it actually hypocritical?  Having self-serving beliefs is not the same thing as being hypocritical.  Having a set of values that you do not yourself live up to is also not hypocritical -- that could be just a natural consequence of having a moral reach that exceeds your grasp.  But if we want to redefine hypocrisy to mean having self-serving beliefs and not living up to your own standards of ethical behavior all the time, then every single human being is a hypocrite -- including anyone who creates or promulgates these fat/gay memes -- so now what?  I guess we might as well pack up and go home because nobody has a leg left to stand on.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

HR Screener Interviews

I've had 2 of the preliminary HR screener interviews this week -- they both went well.  (Of course, I think the options for an HR screener are "went well" and "bombed" so I'm not sure that's saying much.)  Anyway, I'm hopeful that one of these will turn into an interview with the hiring manager.

After doing the one this morning, I'm feeling strangely high...and no, I haven't even had any caffeinated tea this morning.  I guess I'm "high on the recognition that I sound like a pretty kick-ass job candidate."

Friday, August 16, 2013

Keeping Score

24 job applications

2 rejections

3 phone interview requests (one of these I turned down once I did some internet research on the company and realized that medical devices = squicky)

So far, so good.

Bunny Sizing

J. Crew is getting me where it ... well, not hurts, more like melts into a puddle ... with this bunnified cuteness.

I think I like the 2 bunny version best.

UPDATE:  Though on behalf of Flemish giants everywhere, I do have to point out that it all depends on the size of the bunny...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

First Contact

Not with aliens...I got my first response to a job application and am scheduling a phone interview.  I'm happy to see something starting.

Monday, August 12, 2013

An Update

My job search continues.  I've applied for another 7 jobs and have identified more that I can or will apply for in the next few days.  A real stumbling block for me has been working on my accomplishment stories -- for whatever reason, I dread working on them and have been procrastinating on them badly.  But I sort of broke the ice with that today, and I hope to keep working on them this week as well as continuing to apply for open positions.

The only thing I've heard back so far is one swift rejection for a job that I was genuinely overqualified for, so that's no heartbreak.  A couple of the jobs I have the highest hopes for have not closed yet, so there's still a chance with them.  Of course, there's a chance with any of the ones I haven't heard back from, but in general, I view the probability of hearing back with a phone interview for any given job at very close to zero.  Despite this assessment, and the fact that I am not in any dire need of a job immediately (and in some ways I'm in no big hurry to start working again), I still feel a bit of anxiety around the whole thing.  In part, this is because I recognize that I'm not quite the completely stellar applicant I've been in the past -- I have a lot of professional experience, but it could be viewed as out-of-date because I've been in school so long.  I feel this puts in me in a kind of weird position where I could be viewed as a weak or average candidate for jobs that are at the level my years of experience would suggest but overqualified for jobs at a somewhat lower level.

One thing I did this weekend was read up a bit online on what to do when you think you are being dinged as overqualified for jobs you're applying for, and I'm now trying to tailor my resume a bit better for these positions.  I can't really do anything about my education experience, though -- even if one doesn't feel it's somewhat dishonest to not include it on the resume, in my case, I look really strange on paper if I don't include it.  I mean, if I were looking at my resume, knowing that I am a woman, I would assume from the gap between my last professional job and now that I had a baby and am now going back to work again because my kid's old enough to be entering kindergarten.  I can't see how exchanging "This woman looks a bit intimidatingly over-educated for this position" for "This woman has a young child at home and is re-entering the workforce after a few years of changing diapers" is an improvement.

In any event, it's fortunate that I am not desperate for a job.  This gives me some time to try different approaches with my resume and if applying cold to open positions doesn't seem to be working out for me (it always has in the past, but I was a stronger, more straightforward applicant on paper back then), I'll try something else...even the dreaded "networking" approach that is apparently how about 70% of jobs are filled.

One positive note -- I found out that my last employer is going to have a job opening this fall again and I've been asked if I'm interested in moving back to Texas for it.  Though that's not going to happen, it was nice to know that at least somebody thinks I'm worth employing.  Now if I can get someone who hasn't already worked with me before to think so.

Also:  I had the very strange experience of seeing on one of my job alert lists a job at Robert's employer that sounded like something people in his group do.  I asked him about it tonight and he was like, Oh yeah, I'm going to be hiring a new person to report to me -- I put the listing up on Friday.  I was genuinely surprised that with all the job search talk going on in our house, he never mentioned this to me, and I teased him about how awkward it would have been if I'd applied for that job.  He says that the divide for him between his work and home life is so stark that these things just don't ever occur to him to mention when he's at home.  But that's cool -- at least he tells me about the really important things, like that a co-worker had some baseball tickets for Thursday's game that he's not using and that he gave to Robert.  Excellent!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Done for Now

I have applied to 8 jobs today.  I think it's time to call it a night and settle down with an episode of Fringe.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

More Anti-Academia Goodtime Rants

Courtesy of Tam: check these excellent rants out.

This response to the second writer's famous anti-grad school Slate rant kind of makes me irritated.  The guy's an anthropologist, but probably could have benefited from taking a few social psychology courses along the way.  When an environment is as toxic as grad school/academia generally is, and the socialization pressure is as strong as it is, it's really not kosher (nor fair nor other humane qualities) to blame people for being successfully socialized and hence being fucked up by their experiences.  I mean, it's great that this writer hasn't had this kind of experience, and maybe that's because his program is different, or he is kind of clueless about social norms, or his gratifying work advancing people's rights in foreign countries gives him partial immunity to it.  But his experience (esp. the part about doing something meaningful to help advance the lot of needy people in a direct way) is really not what most grad students/junior faculty experience.  It's like, great, you're an anomaly.  BFD.  Your personal experience does not negate the personal experiences of all these other people.

And of course, I get mad when I read about people in academia who talk about how much work/life balance they have, and how they have kept up with all kinds of outside activities, and if you haven't, then it's your own damn fault.  Um, seriously, that is not an option for a lot of people.  I would not have been able to live that kind of lifestyle and be allowed to even stay in my program.  Perhaps my own program was extreme in this regard, but that pressure and the threat (implied or explicit) is, I think, present in most programs.