A Nip, a Tuck and a Promotion
Plastic Surgery Options Give Execs the Competitive Edge
By Carolyn Campbell
June 2, 2009
Amy Fuller wanted to earn more money in her finance position at a leading national bank, so she had gastric bypass surgery, a circumvential abdominoplasty and a breast lift. And her salary at the bank doubled.
“Before my transformation, doors weren’t being held open for me. I suffered from the taboo of being overweight and didn’t appear to be a confident person,” she says. “When you are in the running for a job and the other candidates happen to be cute, thin and current, their chances are higher.”
Following her bypass surgery, Fuller visited plastic surgeon Dr. J. Gregory Kjar in Bountiful, Utah. She told him, “I want you to make my outsides match my insides.” Looking back, she recalls, “After plastic surgery, I got exactly the result I wanted.”
A Money-making Decision?
Salt Lake plastic surgeon Dr. David Thomas agrees that some people often choose plastic surgery to maintain an appearance of being alert and engaged on the job. “With age, it’s possible to look a little more tired. Maintaining a body contour adds to a business person’s self-confidence when they walk into a room,” he says.
Kjar adds that it also has to do with maintaining their rank. “They want to stay sharp and have their looks remain competitive with younger people who are coming in to challenge their authority.”
A telephone survey of 756 women by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) shows those between the ages of 18 and 64 believe cosmetic plastic surgery procedures are an important rung on the success ladder. Since the start of the recession, 13 percent of the women surveyed would consider having a cosmetic procedure to increase their perceived workplace value. Another 3 percent indicated they had already had a procedure for that reason and 73 percent believe that, particularly in these challenging economic times, appearance and youthful looks play a part in being hired, receiving a promotion or acquiring new clients.
But women aren’t the only ones worrying about their looks and how it affects their careers. Thomas says more men are undergoing cosmetic procedures. “They are concerned about their job futures and their professional longevity.” Typical male patients are often in their 40s and are looking to work into their 60s.
Thomas explains that everyone ages differently. “Looking around a room, you will see that some people have heavy eyelids and others have sagging in the neck that could be improved,” he says.
Before Going Under the Knife
When considering cosmetic surgery, Thomas suggests researching the different procedures on the Internet. “Once you’ve acquired general information, you’ll realize that most online sources have a little bit of a marketing aspect,” he says. “To get a true feeling for what might be appropriate and what risk you are assuming, it’s important to seek an in-person consultation.”
Kjar and Thomas recommend choosing a doctor who is board certified in plastic surgery. Also, The American Society of Plastic Surgeons suggests checking credentials such as training, hospital privileges and professional societies. Once the search is narrowed to two or three surgeons, visit those doctors for a personal consultation, keeping in mind that you may need to pay for the consultation whether or not you choose that particular surgeon.
On the patient’s part, surgeons re-commend that patients be as physically fit and as closely within normal weight range as possible to assure both safety and positive results. That’s important, they say, since any procedure involves both benefit and risk.
“Every procedure requires recovery time, says Thomas. “Although the risk can be minimal in a healthy individual, a doctor who tells you that a procedure is risk-free isn’t being straight with you.” He also says that recovery time can vary, both because of the individual’s physical health and because of his job title. “After liposuction on Thursday, a person could be back to work on Monday. Someone working from home might return to the task in 48 hours, while a person who requires a face-to-face meeting may want to wait longer.”
Fuller says that potential surgery candidates need to keep in mind that in many cases such as hers, cosmetic surgery doesn’t qualify for medical leave. “I had to take vacation time, which ate up all my chances for a vacation that year.” Also, insurance did not pay for her procedure. “I paid out of pocket. It also wasn’t easy on my time—I have two small children and was stuck in bed for five days,” she says. “Still, the change was worth it. I would definitely do it again.”