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Are Good Looks an Advantage or a Disadvantage at Work?

A lot of attractive people complain that people assume things about them without getting to know them. It’s assumed that they’re unintelligent, superficial, and even arrogant.

You’ve been given the gift of physical attractiveness, which has to mean you’re lacking in other areas. In the social world, you’re just the pretty boy or girl.

But does that perception carry over into the professional world? Is there a bias against people who are good-looking?

 

Green Without Envy
Economists Markus Mobius of Harvard University and Tanya Rosenblat of Wesleyan University did a study to see how looks affected the hiring process. They divided participants into five groups:

  • Two of the groups never saw a photo of the candidate or the candidates themselves
  • The other three either saw the candidate’s photograph or in-person.

The groups who saw the candidates were much more likely to hire the more attractive candidate, even though the less attractive candidate was just as qualified.

These employers predicted that the attractive candidates would be more productive, and would be rewarded for it with higher pay.

Even Greener Pastures
Daniel Hamermesh, an economist at the University of Texas, is one of the world’s foremost authorities on the economics of beauty. Dr. Hamermesh has focused on how beauty effects financial success in the workplace.

His research confirms the results of the study we just referenced – that beauty gains an advantage because the doors of opportunity open more frequently. So they make connections, learn skills, and grow professionally. Then they’re able to leverage that first opportunity into many more opportunities, which results in even higher pay.

He also offers little hope for the unattractive. His research has shown that spending money on things to enhance your looks is a waste. You’ll only get back about 15 cents in pay for ever dollar you spend.

Our bigg quote today is by an unknown author:

“We could learn a lot from crayons; some are sharp, some are pretty,
some are dull, while others bright, some have weird names,
but they all have learned to live together in the same box.”

The more colors you have, the more colorful your world can be.


Questions for you

Socially, we often hear pretty people complain that they’re discriminated against. But research seems to show that it works to their favor in the workplace.

From your experiences, do you think good looks are an advantage or a disadvantage?

Is there a difference between men and women? Are good looks more important in the workplace for men or for women?

How about age? Is this something you think affects young people more than older workers or vice versa?

What do you think of Dr. Hamermesh’s finding that it doesn’t pay to try to package yourself better? Do you think it makes a difference?

Share your thoughts by leaving a Comment.

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(Image by svilen001)

Women Can’t Win

According to Catalyst, an organization that studies women in the workplace, gender stereotypes still play a major role in how women are judged. If they act consistently with female stereotypes, their competence is questioned. But if their behavior is consistent with that of the stereotypical male, they’re viewed as being too tough.

Catalyst has done these studies all around the world. They’ve found that the characteristics of a good leader vary from region to region. But whatever is considered ideal, women fall short.

So it would seem that women can’t win.

We understand that you can’t change people’s perceptions. To be more direct, you can’t change bias that’s based on stereotypes. You can’t control anyone else.

So why worry about it? Focus on what you CAN control – how you conduct yourself and your business. You are the CEO of the most important organization in the world – YOU, Inc.

So today we’ll offer 3 tips to overcome stereotypes, gender-based or otherwise.

Tip #1 – Be yourself.
You can’t change opinions that can’t be changed. But if people like you, or at least respect you, you’ll succeed. So if you’re a nurturing person, nurture. If you’re assertive, be assertive.

Don’t try to please everybody. Don’t second guess who you are. Don’t try to become what someone else wants you to be. And don’t ever apologize for who you are.

Tip #2 – Promote yourself.

Make sure you’re getting the credit that you deserve. Don’t be so humble. Make sure you keep document what you’ve done. Make your boss aware of it. Then you’ll be in demand – with your current company or a new one.

Tip #3 – If all else fails, find a different workplace.
If your boss or your company isn’t supporting you, move on to a company that will. If you’re not completely ready, start making preparations. And that doesn’t have anything to do with preparation H! This isn’t an easy solution, but you have to go for what you want in life.

Tip #3B – Start your own business.
Create a workplace where you’d like to work. That’s the motivation for a lot of women starting a business. And women are starting businesses today at three times the rate of men.

Turning stereotypes upside down
Here’s something that we found very interesting – traits that are often viewed as negatives in the corporate world are being turned into advantages in the entrepreneurial world.

Margaret Heffernan wrote a great book, How She Does It: How Women Entrepreneurs Are Changing the Rules of Business. She says that female entrepreneurs emphasize values and relationships. They create a culture that includes employees, customers, and the community at large.

The result – they are building companies that last AND make a contribution. Doesn’t that sound like good leadership?

How have you beat stereotypes, gender or otherwise?
Share it with us by leaving a Comment below!

Our bigg quote is by Anonymous.

“Some leaders are born women.”

But no one is born a leader. You have to take action, but you can do it! After all, you’ve come a long way, baby!

Next time, we’ll sit down at the negotiating table for some delicious tips to negotiate your next deal. The women are having steak … the men are having quiche … how’s that for beating stereotypes?

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!