I read an article today that revealed a chilling insight into reality: attractive people are more successful at work.
The article said survey results indicated that people are perceived to be more competent at their jobs if they are attractive, and that ugly people are lazy and stupid. Okay, so the article used more politically-correct language, but that's what it was getting at.
I don't think it is any shock that the beautiful people get ahead in life faster than us average-looking folks, but it did get me thinking. Attractive by whose standards? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right? Well, then who is beholding us at work? And more importantly, how can we become more attractive to them?
Our entire society is built upon appearances. There are image consultants who make a living off of the concept that perception is reality, there are television shows dedicated to turning ugly ducklings into beautiful swans, and hoards of magazines promise us the secret to ageless beauty and sex appeal. A lot of people spend a lot of money to appear to be something they may not by purchasing expensive cars, homes, and clothes to create a certain image. Our economy depends on a certain level of vanity!
But is being aware of how appearance affects your success such a bad idea? I think there is truth to the adage that when you dress up and put some effort into your appearance, you feel better about yourself and as a result, perform better at work. Granted, there are a variety of ways we can define "effort" in this case. After all, you can spend a lot of time looking like you just got out of bed, but I don't think that's going to help you get a promotion. Unless you work for a bunch of college students.
I guess what I am trying to say is, no matter how evolved we think we are, appearance still counts, and I don't think that is a terrible thing. No, its not fair, but its true. But the good news is that research shows that while the beautiful and fabulous still end up getting the benefit of the doubt more than they might deserve it, most of being attractive to others at work is having a smile on your face. And maybe using some mousse. After all, if you want to win, you gotta play the game.
On a somewhat related note, I also read an article that said more Americans hate their jobs than ever before. I wonder if those people are ugly.