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  1. #1

    Physical attractiveness at work

    Have you seen blatant examples of your employer hiring people strictly based on physical attractiveness with little or no regard for qualifications?

    One of most important characteristics for success is confidence. Attractive people can have more confidence because they are less likely to be rejected and are often presumed to be more competent. With a strong sense of accomplishment, their confidence is reinforced.

    I cannot rule out that my average looks are a factor in my disappointing work life.

  2. #2
    Looks are important, but I think even more important at work is "playing the game" - that usually includes kissing ass, going to happy hours, etc. I'm terrible at playing the game simply because I don't choose to play it. Has it held me back in my career? Absolutely. I just feel like your work should speak for itself. This isn't high school - it shouldn't be a popularity contest but unfortunately it is. So yes looks are certainly one thing that can get you ahead (esp as a girl)

  3. #3
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    Its not about it being like high school----its about being part of a team and bonding with that team.

    If things go on that your entire group go to and you don’t, you’re seen as someone who doesn’t participate----that also means maybe not being considered to be part of a project----and also, doing those team building things outside of work, get people to know you on another level----see how well rounded you are-----also gets your face and name out there----as at least here, higher ups will show---and you can talk to them about work stuff in a more relaxed setting-----which gets your name out there, and might have them consider you for a special project or promotion BASED on that casual conversation----maybe something you did in a past career comes up-----or some new system you’ve worked on to make yourself more efficient.

    You don’t have to ‘like’ it, but going out once in awhile, or grabbing lunch with someone you look up to in the company is just smart PR for YOURSELF, but also to not just be a shadow.

    As for the attractiveness thing…..
    There are always going to be good looking people, medium looking people and people who aren’t that attractive.

    Wherever you land----there will always be someone more attractive, less attractive and more medium attractive than you----so you’re never on top, on the bottom or only in the middle.

    Confidence doesn’t come from being attractive, it comes from knowing your stuff and knowing that who you ARE speaks for itself.
    If its really that difficult, pretend you’re talking to the person on the phone----then they cant see you, they can only base things on what you say.
    So take that idea----and use it when you’re sitting with someone…use your language skills to paint the picture you want them to see----use that confidence in what you say….to sound and BE confident.

    Also----be sure you’re in clothes that you feel good in….anything scratchy, uncomfy….too tight….or that you feel that you don’t look good in----wont help you appear confident, no matter where you fall on the attractive scale…..

  4. #4
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    No. Good looks do not really get you anywhere if your code doesn't validate in my industry. Of course, personality is important, and people with bad attitudes usually get found out eventually. Unfortunately, they are sometimes allowed to stay in positions where they damage morale far longer than they should. In other industries, it might be different though. I have read studies indicating a man's handsomeness, height, and whether he has a full head of hair or not affects how much he earns and how far up the ladder he can climb, but most of those studies tend to focus on corporate/finance careers, which I don't know much about.

    I agree it's important to be good at teamwork. However, many people also want to keep their work and personal lives separate, and I totally respect that as well. While I participate in events and happy hours, other things, like Facebook or the details of my relationship, are off-limits. Some people will take offense if they're not allowed access to every moment of your time off the clock or you don't want to become their best buddies outside of work. I tend to see that as their issue. I think it's honestly wise to protect yourself and not get too personal at work. It's a fine line to walk between keeping it professional and being a good team player, but erring too far on the personal side of the line can cost you professional respect up to and including your job.
    "Whatever dramas are going on in my life, I always find that place inside my head where I see myself as the cleanest, tallest, strongest, wisest person that I can be." –L. Staley

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  5. #5
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    On very rare occasions, the thought has crossed my mind, however, I work in a field that looks are not going to get you anywhere. What I do is very stressful and really requires a lot of common sense, resourcefulness and overall ability to be able to work independently.

    If you do not have these things, you either quit or end up getting fired.

    If anything, really good looking people are often given a harder time from some of our "clientele" because of the clients own issues. I have seen this especially with some of the female clients around younger, female staff.

    JMO, of course .

    ETA: We rarely blend work and personal. It's a fine line, especially working in health care/social services. Not to sound snarky, but most of us really don't have that much free time to go out for long lunches, or drinking after work. Self-included. The majority of people I work with are either in positions that require them to put in a ton of hours or they have their own families so after the work day, are on to that. I also know work has recently created a FB policy where the higher ups are not allowed to befriend their staff on that site.
    Last edited by winneythepooh7; 11-15-2011 at 06:26 AM.

  6. #6
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    Gemma---
    I see where you’re coming from about keeping a line at work about how much personal information you’ll share.

    But----going out for the occasional happy hour, can be a good networking opportunity. It doesn’t become a ‘step out of the office and share everything personal due to change of walls’ scenario.
    Its up to you how much personal information you want to share---

    But I have a hard time thinking that sitting somewhere over lunch or after work with co-workers, and potentially managers and higher ups, and keeping your conversation to non personal things----like the art exhibit you took in last weekend, or how you went on a canoe trip over the summer, could HURT your career.
    Those little anicdodes are the things that let people feel connected to you-----see you in a new, well rounded light, and sometimes show skills that might be good on a certain project that people you work with wouldn’t know from just what you do day to day.

    Just because you talk about your canoe trip, doesn’t mean you have to share who you went with…..or how you got drunk one night while on it, or how you had some random canoe over night trip romance with the camp set up next to you------you can keep all that to yourself----as you said----keeping a line.

    As for myself----I don’t go into every detail, but I share what I did on the weekend….what my friends are into----experiences Ive had, places Ive gone----and my cube is PLASTERED with pictures of my friends out and about doing various things, as well as pictures of places Ive traveled and love (my inspiration for work)
    People come by and ask questions….and we swap stories----and what Ive found, is when I need help…these people are happy to lend a hand…..and also share a joke, or something going on with them.
    I like work to be friendly----so while I might not share that I had one too many on Saturday night, or the fight my BF and I got into-----I don’t leave out that I had an amazing time with friends on Saturday night or that I even have a BF.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by HDC80 View Post
    But----going out for the occasional happy hour, can be a good networking opportunity. It doesn’t become a ‘step out of the office and share everything personal due to change of walls’ scenario.
    Its up to you how much personal information you want to share---

    .
    Yeah but here's the point. If I'm a good worker and I'm friendly and "normal" to people at work, why do I have to go that extra mile and socialize at happy hours, etc just to get ahead. To be honest, you should already have at least somewhat of a social life outside of work anyway, so why turn down other plans to hang out with coworkers who you have to see 8 hours every day. If someone chooses to forego doing those types of social things that shouldn't affect getting ahead at your job.

  8. #8
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    Nothingness---
    Your response is VERY telling....
    Its going that extra mile that shows you're interested in more than just the 8 hours a day.
    No you shouldnt abandon other commitments or previously arranged plans, but once in awhile, going when asked to join shows you are part of the team.

    As I stated in my last post----if you're not openly talking about going on a canoe trip, or the art exhibit that you attened over the weekend during work hours----then happy hour or an outside of work event might bring those topics up----

    It might not forego you're getting ahead, but you will be seen as someoen who only goes to work for the designated hours, and that can come across like you dont care and arent invested.

    You might not like it----but its also part of being involved in the company culture.
    Some companies dont engage in get togethers outside of work, that is their office culture. If you are in an office that does, and its part of the office culture, its best to suck it up occasionally and participate.

    Some people dont like wearing suits or having to dress up for work but they do because of the company culture....some people dont like how casual their offices are.....some offices people have lunch together, in others people eat alone at their desks and work through.

    All I can say is that if you dont like it and think your work should speak for itself, be sure you're in a company where that is the culture----otherwise you might find it VERY hard to get ahead.....and you might just be a shadow in your office----the work gets done, but no one knows about the person behind the work.......

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by HDC80 View Post
    Nothingness---
    Your response is VERY telling....
    Its going that extra mile that shows you're interested in more than just the 8 hours a day.
    No you shouldnt abandon other commitments or previously arranged plans, but once in awhile, going when asked to join shows you are part of the team.
    This is slightly OT, but some of the best experiences I've had were hanging out with coworkers off-hours. My last job, I was about the only white guy there, and I learned a lot about race from hanging out with my black coworkers outside of the office. It was a great experience and I wish I still had that.

    Paul
    I've always been different, with one foot over the line
    Winding up somewhere one step ahead or behind
    It ain't been so easy, but I guess I shouldn't complain
    I've always been crazy, but it's kept me from going insane

    I've always been crazy, but it's kept me from going insane
    Nobody knows if it's something to bless or to blame
    So far, I ain't found a rhyme or a reason to change
    I've always been crazy, but it's kept me from going insane

    I've Always Been Crazy, Waylon Jennings (1978)

  10. #10
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    I don't think physical attractiveness is a major determination. Recently, I had the opportunity to be on the other side (to interview candidates). We do have client-facing work, so the candidates can't come in dressed in a sloppy way (especially when they come to an interview).

    As long as they are presentable, I think we care more about their actual skills and fit with the position more than anything else.

    Having confidence is great; being overly cocky is not.


    At my last workplace, networking is important. Since I was never a fan of the happy hours (where lots of drinking were involved), it did work against me on some levels in terms of getting information. At my current workplace, I go occasionally these days because I work with people I get along and want to hang out with, so I participate (they are all kind of dorky, like me, which is perfect) .

    And it's great in that sense because I don't feel like I have to go "to get ahead"; I just enjoy the company.

  11. #11
    personally i dont think i'd enjoy working for a place where people didnt at least want to have some sort of happy hour once in a while. Maybe its just the culture of where you work but I dont go to my happy hours to get ahead, its more just to socialize with my colleagues and talk about stuff outside of work or to let off steam. We only do it with a small group of people so its fine.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by HDC80 View Post
    Nothingness---
    Your response is VERY telling....
    Its going that extra mile that shows you're interested in more than just the 8 hours a day.
    No you shouldnt abandon other commitments or previously arranged plans, but once in awhile, going when asked to join shows you are part of the team.

    .
    Let me explain a little further. I socialize a lot at work. I go out at least once a week to lunches with coworkers - I also run a bunch of pools and fantasy sport leagues. I've even hung out with coworkers on weekends outside of work. But for some reason by not going to happy hours a few years ago it sort of ostracized me a bit and hurt me politically. At the time I had a GF and friday nights were my only time to see her during the week and that's when most of the happy hours were. If I was being antisocial in general then I would agree with being marginalized. But when I socialize with coworkers during the work day and have even done things with some on the weekends I don't see why turning down happy hours after work should matter. Luckily, a lot of people left the company since then and the newer wave isnt really big on the happy hour thing or at least there isnt the pressure there once was.

  13. #13
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    Well that is a very different picture than what you originally painted.
    It sounded like you only went into work for the designated hours, never talked about anything other than your work and went home-----not looking to be friendly with co-workers outside of that.

    Now you’re saying you do lunches and have spent time with them on weekends.

    As for the happy hour years ago----maybe something happened at that happy hour that you missed out on----that you weren’t part of a particular conversation of sharing of ideas, and thus, you couldn’t be a part of it.

    Use the excuse of your GF all you want…but sometimes you have to do things in a different way.
    Could you have gone to the after work thing for an hour or a few hours and met up with your GF later than normal….on several occasions (again not all the time but a handful, hell even once)?
    I have a similar situation with my relationship, but at times, when things happen after work on a weekend, and that’s my only time to see him----Ill attend the work thing for a bit to show face….and leave, and meet my BF LATER than I normally would to fit everything in.

  14. #14
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    In response to the original topic, I agree that it's easier to move forward if you are attractive. However, I think being attractive is more about being put-together than be physically beautiful. You can have average looks, but wear clothes that fit and are appropriate for the job, have a decent, up-to-date hairstyle, wear the appropriate amount of jewelry/makeup/product, etc.

    Also, being attractive may get you in the door, but it won't keep you there. I have seen plenty of naturally attractive people come and go from the workplace because they weren't doing a good job or fitting in well with the company culture/environment.

    I also think that you need to pay attention to what the culture is at your company, and work that to your advantage. If you work somewhere where people are wearing suits everyday, and you wear khakis, you aren't going to fit in. Or on the opposite end, if you work where people are more laid back, and you dress to the nines every day, people are probably going to be less likely to include you.
    Taylor

    "Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one's values." - Atlas Shrugged

  15. #15
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    Attractiveness as a Handicap

    What an interesting premise! I have seen nothing but the exact opposite. While the sales forces tend to promote and push forward attractive people, skilled jobs such as Research and Development reward merit.

    The theme of company's hiring confident people is spot on, but that doesn't mean that they're giving the edge to attractive people. In my personal experience, attractive people have always been the most insecure. Those who weren't recognized for their looks tend to have found other ways to interact and improve, such as developing the personality and humor that translates to people/office skills.

    Take a look at the CEO's of the Fortune 500 Companies and you'll move away from thinking that attractiveness is a factor at all.

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