Thursday, February 4, 2010

Pretty Girls Finish First

There are studies that show that attractive people are more successful in business.  Height, jaw line, and body fat are all subtle factors in one's life success, whether we want to admit it or not.  Obviously this is more true in some careers than others, but I'm in business school and work in real estate.  Commercial real estate.  It looks a whole lot like 'Mad Men' around here.  Attractive men pitching business and closing deals.  Beautiful young women showing space, answering phones and running the office.  Bitter much? 

Naw, I'm not bitter.  I'm smart enough to know that stereotypes exist and that it's all a game.  To win, you have to play by the rules.  Thus, I dress up.  I wear black heels and dress pants, sport full make-up and walk a certain way.  I follow sports so I can keep up with the guys should I ever be stuck with them in the elevator or kitchen.  I even bust out the pencil skirt and slingbacks every once in a while to remind everyone that I mean business.  I am more than my title would suggest.  I still have something to prove. 

But in a way, this shouldn't be news.  It makes total sense that attractive people are going to be more successful.  And this is particularly true for females.  In business. We are naturally drawn to people whom it is pleasant to look at.  We percieve that they are smarter and more competent.  It's called "dressing for success" for a reason.  Especially in service industries where one is constantly chasing after new business and trying to close a deal, beauty and charisma is a real factor. 

And here's the thing.  I'm not a supermodel.  I'm not even a sortamodel.  I'm plain and shy.  I'm low maintenance. Quite frankly, there are a *few* pounds I've been fighting with for the better part of a decade (read: my whole life), despite my forray into distance running.

So this is my logic.  If I know that looking, dressing and acting a certain way is just as much of a factor in my future career (if not life) success as my education and professional experience, shouldn't I be spending as much time shopping, grooming, dieting and going to the gym as I do studying? It's slightly outrageous, an adjustment to my whole way of thinking for sure, but perhaps it's not as vain as it sounds.   

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