The One Big Problem with Being Pretty

Don’t you hate pretty people? We are addicted to ‘pretty’ in America. Let’s face it, most of the world is addicted to pretty.

Pretty people get all the jobs. Pretty people get all the money. Pretty people get all the fame. Life as a pretty person is a heck a lot easier than being an ugly person! How do I know this? I’m a short, ginger with a Dad bod, I’m like the poster child for birth control!

This is why today, I’m a little excited!

Some new research shows that Ugly people actually have a leg up on pretty people when it comes to hiring! Yeah, baby! Give me a job! Here’s a bit from the American Psychological Association study:

While good-looking people are generally believed to receive more favorable treatment in the hiring process, when it comes to applying for less desirable jobs, such as those with low pay or uninteresting work, attractiveness may be a liability, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.

“Our research suggests that attractive people may be discriminated against in selection for relatively less desirable jobs,” said lead author Margaret Lee, a doctoral candidate at the London Business School. “This stands in contrast to a large body of research that concluded that attractiveness, by and large, helps candidates in the selection process.”

The research was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology®.

Yeah – take that Discrimination you highly beautiful and desirable hunk of humankind!

Oh, wait, Ugly people have an advantage in getting crappy jobs…

Am I the only one crying in my office right now?

So, turns out you’re ugly. You basically have no advantages in life because the mix of your mom and dad’s genetic code produced something most people don’t find attractive. It’s like a lottery, but you lost. You lost the life lottery.

The one benefit you get is when you go to apply for a menial, low-end job, you’ll have an advantage over people who are attractive. “Sorry, Ashley, take your beautiful ass back Abercrombie, I’m running the fryer today, bitch!”

Don’t you love Life’s sense of humor?

So, the one big problem you have if your pretty is you will find it hard getting a crappy job. Yep, I don’t care that your dream is to have dirty fingernails, Stephen! Go back to that desk job making six figures and try not to get tears on your cashmere sweater.

I think what we see here has less to do with ugly and pretty, and more to do with selection profiling by hiring managers. It goes a little something like this:

  1. A pretty person applies for a low-end dirty job.
  2. The pretty person shows up for the interview.
  3. Hiring manager sees the pretty person and thinks “there is no way this beautiful person will ever stay working at this job”.
  4. Hiring manager continues to interview waiting to find an ugly enough person who the hiring manager feels lacks enough self-confidence to go look for a better job.
  5. The pretty person is denied work and is discriminated against.

We have this psychological belief as hiring managers that your looks play a role in tenure. We have a level of attractiveness internal meter we believe correlates to longevity. The better the job (and compensation) we tend to believe we can hold out for skills and attractiveness.

Go ahead and do some real-world research. Look at the most successful companies in the world and you’ll see, on average, they are more attractive across the board, then those companies that are the least successful.

It doesn’t always work out, but it mostly works out. Basically, 60% of the time, it works every time.

So, my ugly friends and peers. Go out today and walk with your held slightly higher knowing we have the advantage. Let’s just not talk to loudly about what that advantage is, okay?

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