Do “Mean Girls” Make More Money?
Just when we were starting to accept that pretty people made all the money, we get hit with yet another study. First, we were told that attractive people are paid $230,000 more over a lifetime based solely upon appearance and not experience. If that wasn’t depressing enough, a more recently published study is saying that people who are ruder make more.
Does this sound crazy to you? The study, titled “Do Nice Guys — and Gals — Really Finish Last?” looked at data compiled from around 10,000 workers over nearly 20 years, drawing on three surveys that sampled a range of ages and professions.The study’s findings are pretty clear — Researchers examined “agreeableness” using self-reported survey data and found that ruder women earned about 5% or $1,828 more than their agreeable counterparts.
Does that mean we should all go to work and tell our bosses what we really think about our jobs? Eh, probably not. But, I think it’s important to at least know what the study meant by “agreeableness.” The authors are careful to explain what exactly constitutes “disagreeable.” Rather than a raving psychopath, a disagreeable person is “more likely than people high in trait agreeableness to behave disagreeably in certain situations by, for instance, aggressively advocating for their position during conflicts (van de Vliert & Euwema, 2004).”
With that being said, I can’t help but wonder if a woman being more aggressive and assertive is being taken for “rudeness.” Is the reality that classic gender roles have leaned towards women always being perceived as “nice and pleasant,” and if we deviate in any way, we’re now rude?
What if this so-called “mean girl” is actually just an industrialist to the core? What if she loves creating lists, checking things off and completing tasks quickly simply because that’s her “thing.” Some might call her a workaholic, but at the end of the day, she’s the go-getter, go to girl. She doesn’t waste time with much fluff because she just likes to get things done. Wouldn’t it make sense for her to make more money?
Or, maybe the mean girl is actually just a superb negotiator. What if people perceive her directness as being bitchy, when in actuality she’s just very clear about what her expectations are and is not willing to settle or compromise? Can we honestly now call her rude or disagreeable because of that?
Nevertheless, male or female, here are a few tips I think we should all keep in mind as we strive for that extra 5% and beyond. (If you’re a fella, “rude boys” actually make 18% more according to the study.)
- First and foremost, do good work. Always present work that you can be proud of and stand behind 100%. At the end of the day, I’d like to think someone will still value work ethic no matter how cute or unpleasant you might be.
- People do business with folks they like. Let’s not go overboard on the bitchiness.
- When you do feel strongly about a certain position, don’t be afraid to voice your opinion constructively. Be passionate – not emotional.
- Stand up for yourself instead of trying to “keep the peace.” You may be able to display leadership skills that no one knew you had which can also payoff professionally and monetarily.
- Keep learning. I think it’s almost impossible to not earn more as you learn more and put what you learn into practice.
- Create your own personal standard for success. That way when these types of studies are published, they don’t sway who you are or what you bring to the table.