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Why I Like to Hire Ugly People
Kiplinger.com ^ | September 2009 | Marty Nemko

Posted on 09/09/2009 6:26:00 AM PDT by KeyLargo

Why I Like to Hire Ugly People

How the unattractive suffer ... and can end up sitting pretty

By Marty Nemko

September 2009

Like beauty, “ugly” is in the eyes of the beholder. What I’m talking about here is anything in a person’s physical appearance that’s likely to keep him or her off a “most attractive” list. For me it’s my hair, or lack thereof.

Many years ago, I was all set to appear six times on a daytime-TV talk show. But the producers first had one suggestion: Get a hairpiece. “Market research indicates that a man with a full head of hair is much more likely to be watched by women (the show’s target audience),” I was told. So I got one.

Wearing the hairpiece helped me realize the power of looks. After we taped my six segments (in one day), I wore it for a couple more days to see what impact it had. While I was in an executive’s waiting room, I overheard someone whisper to the secretary about me, “He seems really important.” I’d never heard anyone say anything remotely like that about me before. I walked into a burrito shop and, for the first time in my life, the hottie behind the counter actually flirted with me—flipped her hair back, twirled her curls and made conversation with me beyond “May I take your order?” Later, when I wore the hairpiece for a play I was in, some friends of mine didn’t recognize me on stage.

If you’re unattractive in face or body, you probably learned early on that you pay a price. In school, you were excluded from the “in” group. When you wanted to date, few people were interested. On the street, people look not at you but past you.

And they look past you in your career. In a job interview, you may have experienced an interviewer’s flat affect and forced smile rather than a warm welcome that would have put you at ease. Once hired, you may have cringed as The Pretty People often got more than they may have deserved, based on merit alone. And that’s the ugly truth.

Advice for Employees and the Self-Employed

Being unattractive isn’t three strikes against you. If it were, the likes of Eleanor Roosevelt, Woody Allen, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Alfred Hitchcock and Kathy Bates wouldn't have succeeded. Lackluster looks are only one strike. It's up to you whether you become dispirited or motivated to make the extra effort needed to succeed.

Don't skimp on self-development. If you have mediocre skills, that’s strike two. Add a mediocre personality, and it’s usually strike three and you’re out. So self-development, while important for everyone, is crucial for you. Instead of watching TV on the treadmill, read a professional magazine. Instead of loafing around on Saturday morning, go to that seminar on executive deportment. And ask for 360-degree feedback from bosses, co-workers, supervisees and customers. (An easy way to get it free and anonymously is at Checkster.com.)

Celebrate the personal strengths that unattractiveness can breed. For instance, I find that ugly people, in general, are nicer because they know they can't use their looks to get by and because they've developed compassion from going through life unattractive.

Make an effort to look sharp. There are some physical attributes we can control and some we can’t. If you ignore the features that you could enhance, it sends the message that you don’t care—a message that may even give the wrong impression of your work. Ultimately, I decided not to keep wearing the aforementioned hairpiece—it required constant maintenance, and if people knew I was wearing it, they’d probably snicker. Instead, I groom the real hair I have left: I comb whatever hair I have to the back, rather than to the side or front—efforts to the contrary are transparent and widely derided. You should be sure to:

Dress well—at your boss's level of dressiness.

Wear a moderate amount of subtle makeup (women only!). Not sure whether yours brings out the best in you? Major department stores have an army of cosmeticians willing to make you over for free.

Don't smoke. If avoiding cancer isn't a good-enough reason, smoking also makes you uglier: It yellows your teeth, wrinkles your skin and makes your breath stink.

Manage your weight as well as you can. Many people find it difficult to avoid being overweight. Too often, they're fighting their genetics. So I'll skip the lecture and just say that if you’re unattractive, it’s especially important to do what works for you. I keep my weight under (reasonable) control by ritualizing. I eat the same thing most days: foods I like that are both healthy and filling (oatmeal, garlic, broccoli, big salads, etc.). I also keep tempting, calorie-dense items out of my house. My nemeses: cheese, nuts and ice cream.

Stand up straight. Helen Gurley Brown said, only half joking, “After 40, it all comes down to posture.”

Convey self-acceptance about your looks. Even if you optimize your looks, some people will still see “ugly” when they see you. Looks are an 800-pound gorilla in the room. If, however, you occasionally mention your looks in a self-accepting way, it will become less of an issue. For example, in a meeting, you might say, “Well, John, you're the studly one. Maybe you, rather than I, should be the public face on this project.” Or when someone says, “I'm having a bad hair day,” say, “That's one thing we baldies don't have to worry about.”

Advice for Employers

Hire ugly. All other things being equal, I'd give the nod to an ugly candidate. It’s not charity: They have less value in the marketplace and can be hired less expensively, even though looks have, for most jobs, little or no bearing on job performance. I've found that, on average, ugly people are more likely to be kind and to work harder because they know they're working at a disadvantage. And unattractive people are more likely to stay with me because they tend to have a tough time getting hired, in part because they generally don’t network efficiently. If I treat unattractive employees well, they’re usually very loyal.

Look out for “lookism.” I’m not suggesting that you should give unfair advantages to ugly people. Just be sure that your staff (and you!) treats your unattractive employees fairly. Gently nip lookism in the bud; for example, “Joe, I notice you seem to be giving plum assignments to Britney even though Brunhilde is likely to do a better job. Am I not understanding something?”

We are, indeed, a lookist society—but as an employee, you can, with effort, transcend that obstacle. And as an employer, you can strike a blow against this lingering ism while building your bottom line.

Marty Nemko is a contributing columnist for Kiplinger’s and has been named “The Bay Area’s Best Career Coach” by the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Find more than 500 of his other published writings free at www.martynemko.com.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: hire; jobs; ugly; unemployed
It worked for Nancy!


1 posted on 09/09/2009 6:26:00 AM PDT by KeyLargo
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To: KeyLargo

Shallow is a very turbulent mindset.


2 posted on 09/09/2009 6:29:13 AM PDT by allmost
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To: KeyLargo

Based upon my experience, ugly people know they are ugly and are miserable, surly and bitter.


3 posted on 09/09/2009 6:31:13 AM PDT by fortunate sun (Fight the marxist occupation of America. Support the Healthcare Insurrection.)
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To: KeyLargo
Jimmy Soul ...

If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life
Never make a pretty woman your wife
So from my personal point of view
Get an ugly girl to marry you

4 posted on 09/09/2009 6:31:54 AM PDT by oh8eleven (RVN '67-'68)
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To: KeyLargo

5 posted on 09/09/2009 6:33:28 AM PDT by Dallas59
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To: allmost

George Castanza addressed this in Seinfeld, telling one of the applicants who was drop-dead beautiful, that she was completely and perfectly suited for the secretarial job, and that he would give anything to see her in underware, therefore, she could not have the job. He settled for an ugly one.


6 posted on 09/09/2009 6:33:45 AM PDT by Texas Songwriter
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To: KeyLargo
Stand up straight. Helen Gurley Brown said, only half joking, “After 40, it all comes down to posture.”

Tip of the day for Michelle O! ; ) Someone get that to her, please.

7 posted on 09/09/2009 6:33:58 AM PDT by ozark hilljilly (Change you can believe in...Revolution you must pay for.)
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To: KeyLargo

If you gave a lobotomy to Nancy, her eyes would point backwards and her nose would point upwards from her shoulders like the blowholes of a whale.

AND — it would be an improvement.


8 posted on 09/09/2009 6:34:13 AM PDT by Ronin (Nemo me impune lacesset)
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To: KeyLargo

My father always told me that there was an inverse relationship between how attractive a woman is and how good she was in bed.

Ben Franklin noticed the same thing when he advised a young man to find bliss in the arms of an older woman, because...
‘They don’t swell, they don’t tell, and they are grateful as hell.’.

To this observation I add my own advice “they all look the same with the lights out.”


9 posted on 09/09/2009 6:37:07 AM PDT by allmendream (Income is EARNED not distributed, so how could it be redistributed?)
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To: oh8eleven

GMTA.....


10 posted on 09/09/2009 6:37:18 AM PDT by ButThreeLeftsDo
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To: KeyLargo

This is economics 101. He is essentially saying that attractiveness is an overpriced commodity. For most positions, I would tend to agree, although it may be worth the cost for certain positions with high visibility.


11 posted on 09/09/2009 6:37:28 AM PDT by Our man in washington
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To: fortunate sun
I'm ugly.

But I am constantly getting laid; my career is incredible; and animals are drawn to me.

Of course, my career choice is to be a gigalo for llamas, so......

12 posted on 09/09/2009 6:39:13 AM PDT by Lazamataz (Tagline pawned: Ticket Number 1032983. Redeem by Oct 4, 2009.)
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To: ButThreeLeftsDo

One of us is very old and it just can’t be me. LOL ...


13 posted on 09/09/2009 6:40:22 AM PDT by oh8eleven (RVN '67-'68)
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To: fortunate sun
Based upon my experience, ugly people know they are ugly and are miserable, surly and bitter.

That has not been my experience at all. At. All. I am often amazed at the difference self-confidence makes. Without it, a person with good features can seem surly and bitter. And with it, a person with poor features can nevertheless be a great personality, co-worker and friend. The quality of a person's heart and soul shines through their features.

14 posted on 09/09/2009 6:41:11 AM PDT by Albion Wilde ("A cultural problem cannot be solved with a political solution." -- Selwyn Duke)
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To: oh8eleven

Somewhere, in the archives, I have that on a 45 RPM......


15 posted on 09/09/2009 6:42:19 AM PDT by ButThreeLeftsDo
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To: KeyLargo
Hire ugly people? I don't think so.


16 posted on 09/09/2009 6:43:06 AM PDT by Responsibility2nd (I am Legend)
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To: KeyLargo

O - M - G !


17 posted on 09/09/2009 6:44:34 AM PDT by ctdonath2 (flag@whitehouse.gov may bounce messages but copies may be kept. Informants are still solicited.)
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To: Lazamataz
>>>”and animals are drawn to me”>>>>

Those are not animals Laz, those are REALLY ugly women.

18 posted on 09/09/2009 6:47:21 AM PDT by Ditter
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To: KeyLargo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gB5HsDRRPRY
19 posted on 09/09/2009 6:48:05 AM PDT by real saxophonist (The fact that you play tuba doesn't make you any less lethal. -USMC bandsman in Iraq)
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To: KeyLargo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gB5HsDRRPRY
20 posted on 09/09/2009 6:49:20 AM PDT by real saxophonist (The fact that you play tuba doesn't make you any less lethal. -USMC bandsman in Iraq)
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To: real saxophonist

Oops, so good I had to post it twice...


21 posted on 09/09/2009 6:50:04 AM PDT by real saxophonist (The fact that you play tuba doesn't make you any less lethal. -USMC bandsman in Iraq)
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To: KeyLargo

22 posted on 09/09/2009 6:53:23 AM PDT by reagan_fanatic (Welcome to the Revolution.)
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To: real saxophonist

OK, I have tears coming from my eyes now - thanks!!


23 posted on 09/09/2009 6:56:58 AM PDT by reagan_fanatic (Welcome to the Revolution.)
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To: Lazamataz

Once you go alpaca, you’ll never go backa.


24 posted on 09/09/2009 6:57:41 AM PDT by Sloth (Ted Kennedy's brain tumor has killed more people than my gun.)
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To: Albion Wilde

I was speaking generally. As the saying goes, “Your mileage may vary”.


25 posted on 09/09/2009 7:09:30 AM PDT by fortunate sun (Fight the marxist occupation of America. Support the Healthcare Insurrection.)
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To: KeyLargo
Hire ugly. ... looks have, for most jobs, little or no bearing on job performance.

There are many exceptions, but managers that want an easy life should usually hire brains and not care at all if they are good or bad looking.

26 posted on 09/09/2009 7:15:47 AM PDT by Reeses
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To: KeyLargo

I’m sure this guy’s employees are really thrilled to read this! LOL


27 posted on 09/09/2009 7:30:44 AM PDT by Nea Wood (Silly liberal . . . paychecks are for workers!)
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To: KeyLargo

I’m sure glad my bosses didn’t hire ugly, I work with some mighty fine looking ladies.


28 posted on 09/09/2009 7:57:23 AM PDT by ▀udda▀udd (7 days - 7 ways Guero >>> with a floating, shifting, ever changing persona.....)
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To: Lazamataz

ROTFL ! Laz- you made my day with that completely unexpected and very funny comment. Thanks.


29 posted on 09/09/2009 9:06:05 AM PDT by Red Boots
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To: Lazamataz

I’m so glad you’re back Laz...


30 posted on 09/09/2009 9:10:44 AM PDT by GOPJ (Who received the Van Jones FBI reports and who over-ruled the findings? fr:thouworm)
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To: oh8eleven

I wonder if hiring an ugly person is the same as marrying an ugly gal. Then you don’t have to worry about someone stealing them away. And if they do - who cares!?


31 posted on 09/09/2009 9:22:02 AM PDT by 21twelve (Drive Reality out with a pitchfork if you want , it always comes back.)
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