Plastic surgery is the next must-have career tool. Maybe

Brace yourself for the most thorough compendium of research I’ve seen about how good-looking people get more of everything. The book is Looks: Why They Matter More than You Ever Imagined, by Gordon Patzer, professor at Roosevelt University in Chicago and former dean at California State University.

It is well-documented that good-looking people make more money than everyone else. Taller men make more money than shorter men. If a woman is just 13 pounds overweight, she is penalized at work. (Hat tip: Recruiting Animal.)

We are hard-wired to treat good-looking people better and it’s pretty much impossible to overcome this tendency. Patzer shows that this salary discrepancy is true even in law firms, where the partners doing the hiring are acutely aware of how illegal it is to favor good-looking people. Researchers at University of Texas, found that even mothers treat good-looking children better than average-looking ones.

Unintentionally, of course.

Before you complain about how unfair all this is, Patzer shows that good-looking people are actually better for the company’s bottom line. This is because highly attractive people actually earn more money for a company than average looking people. One study in Holland, for example, showed that companies with better looking management consistently billed more hours at higher rates than companies with average looking management.

And, while good-looking executives cost a company more money (because they have higher salaries), they actually increase the bottom line so much that the unconscious premium in pay that people give to the good-looking is actually a wise investment.

So what should you do if you are not good looking?

1. Stay out of sales and management.
These areas are where tall, good-looking people have the strongest advantage in objective performance measures, according to a study by management professors Daniel Cable, of the University of North Carolina, and Timothy Judge of University of Florida. This makes sense to me because leadership is so much about charisma, and charisma is so much about looks. And it makes sense that people will buy more stuff from you if they are attracted to you. (Hence the huge industry of turning cheerleaders into salesgirls.)

2. Be honest with yourself.
The more honest we are about where looks matter a lot, the less time we’ll waste doing something we probably won’t excel at. (This is where women have an advantage over men because women better understand where they fall in the spectrum of good-looking.)

For example, all else being equal, a good-looking woman will negotiate better for a company than anyone else—even a good-looking man, according to research by Sara Solnick of the University of Miami and Maurice Schweitzer from Wharton. Good-looking women drive harder bargains than everyone else, and good-looking women get more concessions than anyone else. (Makes sense, right? Since these are the women in highest demand for reproducing, the genes for good looks must come with genes for having a sense of entitlement when it comes to negotiating a good deal.)

3. Get plastic surgery. Maybe.
Before you get all over me about how insane this advice is, think about this: When I was a young girl, I remember hearing women talk about if it was “okay to dye your hair.” Today we don’t think twice about it. No one cares if you do or don’t, and many styles actually emphasize unnatural hair colors.

To be honest, I am way too scared to cut anything on myself. But still, plastic surgery makes total sense to me.

We don’t flinch when we hear that Cameron Diaz got a nose job or Brad Pitt had his ears pinned. It seems like a reasonable thing to do given their profession. And look at Chelsea Clinton. She did a few changes just as she hit the adult world as a consultant at McKinsey. She’s not an idiot, and she certainly does not seem obsessed by her appearance. But she realized that she was not great looking, and the plastic surgery seems to have made some improvements.

And just ten years ago, I remember talking with my friends about how gross Botox is. But my friend Sharon, who is a hairstylist in Los Angeles, says that the majority of her clients—who range from normal housewives to corporate lawyers—have had some sort of Botox injection. She says it’s so mainstream in Los Angeles that it’s almost a statement if you don’t have it.

My editor tells me that I’m going to get killed with this post. So here is my first pre-emptive strike: This post stems from my genuine worry that I will be behind the curve. I worry that I will be philosophizing about plastic surgery while everyone else is getting it and not even thinking about it. Like Botox. Or, here’s another example: Shaving off all of one’s pubic hair. Gen Xers debate it and philosophize about it while I just learned from Cosmo magazine that more than 75% of women in their 20’s just do it. No big deal.

Second pre-emptive strike: Every woman I know who is considering plastic surgery after having kids never ever would have considered it before that. It’s a time-of-life thing more than anything else, I think.

So my prediction is that soon we will all capitulate to the undeniable evidence that we have more opportunity in life if we are better looking, and it’s relatively easy to buy good looks. So we will. It will be something everyone does as they graduate from college, and not just the most rich and privileged kids. Plastic surgery will be for the go-getters and career-minded. Just you wait and see.

Posted in Knowing yourself, No image, Self-management
163 comments on “Plastic surgery is the next must-have career tool. Maybe
  1. A.J. says:

    You’d be amazed what a simple chin implant can do.

    • Tim says:

      I am a tall good looking man and I have breezed through interviews and various advancements in my career and have really climbed the latter. I have a six figure salary and have a pie job. I’m the type of guy that hates dressing up, doesn’t own a hairbrush and couldn’t tell you what the latest fashions are.

      Since I’ve got the looks, my wife lays out my clothes–I walk in and am offered positions that Harvard graduates of avergae looks could only dream about.

      • anna says:

        it’s “ladder,” pretty boy! :-))

        And Penelope, all wishful thinking aside, would you really go under a knife to look 13% better??

      • alal says:

        I think that not only surgery is the solution, it would be a depending method to look pretty or handsome.. surgery can give you another opportunity to “be happy” but its a completly lie Because the people will love for your body and not for who you are..!!

  2. helix says:

    Botox and limited plastic surgery to correct defects is one thing, but it is possible to go to far with plastic surgery, especially for older people.

    Getting old is part of life, I don’t understand the subculture of people that think having one’s face stretched back looks good or even remotely makes one look younger. I see this occasionally in women and men. It is a definite “look”, and it DOES NOT give an air of “authenticity” (an important trait for any brazen careerist).

  3. Jennifer says:

    Interesting. But naturally good looking people have grown up with the various entitlements bestowed upon good looking people. Surgery can’t give someone that kind of experience. And good-looking people (especially women) rarely recognize how attractive they can be.

    • Maureen says:

      You’re kidding, right? She has good-looking parents, and she always looked lovely to me. She was a CHILD when she was in the White House. Kids go through awkward periods. But it was always clear to me she was a swan in the making.

  4. goathair says:

    You definitely can’t blame Chelsea Clinton for having work done. She used to look like the oldest brother in Hanson. MmmBOP.

  5. Lisa Gates says:

    Penelope,

    I can hardly take this seriously, sorry. But just to play along…

    It would follow, then, in our skin-deep utopia-seeking, that plastic surgery will become a required hurdle in the hiring process.

    This not-so-sci-fi vision will create some interesting cultural division:

    1. Ugly people freelance, beautiful people climb ladders.
    2. Ugly people who get plastic surgery still have bad genes. So procreation without a little gene splicing is a no no.
    3. Ugly people will become the new untouchables. Oh wait, that’s already true…

    * * * * * * *
    Lisa, this comment is so smart and so fun. Thanks.

    Penelope

  6. Rupert says:

    Will it happen – eventually maybe. But for now there’s still a lot of snickering in the workplace about various – ahem – enhancements, so in the near future I think people still run the risk of not being taken so seriously. I know, you weren’t necessarily talking about boob jobs, but today people are still funny about other people’s displays of what could be put down as “vanity”

    I read somewhere recently that some doctor now does implants on the top of people’s heads to enhance their height (adding 1-2 inches) – instead of people having to wear raised soles in their shoes. for now he is mostly doing folks who have a height requirement for their jobs, but it might not be long before he’s getting a lot more business. My head is already on the large side so I won’t be having that done;)

    Still I think it is a shame and not necessarily a healthy thing. Just think of all the kids that won’t look anything like their parents; “Mum, if your nose is so pretty and Dad’s too, why oh why do I have such a honker.”

    “Don’t worry dear, we’ll send you off to good old Dr. Blade before your first college applications interview.”

  7. Seth Mattison says:

    You Rock! Thank God you’re around to write about the stuff everyone else is scared to. My only comment would be that I think the secret sauce is not just in being good looking because when we meet good looking people who are either complete idiots or extremely pretentious pricks, we’re turned off. However, if you meet a good looking guy or girl who is genuinely kind, sincere and humble….game over. We’ll buy everything they sell and probably follow them where ever they go. I think good looking alone is not enough.

    ….From what I hear I think you’re right about girls in their 20s and shaving.

    Cheers

  8. J says:

    Balls to the wall…agree or disagree, you have to admire it. And I think the ‘looks are important’ point is a point worth expressing, especially to those young enough to do something about it and see a real difference in their earining potential.

    Even if you don’t go as far as surgery, just being more conscious of looks and grooming (without going crazy) can help immensely.
    I think this even helps those who didn’t win the genetic lottery and aren’t planning to do anything about it; sometimes just knowing reality, whether you like it or not, can help you accept it and come up with plan B (ie, stop killing yourself trying to excel in your sales job, stop beating yourself up because no one hits on you in a bar, and go find your niche in a different career and go about meeting mates in a different way). Of course there are exceptions to every rule, but in most cases at least knowing the truth can’t hurt you.

  9. Jenny says:

    I don’t disagree. Although the plastic surgery for career advancement might be more regional.

    I’m wondering if the Cosmo survey can be statistically accurate of all US women in their 20’s, Cosmo readers perhaps…

  10. Sean says:

    First, let me say, I totally admire people who are willing to say what everyone else is thinking, even if it’s not the PC thing to do.

    Second, shaving… I had to explain this to my 50 year old uncle last summer… even guys do it now… get with it Penelope!

    Third, can I just repeat my first point? This is what makes our country great… keep writing about the truths that no one else wants to acknowledge (especially ugly people).

  11. Hope says:

    I definitely think plastic surgery is regionalized. CA and FL seem to have a boatload of women (and probably men, but the women are more obvious) who have been “enhanced.”

    As for aging, two words: Joan Rivers. Don’t go there. After a certain point, it’s pathetic.

  12. Shannon says:

    Where are all these good looking people? Maybe they all move to NYC or LA because they aren’t around here. I’m not saying people I work with are ugly, just that they’re normal and don’t look like they stepped out of a magazine.

    Personally, I’d rather spend my money and time on something more fulfilling to me than my looks. If that means I don’t climb the so-called ladder, so be it. Life can be about so much more than who’s the best looking, who’s the richest, who’s the most successful.

    I wish our culture would stop veering into this Brave New World la-la land and get back to reality. But after seeing on TV this morning that 10-year-old girls are waxing and 6-year-olds are getting pedicures, I guess I’m the one who’s living in a dream world.

  13. Briana L. says:

    Frankly, I’m surprised that this is news to you. This story sounds like it’s so ten years ago. You’re *just now* figuring out that people are getting plastic surgery as a career move in the business world?

  14. aaron says:

    __This makes sense to me because leadership is so much about charisma, and charisma is so much about looks.__

    If we’re talking about leadership being “the guy with the hair that lead worldcom and worked hoard to maximize shareholder value” then yes, I’d agree with you.

    If we’re talking about real leadership (you know, the earth-moving world-changing people-uplifting kind) then I’d have to say…

    Winston Churchill
    Golda Meir
    Margret Thatcher
    the Dalai Lama

  15. aaron says:

    worked hoard?!! wow…that was a slip…

  16. Alan Wilensky says:

    Penelope, I didn’t know whether to take you to task for such a shallow post, or to say, hallelujah, this is an issue that is eating at the women’s workforce.

    It’s not easy being a mature worker,in the tech plantations, that means anyone over 38. for women, it must be a killer.

  17. Chris Yeh says:

    Fantastic topic. Of course it’s easy for me to say that, since my handsome mug doesn’t seem to have held me back in the business world….

    More seriously, I think this is a great post because its shock value makes people realize the importance of appearance.

    There is a continuum of image manipulation. People don’t hesitate to get glamour shots for online dating sites; why is this acceptable when plastic surgery is not?

    What about gastic bypass surgery for the overweight?

    I have a friend who is a talented, smart, Harvard MBA. After having three kids, she gained a lot of weight, and her husband (a wealthy investor, also a Harvard MBA) left her.

    After her kids grew up, she had gastic bypass surgery, lipo, a nose job, and breast implants. She’s much happier, and doing well in work at in her personal life.

    What I will say is I think that you should explore wardrobe, diet, and exercise changes first. No matter how much surgery you get, if you dress badly, eat poorly, and have no muscle tone, you’re not going to look good. Conversely, a well-dressed man or woman with a phenomenal physique is going to do well. Most facial flaws can be mitigated with the right hair and accessories.

  18. Jerry Matthew says:

    PT –

    While I agree that people enjoy looking at good lookers more than others I think there’s an underlying assumption here that got missed:

    You assume the people who are good looking have something tangible or relevant to say or sell. You can be the best looking person in a crowd of sales people but if you’re an airhead and too shallow of personality to hold a conversation people will see through you in a heartbeat.

    Looks only still get you so far. There’s too many people out there who have a really good bullshit meter. Looks may get you in the door but if you don’t have a clue you’ll get kicked out just as fast as you were brought in.

    Too bad there’s not surgery to get people a clue.

  19. William Peregoy says:

    I don’t know about the plastic surgery being a good idea or not… I personally am not a fan of women who appear to have work done.

    As far as good looks being beneficial in sales, that is definitely true. I started my own record label while in college and when me and my other artists would sell CDs hand-to-hand – either at school or the club, etc. I always sold more than them, and I always made the majority of my sales to women. Naturally, I would brag to the rest of the group that I sold more because all the women think I’m cute and want to sleep with me. Even though I was only playing around and kidding with my friends, I always believed there was some truth behind that. And I still do, thanks to this research, lol.

    Anyway… as far as 75% of women in their twenties shaving their pubic hair – I’m actually surprised that number is that low. (I also wasn’t aware that that was even an issue)

    BTW, tomorrow is my birthday – I’m turning 22, and it hardly seems exciting when compared to past birthdays (16, 18, 21)… does it just go down from here?

  20. J. Liz says:

    Thee revolution continues! Eye told you Genesis P’orridge would be a hero! He got breast implants and eye think everyone should, really — men and women.

    Eye also think quoting Cosmo is stupid. Wheye do we care what shallow vapid women who live to please men think? Eye also think that having kids is stupid, so don’t meyend me.

  21. andy says:

    You don’t necessarily need plastic surgery. Many people can greatly improve their appearance by paying more attention to grooming – hair style, buying good clothes that fit, losing a few pounds, wearing makeup, etc.

  22. ralph says:

    Another funny post, I know am not good looking and really suspect any good looking green horn till they prove themselves, over and over.

    I am extra careful and dont let good looks of someone cloud my decisions.

  23. foghornboy says:

    Don’t work P, you won’t need to “save face” on this subject – your right.

  24. Monica O'Brien says:

    Plastic surgery for career enhancement is definitely regional at this point – but I do feel it's on the horizon because celebrities have embraced it so much over the last 5-10 years. There will be a trickle down effect, and maybe in 10 more years it will actually reach the midwest. Not that I want it to, because I can't see myself ever going under the knife either – I prefer getting away with low maintenance looks in my career.

    What would be interesting about the mother/ children research is if they tested other characteristics as well. Do parents favor the children who are most like them? Children who are smarter? Children who are most athletic? I can see all of these being an indicator of why parents favor one child over another.

    I was having drinks with my own father one night and he admitted that while he loves both my brother and me, I'm his favorite. My brother has already sensed this and complains to me about it all the time – but part of that is because I'm more like my father than my brother is.

    * * * * * * *

    So glad that you brought this up, Monica. Because there is great reserach about parenting that didn't fit in this post.

    Patzer shows that advantages of the good-looking start the day they are born. Mothers attach more effectively to better looking babies. This is unconscious – hard-coded into our DNA to ensure the survival of the human race.

    For example, researchers at the University of Texas found that mothers of good-looking babies are less likely to view the child as interfering in their lives than do mother of less attractive infants. Mothers of attractive babies play with them longer than mothers of average-looking babies. And researchers at Francis Marion University found that neonatal nurses inadvertently give better care to better looking babies; plump, healthy babies get more attention than babies with lower Apgar scores.

    So there is something to consider here – which is that plastic surgery as an adult cannot make up for the self-confidence boost one gets by growing up as a good-looking kid.

    -Penelope

    • Kam says:

      A few thoughts:

      1. Does this mean the human race, overall, has gotten better looking? If you add up all the advantages of being attractive, it would seem that survival of the fittest (err survival of the hottest) would apply. And you have to factor in better hygiene and health-care in modern times.

      2. There are several people, who at initial glance, I found to be attractive but once I got to know their personality, it completely outweighed the attraction. I think personality has some connection to how attractive a person is perceived. On top of that, I think the way people hold themselves does too. Facial muscle movement is so subtle but it gives us subconscious impressions. A person who is always tense will display it on their face, objectively attractive or no. And suddenly, they aren’t so pretty anymore.

      3. What does this say about race? Objectively, symmetry is what defines beauty, but secondary beauty standards change over time. Media has a lot to do with what we consider “hot.” Awhile back, a symmetrical but slightly plump person would have been considered good-looking, whereas that’s not true now. So…back to race. If the media is always pushing a certain look (white) what does this say about automatic, unconscious reactions towards people of color when they apply for jobs, etc.?

  25. apronk says:

    Penelope,

    I love when your posts are so different than anything I’d find elsewhere. The fact that I agree or disagree has nothing to do with it – I appreciate all of your posts regardless of where I stand on each topic.

    That said, I just want to point out that you’ve got a decent set of blogging balls.

    Plastic surgery as a career must-have, didn’t see that post coming.

    Then the pubic hair comment.

    The content in your posts is never the same old dreck. You really try to shake things up every now and then. And I love that.

  26. Rose says:

    Not to slam you, Penelope, but your looks haven’t brought you to much success, have they?

  27. Dale says:

    Penny,

    It’s really sad when the packaging becomes as or more important than the contents, but that day dawned long ago. Having said that, I believe that one can work around one’s physical attributes, or the lack thereof, by branding one’s self.

    For example, everyone at my office goes to T.C. for IT help. He’s developed a niche for himself as the IT guru. No one can displace him from that position because he earned it through his smarts and credibility built over time. T.C. is also 5ft 9ish and weighs about 400lbs. He uses his wit he’s got a funny/sardonic sense of humor, and his integrity to engender trust and likeability. But he’s done this over time.

    Time is not the friend of the job applicant. In an interview it’s difficult for someone to prove her or himself worthier than others, but one can provide cues to establish one’s credibility as a candidate, over a better looking individual with the same qualifications.

    Life is a game. And learning to play has everything to do with strategy (also known as the optimal use of one’s resources).
    Making a end run around the rules by having surgery is okay for some, but is in my opinion, is unnecessary for most. Like the song says, “… use what you’ve got to get what you want.” It’s really all about intelligence and reading the situation. So hold the botox and fire up the ingenuity.

    Just my two cents worth.

  28. Muneerah says:

    I can’t imagine who’s surprised by this. Plastic surgery ‘features’ already have their own aesthetic. You know people have had work done and it doesn’t look good or bad (in most cases, hopefully), is just ‘is.’ We all accept and it looks normal to see people with plumped lips, pulled cheeks and no surpised facial expressions.

    My next thought after reading was ‘Can I use this post to justify the $145 moisturizer I’ve been fantisizing about?’ We’ll see, but for now, I’m going to rejoing my running group and make an orthodonist appointment.

  29. apronk says:

    Okay now my thoughts,

    1.) I still feel that the way a person carries themselves physically defines how one receives them (gracefulness, class, confidence). Above anything, these are key for a successful career. Plastic surgery and good looks alone won’t advance you if your overall physical personality is less than adequate.

    I think, regarding personal appearance, health plays a much bigger role than attractiveness. I imagine that the overweight have a more difficult time advancing their career versus a healthy but not so attractive person. Perhaps gastric bypass is the next career must-have?

    2.) If one must resort to plastic surgery for their career, let me remind you that it is very possible that this will not help you at all if you are lacking in other career-necessary areas.

    3.) Let me also remind you that it is nice to be able to move your entire face around rather than only have control of your lips *cough cough* Greta Van Susteren *cough cough*.

  30. GenerationXpert says:

    I know you are right about attractive people being more successful, but I still don’t think people should go under the knife for their careers. However, I also think you should let your garden grow.

  31. Coach Phil says:

    I love your Brazeness! You speak the truth and sometimes that’s hard for people to hear. You are only stating the facts. It is true that tall me are promoted quicker as they are perceived by others to be leaders.

    Keep the honesty coming…

  32. Bill says:

    Anyone who has set in the Doctor’s office and looked at the Drug Reps would not be suprised at this post. I never realized that there were so many cheerleaders who were biology majors.

  33. apronk says:

    Apparently the reasons for unattractive people not going far in the professional world all visit your blog (the Penelope bashers).

    @bashers, Grow up folks. Attitudes like that had already grown tired back in the days of riding the elementary school bus. Have you not advanced intellectually or emotionally since then? The preceding question is obviously rhetorical, because the evident answer is a resounding “no”.

    Anyway I came back because I forgot to comment on the topic of shaving one’s pubic assets. I honestly can’t imagine anyone putting that much thought into it. It’s hair people. Don’t over-analyze it. Hair grows. Things go back to normal if you realize you made a mistake. Spend your valuable brain time on more important things.

    I do, however, feel that every female needs to try it once. Just once. If you don’t like it, don’t do it again.

    Spoken like a true 20-something female, eh?

    • Heidi says:

      “Hair grows. Things go back to normal if you realize you made a mistake.”

      Other things can get cut during shaving accidents too. Who the hell wants to risk cutting her clitoris then trying to explain to the ER that it was an accident instead of someone trying to mutilate her genitals? Not me. I’d rather trim, keeping the blade *on* the hair and *off* the sensitive parts.l ;)

  34. sumayya says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for several months and haven’t said a word, but I can’t NOT react to this one.

    I agree good-looking people have advantages.

    I hope you are wrong about the trend you’ve predicted. Plastic surgery helps if you have a schnoz or something visibly out of proportion. It can help with your confidence in such a case.

    Plastic surgery will not help insecure “normal” looking people, because it will not have the positive effects on your confidence that you expect, and it’s that being-comfortable-in-one’s-own-skin that makes attractive people attractive in the first place. It can’t be faked.

    P.S. And guys who prefer the all-shaved female genitals should be dumped. I’m all for grooming, but I’m not going to look like a 5 year old.

  35. Vidya says:

    I actually disagree slightly. I think that a very good looking woman has a disadvantage because people are jealous/ automatically assume she’s a bimbo.

    I think it’s better to be “pleasant” looking than drop dead gorgeous. Otherwise you attract jealousy and unwanted attention.

    I speak as someone who is not beautiful but can be “pleasant” looking. I’ve never longed to be beautiful

  36. IMK says:

    I agree with you in principle (pretty people have it easier in life), but I also think that there aren’t that many truly ugly people around, either, just plenty who don’t take care of their appearance. Have you ever watched “What Not to Wear”? Many of the people on the show look so much better at the end, and they only change their clothes, makeup, and hair. I think doing that first will probably eliminate the need for majority of plastic surgeries. I think right now preference for plastic surgery is regional (LA, FL), and is more dictated by culture rather than “need”. You have to be very careful not to go overboard and end up looking like Joan Rivers. There are also many many people who prefer the natural look – my husband informed me that he’ll divorce me if I ever get plastic surgery (LOL! – I’m not ugly, but not a supermodel either). As far as shaving, he prefers the “groomed” rather than the bare look. Less work for me!

  37. Jennie says:

    I agree with Dale. Genuine self-worth and identity must come from within. Whether a person is traditionally beautiful or not so attractive, it’s a bad idea to tie up your sense of self with how you look. I firmly believe in working with what you’ve got. Every time I see a man or a woman who’s obviously had some sort of work done, my first reaction is mild sadness, not “that person is very attractive.” Most of the time the person looks like an older person trying desperately to run away from his or her age–especially if you look at the neck line or hands in comparison to the shiny plastic face. Invest your money in something a little more meaningful, or at least less risky. Plastic surgery won’t help with self-acceptance in the long term.

    * * * * * * * *
    It’s interesting that you should bring up self-worth. An interesting topic, but not actually part of the post, right? The topic of this post is your worth in the market place. I mean, that’s what a lot of career advice is – how to be the most valuable in the workplace, and how to have fun doing that. We are not our careers. Our careers are a part of us. Our self-worth comes from lots of different things, one of them being how much fun we have in the work we do.

    Penelope

  38. ralph says:

    Guys, gals who spend a lot of resource grooming have a great sense of insecurity
    and are inherently low on confidence, they just cant fake it for long. For perfectly normal looking people, going after a picture perfect look is not going to help them at all.

    All of us are going to age and maintaining good health is way rewarding then falling for insecurity of looks which the beauty industry and, (cant make it work for you) consultants tell you all the time.

  39. Enna says:

    It seems that people can’t have an intelligent discussion on a topic that is obviously relevent in the society we live in today. It is a fact that image and looks matter.

    Plastic surgery does not mean changing your looks, only when you go to a bad plastic surgeon. What it is about is improving on your exsisting features. It also boosts your self confidence, knowing that you look your best!

  40. kate says:

    Having undergone plastic surgery, I know I look the best! and I am soo.. confident, Now that’s intelligent.

    BTY, whenever I think of FL, LA now the first thing that comes to my mind is the housing bubble.

  41. Ed Borden says:

    Unless your picture on your header is photoshopped to all hell, I’d say you have no reason to be thinking about plastic surgery anyway. Look like a keeper to me!

    On the flip side, I’m sensing this extreme push toward the “sex sells” mentality from you recently. It seems like every post you’ve got some pretty wild references thrown in for good measure. I know you’ve got the abrasive thing pinned down as your style/gimmick/whatever, but if you’re as transparent in your writing as you seem to insinuate, I have to be semi-worried.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing you get back to the roots of the whole “useful-career-advice” thing. The whole shock-blog thing is losing me.

    But what do I know. You’re the one with the subscriber count out the roof, I’m sure.

  42. Julia Stone says:

    I have been in sales for years and it is just a truth in this business. Attractive people who are in good shape make more money. If they are lucky enough to have intelligence and common sense, they usually are top producers.

    This discussion reminds me of an ongoing argument I have with my mother. I can remember telling her I had started weight watchers because I made more money when I was thinner & I like to make more money. To me it is just a fact, but it made her irate. Mom felt it was grossly unfair that obese or average looking people who are smarter are paid less because of their appearance.

    I am a realist & don’t put any judgments to these societal truths. I am lucky enough to be good looking and have some intelligence, but I have to work hard at my weight and struggle with it regularly.

    Plastic surgery never occurred to me until I had my daughter 3 years ago. Now I am starting to see the slow effects of approaching 40 with alarming speed & it is not seeming as far fetched.

    Topics like these seem to spur so much emotion that I guess I shouldn’t be surprised to see the angry comments. After all, it is not a “fair” premise and we often cling to fairness as a truth.

  43. Jim Eiden says:

    I met you in person at an event in Chicago, and I wouldn’t change a thing if I were you.

    You are way better looking than your blog picture above.

    You are also in great shape.

    Now as far as plastic surgery goes, I wonder if Abraham Lincoln could get elected in this day and age of fast media (internet, TV). The camera just became commercialized when hewas in office.

    H. Ross Perot was a very successful sales rep for IBM. He is no Brad Pitt.

  44. Andrew says:

    There are more ways to persuade somebody to do something for you than just relying on that person liking you. Car sales people are almost never liked yet they can get you to make what is for most people the second largest monetary purchase of their lives.

    Check out the Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini and you might add some additional arrows to your quiver.

  45. h-j-s says:

    Here’s my prediction – this will be like getting a tattoo – all of the cool kids will do it, and then the next generation of kids will come along and see how foolish it is and -not- do it (preferring some unheretofore discovered way of annoying mom and dad) and some day VH-1 will show “I love the 2000’s” with washed-up D-list celebs cracking wise about all of that crazy plastic surgery.

    Entertainers (and make no mistake, that’s exactly what PT is if she wants to keep the gardener in rubber galoshes) have a completely warped perspective on the world and it’s only because of their access to mass media that the message gets passed on the those poor little 11 and 12 year old Athenas who just haven’t -realized- that they’re like, totally fat and they just need a little foundation to make a boy like them.

    So PT would probably say, yeah but that’s the world, let’s embrace it in all of its perversions and eccentricities because at the end of the day what matters is how happy I can convince myself I am. Or not.

  46. Jaclyn says:

    Although this is kind of provocative, I think you’re basically calling it like it is. Or will be…

    I admire people that will do what it takes to succeed, but this might be a little much. But maybe it’s just because I’m not used to the idea yet. Really enjoyed this post, Penelope!

  47. jake says:

    may be now you will write about sporting gadgets that show you care about creativity like apple products.

  48. flint says:

    …And look at Chelsea Clinton. She did a few changes just as she hit the adult world as a consultant at McKinsey. She's not an idiot, and she certainly does not seem obsessed by her appearance…

    That’s a great example.

  49. Becky Clontz says:

    As someone who is newly in the job market at oh my God, age 53, I can tell you that I’ve had to rethink sensible shoes, lose 15 lbs, snap up the wardrode (I’m so busy with this, I don’t have time to even think about what needs lifting) and improve my banter. And the truth is, I’m having a lot more positive results in this job search process – sad but true, proper grooming and an updated, healthy appearance gets you further down the road.

    Fair or not, you youngun’s will want to keep those gym memberships current at whatever cost!

  50. Tim2 says:

    Yes, Plastic Surgery is the way to go. Just ask Priscilla Presley. And boy, it’s so true that Bill Gates and Steve Balmer often get confused with George Clooney.

    A true sense of self-confidence is earned. You don’t purchase self-confidence.

    Your vision of the future is fairly bleak. It’s a sad world when we promote/idealize image over substance. More and more we are moving to a society where nothing is valued more than something. Where what you say is more important than what you do. Where spin becomes truth. Where one is admired for merely being controversial–even when what that person says is silly and trite. Where being provocative is more valued than possessing wisdom.

    Let us not forget that the road to hell is being paved by consultants.

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