Order Big, Be Large, and Raise Your Status at Work

Dec 13, 2013

LinkedIn buzzword recruiter listIf hard work and being a team player hasn’t done the trick for you, there’s another, simpler way to raise your status: order large pizzas and venti coffees.

Researchers studying the relationship between cultural influences and food choices a few years ago found people associate bigger with greater social status. You know the drill; bigger house, bigger car, and, it seems, super-sized food choices.

Now why is a two-year-old study suddenly popping up? Because Andrew O’Connell, who authors the Daily Stat blog at the Harvard Business Review, mentioned it in a post on Quartz and seeing it made me think of all the other studies and surveys I’ve dismissed but now want to tell you about.

For instance, there’s the study that says male CEOs are more likely to be fat than other men their age. But a chubby woman isn’t likely to be heading a company.

“This reflects a greater tolerance and possibly even a preference for a larger size among men but a smaller size among women,” the researchers write in the study.

Another study finds very thin women earn more — $22,000 on average — than their average female counterparts. But as they pack on the pounds from those ventis and large pizzas, they gain status, but lose money. At the “very heavy”end of the scale, the Florida researchers found women earn almost $19,000 less.

If ordering big at the takeout counter isn’t your thing, shave your head. At Wharton (yes indeed, prestigious Wharton), researchers found that men with shaved heads were perceived to be taller and stronger than men with a full head of hair. The study used pictures of the same men with all their hair and without.

Men whose hair was merely thinning are seen as less attractive and older.

Several studies show a correlation between height and earnings. In 2004, a study reported in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that every inch of height above the national average was worth an extra $789 a year in pay. (More today, thanks to inflation.)

If you happen to be 6’11” and can make 90 percent of your attempts from outside the three-point line, those extra inches are worth about $10 million more a year.

The Survey du Jour

LinkedIn buzzword profile listEnough of these surveys, here’s a different one from the good people at LinkedIn.

In years past — and again this year — they’ve collected the most overused words on profiles, finding to no recruiter’s surprise that “responsible” again this year made the top 10. It came in at No. 1, and was found to be used twice as often as the next most popular word, “strategic.”

Turnabout being fair and all that, those zany LinkedIn folks screened the profiles of recruiters worldwide only to discover that “responsible” and “strategic” are No. 1 and No. 2 for you people.

Blogging about the results, LinkedIn data scientists Christine Choi noted,

Interestingly, when compared to marketers and salespeople, recruiters are a lot less likely to emphasize qualities like “creative” and “competitive” and show higher preference for “exceptional” and “organizational.”

I wouldn’t start gloating if I was a marketer or sales professional. For Christine to be able to write what she did, it suggests someone has been looking at your buzzwords.

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