You've stayed in school, stayed off drugs and made the right friends. Dollar bills should be raining down on you like a ticker tape parade, right?
Not if you've got these completely arbitrary factors working against you. Studies show that ...
5A Baby Face Earns More Money (If It's Black)
If given the chance, Science will jump over mountains to point out that we're more superficial than we think. The business world is no exception -- in fact, a study by Duke University found that "competent looks" had a direct correlation to the paycheck of a given CEO. The traits that implied competence were craggy, rugged, mature facial features, presumably because we want business leaders who go home to wrestle a bear in a log cabin. Fair enough.
But that study mostly involved white CEOs. A study of black CEOs found the exact opposite -- their success was directly related to how "baby-faced" they were.
"Give this man a pacifier and make him our new CFO!"
Here's how they figured out the correlation: Whiteys were shown 40 headshots of black men, white women and white men who were current or former CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. Then the subjects were asked to judge personalities based on the headshots, because we really don't judge people based on their headshots enough in this world. Did the people look competent? Warm and friendly? How much money did they make? Were they good in bed? Did they pee in the shower? You know, the usual things you can tell from a headshot.
So then things took a turn for the oddly specific. Black men who had rounder faces were perceived to not only earn more money but have higher positions within their companies. The crazy part was that those ridiculous predictions were right! The black guys with baby faces really did earn more money than their black counterparts who were more facially chiseled. Can you guess why? If your answer started with an "r" and rhymed with "fascism" if "fascism" had a long "a" sound, then you're right. One of the researchers put it this way:
To function effectively as an African-American male in the U.S. it helps to have a disarming mechanism.
"No, sir, his face is pretty square. I figured it's better to be safe than sorry, you know?"
And by "disarming mechanism," he means something that makes white people think you're not out to hurt them, even though they're asking for it by requiring a disarming mechanism in the first place. In this case, the thing that helped these real world CEOs get ahead in their field was something they couldn't help -- the shape of their face. But there are other times when a Harvard degree, friendly smiles or a pair of suspenders can do the trick. Look at President Obama, after all. No one can say that lean BHO is sporting a baby face. Except the president happens to have another trick up his sleeve:
Big ears or a simple smile can disarm one's appearance from suggested perceptions of threat that might otherwise be associated with black males. This could serve to increase the appeal of the president or even one of Hollywood's most successful actors -- Will Smith.
Plus, you know he was only in one little fight before his mom stepped in and rewarded him with luxury.
4Your Name Defines Your Path
Here's one more reason future historians will be baffled by Arnold Schwarzenegger's biography: Research shows that people with hard-to-pronounce names are far less likely to be hired or promoted. That's regardless of race or background -- a white American male named Steve Jones has a better chance than the exact same guy named Pfifillnx Bl'xnes.
"What? This is bullshit! We'll see what the ACLU has to say about this!"
Why? Well, people just get a better first impression from someone whose name they don't trip over, and studies show they even feel better about themselves when saying a more pronounceable name. That little bit of embarrassment and self-consciousness a boss feels when worrying if he or she is saying a name right can make the difference between a job offer and an awkwardly mispronounced rejection.
But a person's name starts charting their destiny long before they even get to the job stage. For instance, as we've mentioned before, parents should think long and hard before bestowing "unique" or "stupid" names upon their children. A batshit insane name can put a kid on the fast track to a life of orange jumpsuits and prison tattoos -- kids with "creative" names are statistically more likely to commit crimes later on in life.
"I don't know about this, pXr14. What if we get caught?"
And if you give a boy a feminine name like Shelby or Alexis or Sue, he's much more likely to have behavioral problems, just like Johnny Cash prophesied. But here's the catch: The trouble doesn't start until junior high, when your boy named Tracy is suddenly thrown into a mix of kids who haven't heard his name for the last six years and are also in junior high. At that point, a boy with a traditionally girly name is one-third more likely to end up in detention for acting out. So that sucks for the kid whose parents were blind to the fact that boys don't like having girls' names. But it also sucks for his classmates, because guess what happens when you're sharing a classroom with a little boy badass named Molly? The teacher is forced to manage angry Molly instead of teach. And everyone suffers. Experts estimate that for every disruptive kid in a class of 30, his or her peers' math scores drop by 2.2 national percentile points.
Not that the news is entirely bad. After all, not only are girls with masculine names more likely to be interested in math and science, but female lawyers with butch names are three times more likely to become judges.
All rise! The Honorable Razorback Hulkhogan presiding.