Thursday, 8 January 2009

Taller people take home taller earnings

Here is a study saying, in essence, and in general, taller people earn higher wages (than shorter ones).

I found interesting the analysis, if you can call the little bit of Herald scribbling around the findings 'analysis'.

Taller people earn more, the theory went on, because of childhood. If you're taller it seems that you have probably had a healthier childhood and more healthy people are more likely to reach their full height potential as well as their cognitive potential.

Now, let's just pause a minute.

Firstly, I'm not saying this mightn't have something to do with it, but let's just look at some glaringly obvious things the article fails to mention altogether.

1. Some people are just naturally tall. Even if they were fed all the good brans and vegetables in the world, they wouldn't get to the 6 feet that some malnourished person would. In fact that goes for lots of people - they have their natural approximate adult height already set. I'm sorry, I don't think that the fact that I'm not 7 feet tall has anything to do with the fact that I didn't eat enough greens as a kid. A person can reach their full height potential, be 4 feet 6 inches and shorter than most of the population, and also have reached their full cognitive potential because they've grown up majorly healthy. In fact plenty of people are like that. Where do they fit in on this chart?

2. The possibility that it goes the other way round - tallness doesn't necessarily reflect brainpower which earns money. Many people are intimidated or impressed by tall people and these people use that power to gain higher status and jobs that earn more money, negotiate better in pay reviews, and so forth. Tallness can also be a symbol of beauty or power in our society which gains admiration from others, and allows these people to network better or leverage pay or position, or get away with folly. This was hinted at but not explicitly said when the article said that good teeth were a good thing to have as well as height!

3. The fact that 'full cognitive potential realised' doesn't always equal good pay. Some of the richest people around aren't exactly the brainiacs in case people haven't noticed. They usually are smart enough to lever what they have and make the most of it, but they aren't necessarily the most inventive, the most creative, the most profound, the most deep thinking, the most analytical, the most knowledgeable people around.

All this being said, if height and good teeth are the secret to good pay, I would say, if you have got them, why not flaunt them?

I have pretty ok teeth.

I hate high-heeled shoes (they make me shorter not taller as I end up falling flat on my face in them) but I am thinking of going to my next job interview in a par of stilts made from two tin cans and pieces of string.

Anyone remember those? That'll look so cool, I will most certainly get my tin can in the door on that job and the cash will all be mine.

Theory to be tested next time. I think.


TimT said...

Wear springs to job interviews! Employees wouldn't be sure whether you were tall or short or you kept changing, true, but just imagine what they'd say afterwards:

"Well, she has a bouncy attitude, that's for sure - and a spring in her step!"
"And I think we can overlook that bit where she accidentally bounced through the ceiling while talking about hours..."

Maria said...

makeup mean people will think you have a sparkly personality?

If you take in a torch will they go on about how you light up the room?

If you bring in a shovel and start to dig will they go on about how you have real depth? Or maybe if you wear trousers with an oversized seat?

nailpolishblues said...

I'm not terribly tall but I find that being taller than your interviewer is always awkward. Doubly so if the interviewer is a boob heighted man. Meh, little men make me nervous anyway.

Maria said...

This, nails, is when you must take affirmative action and instead of wearing heels into an interview, come in with a little footstool - and promptly offer it to your interviewer. Or say, "Please stand, I'll sit."

Something like that.

Comfort's important.