There’s a disturbing report out this week (CNN) linking a resurgence in plastic surgery not to an increase in wealth and consumer confidence, but from job hunters and employees seeking youthful looks. People are figuring they’ll either be more likely to land that job if they look younger or they’ll be less likely to be laid off for not looking “old”. This seems to be taking the job hunt to completely absurd levels to me.
Is Looking Old Costing People Jobs?
I wonder if this is more the perception amongst frantic employees and job-seekers versus the actual reality from the corporate office. Here are a few reasons I don’t think plastic surgery would even be remotely worth the cost and risk in either landing or retaining a job:
- Plastic surgery can only make you look marginally younger. Perhaps some Botox or a facelift might make you look a couple years younger, but if you’re fearful that your age is a factor, shifting from looking 60 to 57 probably isn’t going to make much difference, is it? And in about 50% of the people I know, it went “kinda wrong”. Sometimes they look better, or sometimes they look like the Joker when they’re done. So, there’s significant risk in actually making yourself look, well, strange.
- It’s pretty easy to find out how old you are anyway. If a hiring manager is hung up on your age, they can reasonably deduce how old you are. Your resume is pretty telling obviously – from your college graduation date, or even if you’ve excluded that, then when you started working. For existing employees, people tend to know how old your kids are, how long you’ve been around, even office birthday parties or whatever. It’s no secret. Surgery won’t change the perception or history of your tenure/age.
- You’d probably be targeted for a layoff regardless. The reason older employees are often targeted for layoff isn’t their age per se. It’s often what goes along with being an older employee. This is the harsh reality and illegal or not, behind closed doors, this is what HR and execs focus on: Older employees are perceived to have a higher salary per given output, higher healthcare premiums/costs for small businesses especially, and lower future potential. A 30 year old employee has a much higher likelihood of being a future leader with the company than a 60 year old in the same middle management position. Again, while it’s messed up and doesn’t reflect the reality of many high performing tenured workers, this is the perception of the (often younger) decision makers.
- Your money and efforts could have been better spent on job searches and exercise. If instead of dropping $10K and lots of sick time and doctor’s visits on consultations and surgery one had spent that money and time on eating healthier, exercise programs, equipment, etc., who knows, you might end up looking younger and actually living longer to boot! Personally, I like to invest in the natural approach and hope that shows through in my discipline, drive and output at work rather than cosmetic approaches.
Granted, looks do matter in the workplace (especially in Pharma Sales!). But there’s no guarantee, or even decent likelihood in my opinion that surgery would make a difference in outcomes for the vast majority of applicants.
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What Are Your Thoughts on Age, Looks and the Workplace?