Is Being a Jerk Good for Your Career?

Is being a jerk beneficial to your career? According to, it might be the case. A list of six things that sound bad for your career—but just might be good:

Being a jerk.

In a study at the University of Western Ontario and Notre Dame, people who rated themselves as being “more disagreeable” than coworkers made nearly $10,000 more per year. The same survey asked students to hire someone from a list of fake applicants. Those people listed as “more agreeable” were less likely to get the job, even though they had equal qualifications.

Being a sexist.

In the years from 1979 to 2005, the Bureau of Labor Statistics interviewed 13,000 people about gender roles. Men with “traditional” attitudes about women in the workforce made an average of $12,000 more a year. Researchers concluded that if a man believes women should stay at home with the kids, he’s under pressure to make more money—as a desire to be the sole breadwinner.

Growing a mustache.

Many companies persuade against growing facial hair. Research by the American Mustache Institute (a real organization) says men with mustaches get over four percent more revenue than clean-shaven men, as well as eight percent more than men with beards.

Gaining weight, but only if you are a man.

In a report in the Journal of Applied Psychology, men 25 pounds below average weight earn about $8,500 less annually. Furthermore, the more a man weighs, the more he brings in. On the other hand, women earn more if they weigh less, those 25 pounds below average gain over $15,000 more annually than women of normal weight do.

Being less attractive, but only if you are a woman.

One would think attractiveness is always beneficial for a career. Not so much, says one study. “Plain” looking women were more likely to get hired than gorgeous women. The reason? Women go through human resources, and the HR person interviewing them first is usually a young, single woman. With that in mind, sexuality doesn’t matter in their first meeting, maybe putting them at a disadvantage.

Going out drinking.

Yes, but there’s a limit. In a study by the Journal of Labor Research, social drinkers earn seven percent more than non-drinkers do; people who go to bars on a regular basis earn 10 to 14 percent more.


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