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- 05/26/15--08:28: _Here's the truth ab...
- 05/27/15--08:23: _Researchers may hav...
- 05/27/15--13:02: _This chart perfectl...
- 05/29/15--07:20: _Here's where MacArt...
- 05/30/15--04:41: _Ivy leaguer explain...
- 05/31/15--06:30: _Your email typos re...
- 05/31/15--12:07: _Why it pays to be a...
- 06/01/15--09:04: _If you're not dropp...
- 06/01/15--14:30: _Yes, 'cultural fit'...
- 06/02/15--13:17: _If you're financial...
- 06/03/15--08:28: _The 9 highest-payin...
- 06/04/15--08:50: _13 things you shoul...
- 06/04/15--09:28: _21 things you shoul...
- 06/04/15--12:04: _10 body-language se...
- 06/05/15--08:41: _Researchers have a ...
- 06/06/15--17:38: _Drug testing is bas...
- 06/07/15--05:00: _Millennials are twi...
- 06/07/15--08:15: _13 things every pro...
- 06/07/15--10:13: _How a 19-year-old h...
- 06/08/15--12:45: _StumbleUpon CEO rev...
- 05/26/15--08:28: Here's the truth about how job-hopping affects your career
- 05/29/15--07:20: Here's where MacArthur 'geniuses' went to college
- Harvard University: 72 fellows
- Princeton University: 28 fellows
- University of California, Berkeley: 20 fellows
- 05/31/15--06:30: Your email typos reveal more about you than you realize
- 05/31/15--12:07: Why it pays to be a jerk
- 06/01/15--14:30: Yes, 'cultural fit' matters — but it may not mean what you think
- 06/03/15--08:28: The 9 highest-paying jobs with openings right now
- 06/04/15--08:50: 13 things you should never say on your first day at work
- 06/04/15--09:28: 21 things you should do on your first day of work
- 06/04/15--12:04: 10 body-language secrets of highly successful people
- 6 Genuine Ways to Really Stand Out at Work
- The Undercover Interview Can Be the Best Interview
- The One Question Every Successful Person Asks
- 06/07/15--08:15: 13 things every professional should accomplish before turning 30
- 06/08/15--12:45: StumbleUpon CEO reveals the personality type he loves to hire
As the job market has shifted over the past several decades (and especially after the recession), job-hopping is on the rise, and it doesn't look like the trend will be stopping any time soon.
Career experts have been debating the merits of job-hopping for a while now, many citing that it's a bad idea. It turns out, however, that there can be some benefits to quickly moving from job to job up the career ladder. Sound intriguing? Check out the infographic below from Ajilon.
With less privacy and personal space, surviving an open office can be hard work.
But new research reveals one possible trick that could immensely help boost your focus and mood amidst the bustle of an open floor plan: listening to sounds of nature.
"Besides the feeling of being cramped, with disruptive nearby conversations that you shouldn't hear or don't want to hear, smaller, open work spaces can have broader implications," Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and the author of "Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job,"previously told Business Insider.
The implications are an overwhelming decrease in people's ability to focus and get work done.
But the decrease in productivity isn't caused by noise in general, Cambridge Sound Management acoustical expert Justin Stout told Fast Company last year — distractions from intelligible sound force us to shift focus from our work to figuring out what someone is saying. Speech distracts about 48% of office workers according to a 2008 study.
Some offices attempt to alleviate these distractions with sound masking, the acoustic technique of adding an unobtrusive background sound to a room so that speech is rendered virtually unintelligible.
But while random steady state electronic noise — often referred to as white noise — is currently the most common sound funneled into offices these days, a new study from researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute could change all that.
In previous studies lead by Jonas Braasch, an acoustician and musicologist at RPI, researchers found that people's ability to regain focus improved when they were exposed to sounds of nature like ocean waves, a babbling brook, or rain.
Braasch's current study now investigates whether natural sounds may be used as an alternative to white noise and challenges the convention that background sound should be as meaningless as possible.
The study exposes participants to three sounds while performing a task that requires focus: typical office noises masked by white noise, office noises masked by natural sound, and typical office noises with no sound mask.
The natural sound used in the experiment was designed to mimic the sound of flowing water in a mountain stream.
"The mountain stream sound possessed enough randomness that it did not become a distraction,"explained Braasch's graduate student Alana DeLoach in a press release. "This is a key attribute of a successful masking signal."
The researchers noted in their study abstract that sounds of nature can mask intelligible speech just as well as white noise, and it also enhances cognitive functioning, optimizes the ability to concentrate, and increases overall worker satisfaction.
The next time you're driven to distraction by coworkers, you could try blasting the sweet, sweet tunes of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Here's a ten-hour track to get you started.
SEE ALSO: 8 tips for surviving in an open office
Millennials may have just surpassed Gen Xers to become the largest segment of the American workforce — more than one in three workers are between ages 18 and 34, according to Pew — but that doesn't mean hiring managers understand what they want from their jobs.
On Wednesday at the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, venture capitalist and former Wall Street analyst Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers presented her annual report on the state of the web.
It highlighted data on the relationship between millennials and hiring managers that suggests, despite the near-endless quest to understand What Millennials Really Want, hiring managers are still clueless.
According to stats from a 2011 survey, almost half of hiring managers believe "high pay" is most important to millennials, compared to only 27% of actual millennials.
Meanwhile, managers significantly underestimate how much millennials prioritize "meaningful work" and the importance they place on feeling a "sense of accomplishment."
While these stats are few years old now, they're consistent with everything else we know about the "Full House" generation: They want jobs with a sense of purpose. They want steady feedback. They care about having a sense of accomplishment. And yes, they also want to be paid (and not just in free snacks).
And given that millennials are both the present and future of the workforce, it's essential for managers to wise up.
Not that everyone's confused, of course. According to a study from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, it seems like Google's got it mostly figured out.
NOW WATCH: 5 things you should never put on your résumé
Good news, graduates! If you went to Harvard, you could be a genius. And if you didn't go to Harvard? You could still be a genius. At least, according to new data from the MacArthur Foundation.
The institution, which each year offers its prestigious MacArthur Fellowships (also known as "genius" grants) for exceptional creativity, crunched the numbers to see which schools have historically produced the most recipients.
While the top MacArthur fellow producer is — yes — Harvard, the vast majority of winners didn't go there. They didn't go to Ivies or other private research universities at all. In fact, one in five went to a school that accepts more than 50% of applicants, some went to community colleges, and a not-insignificant number skipped college altogether.
To be fair, the schools that have produced the most fellows aren't particularly surprising. The top three are:
Yet the vast array of schools represented — 315 in total — is striking. It proves that your trajectory isn't dictated by your alma mater, argues Cecelia Conrad, vice president of the MacArthur Fellows program, in a Huffington Post article. "What also matters is the student's active engagement in the educational experience," she says. It's not so much where you go, but what you do with it.
That said, if you really want a MacArthur Fellowship, you might want to consider liberal arts colleges, which account for a disproportionate number of "geniuses"— 2% of all college grads went to liberal arts colleges, compared to 14% of MacArthur fellows.
It's probably not that these schools admit more creative students than other kinds of schools, Conrad says, but they seem to nourish creativity more. Or as she puts it, "something must be more likely to happen to a student at these institutions than at other institutions that allows creativity to flourish. I argue that something is a true liberal education."
The bottom line: College is what you make of it, and it's possible to cultivate the kind of creativity that wins you a MacArthur at "almost any institution"— or even no institution at all.
NOW WATCH: Here's how to form better habits faster
Ivy league universities are notoriously difficult to get into. Great academics and extracurriculars will get you far, but often it comes down to who you know.
Since not everyone has an aunt or uncle working in admissions at top-teir universities, we looked at a Quora thread that posed the question: What are some Ivy League admissions stories?
Entrepreneur and Princeton grad Lev Berlin of ReciPal gave our favorite answer:
This is the story I tell whenever someone asks me how I got into Princeton, mostly because that question is always awkward and begets SAT score questions, which isn't a very exciting topic. Anyway, back to 2003.
We had an array of hall monitors in my high school, most of whom were older women who had retired or wanted a relaxing not-quite full-time job. Some were moms of classmates, others locals - they were all generally friendly, some a little cranky and more on the disciplinarian side.
One though, Rose, was the sweetest woman. She would always chat us up at lunch, make sure we were staying out of trouble, ask how classes and sports were going. Just a really friendly lady who knew we were good kids and cared about our success. We didn't know much about her other than that she was the "cool" one and took a liking to us. We appreciated that.
Come spring semester senior year, everyone is waiting on college admissions and Rose knew that I had applied early to Princeton. Around the week or so that you'd expect to hear back, she would ask me every SINGLE day - "Lev, did you hear from Princeton? Did you get in?" Without fail, every single day. She took an interest, but this was a bit much for me. "Rose, I'll tell you when I know."
One afternoon that week I came home early because I had a few free periods toward the end of the day and didn't have sports practice or anything after school. I peeked in the mailbox and found a big fat letter from Princeton. Good sign. Open it up and the first word is "YES!".
Naturally, I was a pretty excited 17-year-old and drove back to school to tell everybody. It was still the middle of a class period so nobody was around. Except, of course, Rose, hanging out by the main hallway door.
"ROSE! I GOT IN!"
"I know! I'm so excited for you!"
"Huh? What do you mean, you know?"
"It's been killing me these last few days not telling you, but I've known for the last week. That's why I've been asking you every day."
Ummm...what?! You're the lunch lady, the hall monitor. What could you possibly know about my college admissions before I do? Isn't that kind of sensitive information?
Turns out, before Rose retired she was the executive assistant to an important and wealthy business person who also happened to be a Princeton alumnus and have some power in the University (presumably via large donations).
When she found out I applied and it was around admissions time, she made a phone call to her good friend and former boss. He made his own phone calls and reported back that I got in, apparently on my own. I'll never know if I got in on my own or not, but Rose and everyone else are convinced I did. I get the feeling that if I hadn't, this guy would have changed that for Rose.
Either way, when people ask how I got into Princeton I tell them my lunch lady got me in. Or at least she would have had the need arisen.
Be nice to your lunch ladies, people. They'll get you into college.
Like mortality, typos are part of the human condition. Someday we'll all die, and someday we'll all send an email with scrambled letters.
We are born alone, we die alone, and we misplace the occasional vowel alone.
But according to Andrew Brodsky, a doctoral candidate at Harvard Business School, those unintentional errors may be expressing more than we think.
Typos, he suggests, aren't just occasionally embarrassing mistakes — they're a window into our emotions.
When you talk to someone face to face, there are a lot of unintentional cues that let on how you really feel about something.
"It's very difficult to control all of your facial features," he points out. "We have unintentional displays. We grimace, we frown, we look away."
But none of that happens in email. Emotionally, it's "cheap," he says. "Things don't tend to slip through, because you can reread it before sending it."
For all its pitfalls, email affords us almost total control of our emotional presentation (even if we tend to misjudge what that presentation is).
So far, most of the research in email communication has focused on intentional cues — capitalization, word usage, emoji. But Brodsky suggests that email contains unintentional emotional cues too.
Is it possible that our typos are giving our bosses, colleagues, partners, and mothers an unedited glimpse at our raw feelings?
The short answer: yes.
When Brodsky had test subjects read an angry email from a fictional sender, they saw that person as angrier when the note had typos. When he did the same with a joyful email, the results were the same: The typos made the sender come across as even more joyful.
Brodsky likens typos to "putting your fist in the air." They're an emotional amplifier. "In a situation where someone should be proud, if they have their fist in the air, it makes them seem even more proud," he says. "If they're angry, it makes them seem more angry."
But before you start amplifying all your emotions — emmotions?— consider that unmediated authenticity comes at a cost.
While people saw the senders as having stronger feelings, they also saw them as less intelligent. "Typos suggested to email readers that sender's decisions and actions were being driven by emotion rather than deliberate cognition," Brodsky wrote in last year's "Academy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings."
It's possible, though, that there may be a time and a place for a strategic typo or two. "I haven't tested a situation yet where there are clear benefits to using typos over the intelligence loss," he says, but theoretically the idea makes sense.
If emailed emotions come cheap, then in cases where the benefits of seeming authentic would outweigh the benefits of seeming smart, wouldn't the occasional typo make you come across as being even more sincere? Condolences, for example, or enthusiastic congratulations.
As he notes in the Harvard Business Review, the fact that you'll seem less smart is what makes you seem authentic. "What makes errors so believable is that they make you seem less competent: Why would someone ever make a typo if they were trying to impress me?"
That's part of the reason that particularly powerful people come off as even more likable when they make occasional mistakes. They're human, like us.
While we wait for further research — and Brodsky is working on it — it's probably safest to continue to spell-check our emails and proof our texts. But if you do happen to slip up on the keyboard, take heart: You're just being authentic.
NOW WATCH: How To Get People To Reply To Your Emails
Smile at the customer. Bake cookies for your colleagues. Sing your subordinates’ praises. Share credit. Listen. Empathize. Don’t drive the last dollar out of a deal. Leave the last doughnut for someone else.
Sneer at the customer. Keep your colleagues on edge. Claim credit. Speak first. Put your feet on the table. Withhold approval. Instill fear. Interrupt. Ask for more. And by all means, take that last doughnut. You deserve it.
Follow one of those paths, the success literature tells us, and you’ll go far. Follow the other, and you’ll die powerless and broke. The only question is, which is which?
Of all the issues that preoccupy the modern mind—Nature or nurture? Is there life in outer space? Why can’t America field a decent soccer team?—it’s hard to think of one that has attracted so much water-cooler philosophizing yet so little scientific inquiry. Does it pay to be nice? Or is there an advantage to being a jerk?
We have some well-worn aphorisms to steer us one way or the other, courtesy of Machiavelli (“It is far better to be feared than loved”), Dale Carnegie (“Begin with praise and honest appreciation”), and Leo Durocher (who may or may not have actually said “Nice guys finish last”). More recently, books like The Power of Nice and The Upside of Your Dark Side have continued in the same vein: long on certainty, short on proof.
So it was a breath of fresh air when, in 2013, there appeared a book that brought data into the debate. The author, Adam Grant, is a 33-year-old Wharton professor, and his best-selling book, Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success, offers evidence that “givers”—people who share their time, contacts, or know-how without expectation of payback—dominate the top of their fields.
“This pattern holds up across the board,” Grant wrote—from engineers in California to salespeople in North Carolina to medical students in Belgium. Salted with anecdotes of selfless acts that, following a Horatio Alger plot, just happen to have been repaid with personal advancement, the book appears to have swung the tide of business opinion toward the happier, nice-guys-finish-first scenario.
And yet suspicions to the contrary remain—fueled, in part, by another book: Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson. The average business reader, worried Tom McNichol in an online article for The Atlantic soon after the book’s publication, might come away thinking: “See! Steve Jobs was an asshole and he was one of the most successful businessmen on the planet. Maybe if I become an even bigger asshole I’ll be successful like Steve.”
McNichol is not alone. Since Steve Jobs was published in 2011, “I think I’ve had 10 conversations where CEOs have looked at me and said, ‘Don’t you think I should be more of an asshole?’ ” says Robert Sutton, a professor of management at Stanford, whose book, The No Asshole Rule, nonetheless includes a chapter titled “The Virtues of Assholes.”
Lacking an Adam Grant to weave them together, the data that support a counter-case remain disconnected. But they do exist.
At the University of Amsterdam, researchers have found that semi-obnoxious behavior not only can make a person seem more powerful, but can make them more powerful, period. The same goes for overconfidence. Act like you’re the smartest person in the room, a series of striking studies demonstrates, and you’ll up your chances of running the show.
People will even pay to be treated shabbily: snobbish, condescending salespeople at luxury retailers extract more money from shoppers than their more agreeable counterparts do. And “agreeableness,” other research shows, is a trait that tends to make you poorer.
“We believe we want people who are modest, authentic, and all the things we rate positively” to be our leaders, says Jeffrey Pfeffer, a business professor at Stanford. “But we find it’s all the things we rate negatively”—like immodesty—“that are the best predictors of higher salaries or getting chosen for a leadership position.”
Pfeffer is concerned for his M.B.A. students: “Most of my students have a problem because they’re way too nice.”
He tells a story about a former student who visited his office. The young man had been kicked out of his start-up by—Pfeffer speaks the words incredulously—the Stanford alumni mentor he himself had invited into his company. Had there been warning signs?, Pfeffer asked. Yes, said the student. He hadn’t heeded them, because he’d figured the mentor was too big of a deal in Silicon Valley to bother meddling in his little affairs.
“What happens if you put a python and a chicken in a cage together?,” Pfeffer asked him. The former student looked lost. “Does the python ask what kind of chicken it is? No. The python eats the chicken. And that’s what she”—the alumni mentor—“does. She eats people like you for breakfast.”
In Grant’s framework, the mentor in this story would be classified as a “taker,” which brings us to a major complexity in his findings. Givers dominate not only the top of the success ladder but the bottom, too, precisely because they risk exploitation by takers. It’s a nuance that’s often lost in the book’s popular rendering. “I’ve become the nice-guys-finish-first guy,” he told me.
Give and Take seeks to pinpoint what, exactly, separates successful givers from “doormat” givers (the subtleties of which we will return to). But it does not consider what separates successful jerks, like Steve Jobs, from failed ones like … well, Steve Jobs, who was pushed out of his start-up by the mentor he’d recruited, in 1985.
The fact is, me-first behavior is highly adaptive in certain professional situations, just like selflessness is in others. The question is, why—and, for those inclined to the instrumental, how can you distinguish between the two?
In the summer of 2008, a popular surfing spot in California was frequented by a surfer named Lance, to whom we should be grateful. Lance thought every wave was his, so when a fellow surfer, Aaron James, grabbed a wave well within the bounds of surfing etiquette, James was subjected, like many before and after him, to a profanity-laced diatribe.
What an asshole, James thought as he picked up his board.
Philosophers since Aristotle have been obsessed with categories, and James—who got a doctorate in philosophy at Harvard and teaches at the University of California at Irvine—is no exception. What did I mean, exactly, by asshole? he wondered.
James honed a definition that he finally published in his 2012 book, Assholes: A Theory. Formally stated, “The asshole (1) allows himself to enjoy special advantages and does so systematically; (2) does this out of an entrenched sense of entitlement; and (3) is immunized by his sense of entitlement against the complaints of other people.”
What separates the asshole from the psychopath is that he engages in moral reasoning (he understands that people have rights; his entitlement simply leads him to believe his rights should take precedence). That this reasoning is systematically, and not just occasionally, flawed is what separates him from merely being an ass. (Linguistics backs up the distinction: ass comes from the Latin assinus, for “donkey,” while the hole is in the arras, the Hittite word for “buttocks.”)
James wasn’t focused on whether assholes get ahead or not. But I ran his definition past a management professor who is: Donald Hambrick, of Penn State. He told me it sounded “almost identical” to academic psychology’s definition of narcissism—a trait Hambrick measured in CEOs and then plotted against the performance of their companies, in a 2007 study with Arijit Chatterjee.
Measuring narcissism was tricky, Hambrick said. Self-reporting was not exactly an option, so he chose a set of indirect measures: the prominence of each CEO’s picture in the company’s annual report; the size of the CEO’s paycheck compared with that of the next-highest-paid person in the company; the frequency with which the CEO’s name appeared in company press releases. Lastly, he looked at the CEO’s use of pronouns in press interviews, comparing the frequency of the first-person plural with that of the first-person singular. Then he rolled all the results into a single narcissism indicator.
How did the narcissists fare? Hambrick had been “hoping against hope,” he confessed, to find that they tended to lead their companies down the toilet. “Because that’s what we all hope—that there’s this day of reckoning, a comeuppance.” Instead, he found that the narcissists were like Grant’s givers: they clustered near both extremes of the success spectrum.
This U-shaped distribution, Hambrick grudgingly allows, suggests that “there is such a thing as a useful narcissist.” Narcissistic CEOs, he found, tend to be gamblers. Compared with average CEOs, they are more likely to make high-profile acquisitions (in an effort to feed the narcissistic need for a steady stream of adulation). Some of these splashy moves work out. Others don’t. But “to the extent that innovation and risk taking are in short supply in the corporate world”—an assertion few would contest—“narcissists are the ones who are going to step up to the plate.”
Of course, that says nothing about how narcissists (or takers, or jerks) get to the executive suite in the first place. Grant argues that many takers are good at hiding their unpleasant side from potential benefactors—at “kissing up and kicking down,” as the saying goes—which is undoubtedly part of the story: a number of studies indicate that takers show one face to superiors, whence promotions flow, and another to peers and underlings. But that isn’t the entire story. It turns out that undisguised heelish behavior can often help you get ahead.
Consider the following two scenes. In the first, a man takes a seat at an outdoor café in Amsterdam, carefully examines the menu before returning it to its holder, and lights a cigarette. When the waiter arrives to take his order, he looks up and nods hello. “May I have a vegetarian sandwich and a sweet coffee, please?” he asks. “Thank you.”
In the second, the same man takes the same seat at the same outdoor café in Amsterdam. He puts his feet up on an adjoining seat, taps his cigarette ashes onto the ground, and doesn’t bother putting the menu back into its holder. “Uh, bring me a vegetarian sandwich and a sweet coffee,” he grunts, staring past the waiter into space. He crushes the cigarette under his shoe.
Dutch researchers staged and filmed each scene as part of a 2011 study designed to examine “norm violations.” Research stretching back to at least 1972 had shown that power corrupts, or at least disinhibits. High-powered people are more likely to take an extra cookie from a common plate, chew with their mouths open, spread crumbs, stereotype, patronize, interrupt, ignore the feelings of others, invade their personal space, and claim credit for their contributions.
“But we also thought it could be the other way around,” Gerben van Kleef, the study’s lead author, told me. He wanted to know whether breaking rules could help people ascend to power in the first place.
Yes, he found. The norm-violating version of the man in the video was, in the eyes of viewers, more likely to wield power than his politer self. And in a series of follow-up studies involving different pairs of videos, participants, responding to prompts, made statements such as “I would like this person as my boss” and “I would give this person a promotion.”
The conditions had to be right (more on this later), but when they were, rule breakers were more likely to be put in charge.
“There’s surprisingly little work on this, if you ask me,” van Kleef told me. But the new field of evolutionary leadership has shed some light on the matter. Instead of asking why some people bully or violate norms, researchers are asking: Why doesn’t everyone?
There was a time in mankind’s history—well, prehistory—when being a bully was the only route to the top. We know this, explains Jon Maner, an evolutionary psychologist at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, by deduction.
Every last species of animal except Homo sapiensdetermines pecking order according to physical strength and physical strength alone. This is true of the seemingly congenial dolphin, whose tooth-and-fin battles for status resemble Hobbes’s “war of everyone against everyone.” And it is true even of our closest cousin, the chimpanzee.
“For animals, a victory or a defeat is not complicated to interpret,” says Robert Faris, a sociologist at UC Davis. If you were to screen the movie Cool Hand Lukefor an audience of chimps—something he has not done—they would have no trouble determining who prevails in the prison boxing scene: the hulking boss, Dragline, beats Luke until the title character can barely stand. But the next scene would leave the chimps scratching their heads. Luke, the loser, has become the new leader of the prisoners.
A human moviegoer could attempt to explain. Because Luke kept getting up out of the dirt, even when he was beat, he won the other prisoners’ respect. But the chimps would just not get it. “That’s a complexity of humans,” Faris says: it was not until after the human-chimpanzee split that Homo sapiens developed a newer, uniquely human path to power. Scholars call it “prestige.”
Prestige emerged when our ancestors gained the ability to exchange know-how. An undersized ape-man who knew a better way of finding berries or building a fire or trapping a gazelle could now, instead of being forced to accept beta status, attract a clientele who would trade deference for access to his expertise.
Unlike dominance, which is mediated by fear, prestige is freely conferred. But once conferred, of course, it decisively changes the dynamic of power: five ordinary ape-men can, in conjunction, overcome even the strongest single antagonist. The question of “who’s in command?” was now complexified by the question of “who’s in demand?”
Whether this new, competence-based path to power emerged is not debated by scholars. If it hadn’t, The Iliad wouldn’t have opened with Achilles, the greatest warrior in all of Greece, working for Agamemnon. The question is whether prestige supplanted dominance as the only path to power—or whether the older system also remains operational.
Anyone who’s been through middle school might agree that “reputational aggression”—a k a vicious gossip, or even verbal abuse—seems to play a role in the status struggles of teenagers. Using data from North Carolina high schools, Faris uncovered a pattern showing that, contrary to the stereotype of high-status kids victimizing low-status ones, most aggression is local: kids tend to target kids close to them on the social ladder.
And the higher one rises on that ladder, the more frequent the acts of aggression—until, near the very top, aggression ceases almost completely. Why? Kids with nowhere left to climb, Faris posits, have no more use for it. Indeed, the star athlete who demeaned the mild mathlete might come off as insecure. “In some ways,” Faris muses, “these people have the luxury of being kind. Their social positions are not in jeopardy.”
Cameron Anderson, a research psychologist at UC Berkeley, believes that among adults, dominance plays little role anymore in the rise of leaders. “If a person is trying to take charge of the group simply by inducing fear,” he figures, “there’s too much to lose by deferring to him.”
He’s convinced that we elevate the people we think are more competent, not more scary. But even if he’s right, there’s still room for an indirect advantage to domineering behavior—one that Anderson himself has illuminated in dramatic fashion.
The problem with competence is that we can’t judge it by looking at someone. Yes, in some occupations it’s fairly transparent—a professional baseball player, for instance, cannot very well pretend to have hit 60 home runs last season when he actually hit six—but in business it’s generally opaque.
Did the product you helped launch succeed because of you, or because of your brilliant No. 2, or your lucky market timing, or your competitor’s errors, or the foundation your predecessor laid, or because you were (as the management writer Jim Collins puts it) a socket wrench that happened to fit that one job? Difficult to know, really. So we rely on proxies—superficial cues for competence that we take and mistake for the real thing.
What’s shocking is how powerful these cues can be. When Anderson paired up college students and asked them to place 15 U.S. cities on a blank map of North America, the level of a person’s confidence in her geographic knowledge was as good a predictor of how highly her partner rated her, after the fact, as was her actual geographic knowledge.
Let me repeat that: seeming like you knew about geography was as good as knowing about geography. In another scenario—four-person teams collaboratively solving math problems—the person with the most inflated sense of her own abilities tended to emerge as the group’s de facto leader. Being the first to blurt out an answer, right or wrong, was taken as a sign of superior quantitative skill.
Confusing cause and correlation—the lab researcher’s bugaboo—is what the confidence man (or woman) relies on. Overconfidence is usually not a put-on, however. “By all indications, when these people say they believe they’re in the 95th percentile when they’re actually in the 30th percentile, they fully believe it,” Anderson says.
Because overconfidence comes with some well-documented downsides (see: Rumsfeld, Donald), Anderson has lately been recruiting subjects with accurate self-impressions and instructing them to act confidently when they are uncertain, and seeing whether they fare as well as the true believers.
“The actors are pretty darn convincing,” Anderson reports—but not as convincing as people whose mind-sets are genuinely untethered from their skill-sets. “It’s just that being fully self-deceived gets you further,” he says.
I did wonder, though: Could the apprentice actors, given enough time, come to inhabit their roles more fully? Anderson noted that self-delusion among his study’s participants could have been the product of earlier behaviors. “Maybe they faked it until they made it and that became them.” We are what we repeatedly do, as Aristotle observed.
In fact, it’s easy to see how an initial advantage derived from a lack of self-awareness, or from a deliberate attempt to fake competence, or from a variety of other, similar heelish behaviors could become permanent. Once a hierarchy emerges, the literature shows, people tend to construct after-the-fact rationalizations about why those in charge should be in charge.
Likewise, the experience of power leads people to exhibit yet more power-signaling behaviors (displaying aggressive body language, taking extra cookies from the common plate). And not least, it gives them a chance to practice their hand at advocating an agenda, directing a discussion, and recruiting allies—building genuine leadership skills that help legitimize and perpetuate their status. This is why, in college, it’s good to speak up on the first day of class.
It is possible, of course, to reframe Anderson’s conclusions so that, for instance,initiative is itself a competence, in which case groups would be selecting their leaders more rationally than he supposes. But is a loudmouth the same thing as a leader?
Actually, let’s think about that.
When George Cabot Lodge, a professor emeritus at Harvard Business School, talks of the prewar years, he remembers a specific game of tackle football he played as a 10-year-old, and the man screaming and swearing on the sidelines. The man was wearing boots and breeches, apparently just off a horse, and was exhorting his son with four-letter words to “get in there and fight!”
It was 1937. America was at peace. George S. Patton was not. So conspicuous was the cavalryman among the mothers (and it was only mothers, Lodge recalls) at the Shore Country Day School on Boston’s genteel North Shore that Lodge remembers feeling bad for Patton’s son (also named George), who was playing tackle. Lodge, whose father had just been elected to the Senate, was playing guard.
The next time Lodge saw Patton was 1942. The Lodges and the Pattons went for a picnic at Fort Benning. On the way home, Senator Lodge took Patton’s military vehicle and Patton drove the Lodges’ civilian car, with Mrs. Lodge up front and Lodge the younger in back.
“We were racing along this straight road, going about 70, when all of a sudden Patton takes his ivory-handled revolver out of his holster and starts shooting in the air,” Lodge recollects. “I guess to liven up the trip for me.”
A military policeman pulled him over, as if on script, to receive the obligatory “Don’t you know who the hell I am?” Then, Lodge says, Patton “clapped the embarrassed MP on the shoulder and said, ‘That’s all right, young man. You’re just doing your job.’ And then
he pulled onto the road and sped away, pistol blazing.”
Decades after Patton made his historic mechanized thrust across the plains of Europe, the World War II veteran and social historian Paul Fussell told a reporter that he wanted to write a book about the general. It was going to ask: “Is success in generalship related to the perversion of being a bully in social life?”
The book never came to pass. But Patton is a valuable case study on several counts. First, Lodge’s story underscores the importance of context: traits that serve you well in one context (wartime Europe) do not necessarily serve you well in another (peacetime Massachusetts), which would recommend a kind of adaptability that Patton lacked.
But second, Patton raises the question of the jerk’s value to the group. Bullying his own soldiers got Patton reprimanded and sidelined (in 1943, he’d slapped two privates suffering from battlefield fatigue and awaiting evacuation). His ability to bully the enemy is what restored him to favor five months later.
When I thought about whether I had friends or associates who fit Aaron James’s definition of an asshole, I could come up with two. I couldn’t pinpoint why I spent time with them, other than the fact that life seemed larger, grander—like the world was a little more at your feet—when they were around. Then I thought of the water skis.
Some friends had rented a powerboat. We had already taken it out on the water when someone remarked, above the engine noise, that it was too bad we didn’t have any water skis. That would have been fun.
Within a few minutes, an acquaintance I will call Jordan had the boat pulled up to a dock where a boy of maybe 8 or 9 was alone. Do you have any water skis?
The boy seemed unprepared for the question. Not really, he said. There might be some in storage, but only his parents would know. Well, would you be a champ and run back to the house and ask them? The boy did not look like he wanted to. But he did.
The rest of us in the boat shared the boy’s astonishment (Who asks that sort of question?), his reluctance to turn a nominally polite encounter into a disagreeable one, and perhaps the same paralysis: no one said anything to stop the exchange.
But that’s the thing. Spend time with the Jordans of the world and you’re apt to get things you are not entitled to—the choice table at the overbooked restaurant, the courtside tickets you’d never ask for yourself—without ever having to be the bad guy. The transgression was Jordan’s. The spoils were the group’s.
James, the philosopher, told me of a jerk who managed to avoid being labeled one by his closest colleagues partly by offering the occasional pro forma apology. But also, when it came to vying for resources with other departments in his organization, he could stand and articulate the case more persuasively than anyone else that his group deserved those resources.
Isolating the effects of taker behavior on group welfare is exactly what van Kleef, the Dutch social psychologist, and fellow researchers set out to do in their coffee-pot study of 2012.
At first blush, the study seems simple. Two people are told a cover story about a task they’re going to perform. One of them—a male confederate used in each pair throughout the study—steals coffee from a pot on a researcher’s desk. What effect does his stealing have on the other person’s willingness to put him in charge?
The answer: It depends. If he simply steals one cup of coffee for himself, his power affordance shrinks slightly. If, on the other hand, he steals the pot and pours cups for himself and the other person, his power affordance spikes sharply. People want this man as their leader.
I related this to Adam Grant. “What about the person who gets resources for the group without stealing coffee?” he asked. “That’s a comparison I would like to see.”
It was a comparison, actually, that van Kleef had run. When the man did just that—poured coffee for the other person without stealing it—his ratings collapsed. Massively. He became less suited for leadership, in the eyes of others, than any other version of himself.
Grant paused a quarter of a beat after I told him that. “What I would love to see,” he said, “is the repeated version of that experiment.” Time frames, he stressed, were important. Evidence suggests that “it takes givers a while to shatter this perception that giving is a sign of weakness. In a one-shot experiment, you don’t get to see any of that.”
In another study, from the world of shopping, you do get to see it. And it’s where the advantage to being a heel begins to look a lot more limited.
Darren Dahl had never set foot in the Hermès store in downtown Vancouver when, one afternoon, he sauntered in. Clad in jeans and a T-shirt—looking “kind of ratty,” he confesses—he had not planned on a shopping excursion. The saleswoman behind the counter looked up from some paperwork and, as Dahl remembers it, “literally shook her head in disapproval.”
What a jerk, Dahl thought. He reacted by leaving the store—after buying $220 worth of grapefruit cologne. Two bottles of it.
“I couldn’t believe I had spent so much money,” says Dahl, who should have known better: he is a professor of marketing and behavioral science at the University of British Columbia. Before long, he had devised a study that asked, was it just him? Or could rudeness cause other people to open their wallets too?
The answer was a qualified yes. When it came to “aspirational” brands like Gucci, Burberry, and Louis Vuitton, participants were willing to pay more in a scenario in which they felt rejected. But the qualifications were major. A customer had to feel a longing for the brand, and if the salesperson did not lookthe image the brand was trying to project, condescension backfired. For mass-market retailers like the Gap, American Eagle, and H&M, rejection backfired regardless.
Finally, the effect seemed to be limited to a single encounter. When Dahl and his colleagues followed up with the buyers, he found evidence of a boomerang effect much like the one he had felt a few minutes after his purchase: the buyers were less favorably disposed toward the brand than they had been at the outset. (And come to think of it, Dahl says, he hasn’t been back to Hermès since.)
Luxury retail is a very specific realm. But the study also points toward a bigger and more general qualification of the advantage to being a jerk: should something go wrong, jerks don’t have a reserve of goodwill to fall back on.
In early 2003, there was nothing wrong with Howell Raines’s New York Times. The paper had won seven Pulitzer Prizes since his promotion to executive editor a year and a half earlier. Then a scandal broke. A Times reporter, Jayson Blair, had been fabricating material in his stories.
A town-hall meeting that was intended to clear the air around the scandal, during which Raines appeared before staff members to answer questions, turned into a popular uprising against his management style. “People feel less led than bullied,” said Joe Sexton, a deputy editor for the Metro section. “I believe at a deep level you guys have lost the confidence of many parts of the newsroom.”
Raines himself had acknowledged as much earlier in the meeting. “You view me as inaccessible and arrogant,” he said. “Fear is a problem to such an extent, I was told, that editors are scared to bring me bad news.” It was an attempt to show he was a listener, Seth Mnookin reported in his book Hard News. But after listening to Sexton’s comments, Raines blew up. “Don’t demagogue me!” he shouted.
And that was pretty much it for Howell Raines. Though it was the paper’s publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., who accepted his resignation soon after, Raines had effectively been shot by his own troops.
To summarize: being a jerk is likely to fail you, at least in the long run, if it brings no spillover benefits to the group; if your professional transactions involve people you’ll have to deal with over and over again; if you stumble even once; and finally, if you lack the powerful charismatic aura of a Steve Jobs. (It’s also marginally more likely to fail you, several studies suggest, if you’re a woman.) Which is to say: being a jerk will fail most people most of the time.
Yet in at least three situations, a touch of jerkiness can be helpful. The first is if your job, or some element of it, involves a series of onetime encounters in which reputational blowback has minimal effect. The second is in that evanescent moment after a group has formed but its hierarchy has not. (Think the first day of summer camp.)
The third—not fully explored here, but worth mentioning—is when the group’s survival is in question, speed is essential, and a paralyzing existential doubt is in the air. It was when things got truly desperate at Apple, its market share having shrunk to 4 percent, that the board invited Steve Jobs to return (Jobs then ousted most of those who had invited him back).
But here is where we should part company with the labels that have carried us this far. Nice guys aren’t always nice. Heels aren’t always heels. We have the capacity to change. Don’t we?
At one point in my research for this article, I devised my own field experiment, in which I would walk into three luxury retailers—Tiffany, Rolex, and Tesla—to see whether I could instill deference in the salespeople by acting like Tom Buchanan, American literature’s most fully formed heel.
This meant dispensing with all social pleasantries—no “please” or “thank you,” no “hello” or salutation of any sort—and speaking in sentences of three words or fewer.
Methodological flaws (notably, lack of a control: I could not send a nicer version of me back into the same stores) contaminated my investigation. But the study did yield one finding: it is very hard to play against type. I could handle the three-word limit, albeit with great discomfort and a series of barbaric utterances (“Show me this,” “This is unacceptable,” “Why Rolex?”).
But the ban on pleasantries was too much. The reflex to say hello or thanks was so ingrained that I found I had to muffle the words as they leaked out under my breath. I have a feeling that the impression I left may have been less “jerk” and more “oddball to be soothed or pitied.”
“This was an issue I struggled with while writing” Give and Take, Adam Grant told me. “I think it is hard to change.” That said, Grant continued, most people switch between styles depending on context. “Most people are givers with friends and family” but tend to match their colleagues’ behavior at work. “I think that changing people’s style is less about teaching them an entirely new mode of operating than getting them to realize, oh, this mode you use in one domain can be imported into another.”
Practice helps, too. Perhaps no one better exemplifies this than my old friend Jim Vesterman. Vesterman took a break from his business career to enlist in the Marine Corps, joining its ultra-elite Force Recon unit and seeing combat in Iraq. Now he runs a Houston-based tech company.
Prior to joining the Marines, Vesterman told me, he had a pretty middle-of-the-road business personality, never running too hot or too cold. Upon joining the Marines, he recalled, he entered an environment in which he might suddenly be told to start fighting a fellow cadet with a padded stick while yelling at the top of his lungs—and then, just as suddenly, to stop, sit down, and straighten out a tiny wrinkle in his uniform. When he reentered the business world, Vesterman said, he was different.
Armed with the knowledge that he could “go from 15 to 95 real quick” and then bring it back down just as fast, his “idling state” was extreme calm. But he also became more forceful. He described a recent conversation with a lawyer who was resisting his idea of applying for a trademark. Vesterman cut the lawyer off mid-sentence, with the word stop. In an aggressive tone, he explained that he wanted the trademark because it could have a chilling effect on competitors, even though he understood the lawyer’s point that it could be challenged. Vesterman then brought his tone down, and apologized for raising his voice.
“I love it!” the lawyer exclaimed. Vesterman recalled him saying that he wished more of his clients were as passionate and direct. “I think you can be tough, as long as you’re not toxic,” Vesterman told me. One other distinction sticks with me from an earlier conversation with him: when I used the word aggression, he said he preferred the word aggressiveness.
What is the difference?
Aggression is both a behavior and a feeling. Aggressiveness is just a behavior, and can be turned on or off. The first serves as an outlet. The second is simply a tool.
Which leads us back to Steve Jobs.
Yes, he brought great spoils to a great many groups. And yes, he hurt a lot of people while doing that. What most everyone can agree on, though, is that Jobs was an outlier. As Stanford’s Robert Sutton points out, “If we copied every habit of successful leaders, we’d all be drinking Wild Turkey, like Southwest Airlines’ co-founder Herb Kelleher.”
So to anyone out there still wondering, here’s your permission slip: you do not have to be like Steve. When Isaacson, his biographer, was asked by a 60 Minutesinterviewer about Jobs’s failings, he replied, “He could have been kinder.” Grant adds, “How do we know he succeeded because of his asshole behaviors … and not in spite of them?”
Indeed, a more recent biography of Jobs, by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli, argues that Jobs matured during his time away from Apple, and was much more modulated in his behavior—giving credit when appropriate, dispensing praise when warranted, ripping someone a new one when necessary—during the second (and more successful) half of his career.
Without that kind of modulation—without getting a little outside our comfort zone, at least some of the time—we’re all probably less likely to reach our goals, whether we’re prickly or pleasant by disposition.
As Grant himself puts it, “What I’ve become convinced of is that nice guys and gals really do finish last.”
He believes that the most effective people are “disagreeable givers”—that is, people willing to use thorny behavior to further the well-being and success of others. He points out that some of the corporate cultures we consider most “cutthroat” likely are filled not with jerks but with disagreeable givers.
Take General Electric, once famed for its “rank and yank” policy of jettisoning the bottom 10 percent of performers each year. “I thought that on face value, GE might be a place where you would expect takers to rise. But it seems more complicated than that,” Grant says.
“The people are really tough there in the sense that they’re going to challenge you to grow and develop, they’re going to set higher goals for you than you would set for yourself. But they’re doing it to make you better and they’re doing it with your best interests and the company’s best interests in mind.”
Grant adds: “The hardest thing that I struggle to explain to people is that being a giver is not the same as being nice.” When I thought back to some of the most compelling people I’ve interviewed in business, Grant’s words rang true. Intel’s Andy Grove immediately came to mind.
Ask Grove a dumb question, I once learned, and he’ll tell you it’s not the right question. He’s the one who largely built Intel’s culture of what the company calls “constructive confrontation,” in which you challenge ideas, but not the people who expound them. It’s not personal. He just wants his point to be understood. The result is that you do your homework. You come prepared.
The distinction that needs to be made is this: Jerks, narcissists, and takers engage in behaviors to satisfy their own ego, not to benefit the group. Disagreeable givers aren’t getting off on being tough; they’re doing it to further a purpose.
So here’s what we know works.
Smile at the customer. Take the initiative. Tweak a few rules. Steal cookies for your colleagues. Don’t puncture the impression that you know what you’re doing. Let the other person fill the silence. Get comfortable with discomfort. Don’t privilege your own feelings. Ask who you’re really protecting. Be tough and humane. Challenge ideas, not the people who hold them. Don’t be a slave to type. And above all, don’t affix nasty, scatological labels to people.
It’s a jerk move.
Everybody agrees that networking matters.
It matters for getting jobs. It matters for being good at those jobs. It matters for finding mentors, sponsors, and general champions. It matters for getting promotions.
But while we can and probably should continue to drink half-priced beers, file business cards, and write follow-up emails, there's one incredibly simple networking trick that can seriously boost your career — and it's not necessarily intuitive, especially for women, says Karen Licitra, Corporate Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Policy at Johnson & Johnson.
You should schmooze with the senior people in your own organization.
If it sounds simple, that's because it is simple — but that doesn't mean it's always obvious.
"Growing up in the company with my male colleagues,"Licitra recalls, "I would see them in my boss's office all the time, just going back and forth. And I finally said to my husband, who worked with me, 'what do you talk about?' And he said, 'Well, nothing — I'm just kinda asking him what he thinks about stuff.'"
The thing is, "just kinda asking" matters.
"You’ve got to learn to take the time to get people to know who you are, both inside and outside of work," Licitra explains. That means approaching senior colleagues to chat.
"It doesn't have to be an hour," she says. "Talk to them for 20 minutes. Say, 'Hey, I'm interested in your career, I'm interested in what you did and how you got there' or 'Here's a problem I'm dealing with, what do you think? What has your experience taught you?'"
"It gets people to know you — to put a face with a name," Licitra says. And it's true: to access new opportunities, you need to be on people's radars.
So if it's so important, then why do generally high-achieving women seem to struggle more with this kind of just-popping-by?
"We tend to stay in our offices, keep our heads down — we're trying to be productive," she suggests. "I think [women] always feel like they have to have a plan, a specific reason to go and talk to somebody."
That's been Licitra's own experience: while her husband was casually swinging by the boss's office to get his take on stuff, she wasn't approaching unless she was armed with "a PowerPoint deck and an agenda."
That attitude is understandable, she says — but it's also a mistake. For one thing,
"When you can engage your boss in what you're thinking about, they feel like they're more part of the team, that they're helping you," she says. "And that's a great way to build trust and relationships."
The chances of the corner office someday becoming yours go way up if you've got a dialogue going with the person already in it.
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Theoretically, it makes sense: hiring managers want candidates who will be naturally aligned with the company's mission and values.
Presumably, it's good for candidates, too — working in a place where you fundamentally don't fit in is miserable.
But as "cultural fit" becomes a top priority for assessing potential hires — and according to one study, mentioned in the New York Times, more than 80% of hiring managers say it's their number one concern — a new problem arises: managers aren't hiring based on company values.
They're hiring the people they'd most want to grab beers with. And the potential result is a dangerously homogeneous workforce.
It's not that focusing on cultural fit is necessarily wrong, writes Lauren A. Rivera, associate professor of management and organizations at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, in a Times op-ed.
"When done carefully, selecting new workers this way can make organizations more productive and profitable,"she says, citing Southwest Airlines (where they look for "willingness to provide a wacky experience") and Bridgewater Associates (where they seek out candidates who can take criticism) as examples of the system working.
But too often, Rivera's research suggests, the system isn't working. She writes:
To judge fit, interviewers commonly relied on chemistry. "The best way I could describe it," one member of a law firm's hiring committee told me, "is like if you were on a date. You kind of know when there's a match." Many used the "airport test." As a managing director at an investment bank put it, "Would I want to be stuck in an airport in Minneapolis in a snowstorm with them?"
The problem is that the people you'd most like to be stuck in the Minneapolis airport with aren't necessarily the best employees — more likely, they're the employees most like you. She continues:
Discovering shared experiences was one of the most powerful sources of chemistry, but interviewers were primarily interested in new hires whose hobbies, hometowns and biographies matched their own. Bonding over rowing college crew, getting certified in scuba, sipping single-malt Scotches in the Highlands or dining at Michelin-starred restaurants was evidence of fit; sharing a love of teamwork or a passion for pleasing clients was not.
You can see where this is going: not all competitive rowers or single-malt Scotch fans share a demographic profile, but it's likely that they do. And that, Rivera says, can "keep demographic and cultural diversity low."
But a too-homogeneous workforce — whether that's a classic good ole boys club or a bunch of 20-something white dudes in hoodies— is actually bad for companies. And it's not "just" a PC issue; it's a financial one.
Study after study has shown the diverse groups function more effectively.
BloombergBusiness points to a 2009 study that showed companies "with the highest levels of racial diversity" reported an average of 15 times more sales revenue their less diverse competitors. Slate highlights another study that suggested companies with women on their boards perform better. Rivera cites research finding that groups with "out-group newcomers"— new people who don't belong to the same social network as the existing team — are significantly better at problem solving.
So what should the search for cultural fit look like? In the Times, Rivera suggests a four-pronged approach:
1. Be clear with potential hires about the organization's culture
2. Make sure the way you're defining cultural fit is "closely aligned with business goals" (mutual passion for scuba/whiskey/puppies doesn't count).
3. Create "formal procedures" for assessing fit, so it's not all up to the gut feeling of the hiring manager.
4. Limit the amount fit is factored into hiring.
It may be human nature to want to hire people who are like us, but it's a bias worth overcoming. And take comfort: if you and your new hire are ever stuck in the Minneapolis airport, you can use some of your new earnings to buy a magazine.
If we needed another argument for equitable marriage, that argument is here.
According to a new study, published in this month's "American Sociological Review," partners who depend on their spouses for significant financial support are markedly more likely to cheat on them.
And while that's true for both genders, it's especially true of economically dependent men: 15% of men who depend completely on their wives cheat, compared to 5% of women in the same boat.
"We naturally compare ourselves to our partners," explains Christin Munsch, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut and the author of the study. "It's what we do. And you don't want to feel like you're always coming out on the losing end of the comparison."
But while that's true for both men and women, there's "something about men and masculinity that makes men particularly uncomfortable when they're economically dependent." When there's a significant earning disparity, women are a little bit more likely to cheat; men are a lot more likely to cheat.
Those men, she argues, may feel emasculated when they're not living up to their societally prescribed role as primary earner — and accordingly, they're more likely to seek validation of their masculinity elsewhere.
That's consistent with what career expert Nicole Williams has seen in her own practice. "I definitely see these men feeling slightly threatened," she says. "And in some cases, the result of that is actual cheating." An affair is a way for those threatened men to "reestablish masculinity," Munsch observes, while simultaneously "distancing themselves from the source of their threat: their breadwinning spouse."
But while gender norms may be changing, assumptions about masculinity seem to be alive and well and living in the US. Munsch was working with a particularly young data set — American heterosexual married people between the ages of 18 and 32.
"Even though they're going to universities with just as many women, and these women are getting jobs that are on par with the kind of jobs they're getting," the expectation that they'll someday be the primary breadwinners pervades.
If you look at who's least likely to cheat, the gender plot thickens: when women are the primary earners in their relationships, they actually tend to be more faithful — a noteworthy finding, Munsch points out, given that high powered women likely have more opportunities for affairs, as well as more disposable income to cover them up.
By staying faithful, she suggest in the paper, female breadwinners are trying to "counteract their own gender deviance, validate their husbands' masculinity, and safeguard their relationships."
Like financially dependent men who cheat to reinforce their manliness, breadwinning women seem to be extra-faithful to reinforce their status as good wives. (Williams, who notes that a lot of high-earning women are both primary breadwinners and do the bulk of the childcare, has her own analysis: "they don't have time to cheat, let's be honest.")
S0 what does this all mean? Munsch stresses that the takeaway is not that women should necessarily take low-paying jobs and men should be primary breadwinners and we should all live in red brick houses with white picket fences — far from it.
"If you were to look at which type of couple has the lowest probability of cheating for either partner, it's going to be the equal earners — those men and women who make the same amount of money have a 3.4% predicted probability of cheating." In general, we like being in "equal, stable relationships where both partners contribute."
Instead, the study suggests that traditional gender expectations still exert a damaging amount of control on our lives, and a wider range of what Munsch calls "acceptable roles and responsibilities" would behoove us all — and all of our marriages.
One way to help facilitate that? Build a more equitable workplace.
It's true that "infidelity prevention" is hardly the main argument for closing the wage gap, overcoming motherhood bias, and institute family-friendly policies — but keeping women in the workforce, and making sure they're earning at full potential, would "inherently be good for relationships and relationship stability," Munsch says.
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What you say during your first day on the job can mean the difference between a lasting relationship with your new employer or a dash in the pan for your career.
"If you say something that's off, it sets the tone, and that could be the reason for you to be let go in your first three months," says J.T. O'Donnell, a career and workplace expert, founder of career advice site, CAREEREALISM.com, and author of "Careerealism: The Smart Approach to a Satisfying Career."
"It's natural to want to be liked — to impress and fit in quickly," explains workplace confidence expert Michelle Kerrigan. "However, many try too hard, and talk too much when they should be listening."
"At my last company..." or "In my last job..."
No one likes a know-it-all.
Rosalinda Oropeza Randall, etiquette and civility expert and author of "Don't Burp in the Boardroom," suggests walking into the new job with energy, but she also recommends a splash of humility. "Not the timid, reserved definition, but with an attitude of learning — not knowing-it-all."
"When do I get a raise?"
"How about getting through the ninety-day probationary period first," Randall suggests.
"BTW, I have to leave early on Fridays."
"If you hadn't talked about that prior to joining, landing in the new job and suddenly dropping these kinds of bombs on them really shows a lack of communication and respect on your part," O'Donnell says.
"They're expecting you to just come in and be there and be present, be eager, be ready and willing to learn."
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
The first day at your new job may be among the most memorable — and perhaps stressful — of your career.
"Most of us remember our first days at every job because of the heightened pressure to impress," says Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and author of "Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant; How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job.""But you can reduce your anxiety by being as meticulous in planning your first day as you were in securing your new position."
David Parnell, a legal consultant, communication coach, and author, says it's easy, even tempting, to passively ride along with the "human resources tour that usually sets off the first day of employment." There will be forms to fill out, videos to watch, people to meet, "and generally speaking, no real position-specific responsibilities," he says. "But taking a passive versus proactive response would be a mistake. The first day sets the tone for the rest of your career with those who you'll be interacting with."
Here are 21 things you should do on the first day of your new job:
1. Prepare and ask questions. Mark Strong, a life, career, and executive coach based in New York, says although you should spend much of your first day listening, you can and should ask questions when necessary. "Generally, you're trying to demonstrate your curiosity and desire to learn," he says.
Taylor says it's a good idea to prepare by writing down both practical and general questions about how you can be most successful in the role. "By now you have enough background on the company to integrate more in-depth questions at your orientation meetings," she says. "Have a list of questions handy for managers you think you might meet. Make sure you also have a contact in HR in case you have very basic inquiries before you start or on your first day."
2. Prepare an elevator pitch. Get ready to give a 30-second explainer of who you are and where you were before, as many new colleagues will likely ask about your previous place of employment, Taylor says. Be prepared to also describe what you'll be doing in this new position, since there may be people who have a vague understanding of your role or simply want to strike up a conversation.
3. Show up early, but enter the building on time. Get there at least 15 minutes early, suggests Teri Hockett, chief executive of What's For Work?, a career site for women. "If you haven't done the commute before, practice it a couple of times during rush hour a week before so that you're at least somewhat prepared for the unknown." But wait at a nearby coffee shop until the time your new boss or HR asked you to arrive.
4. Figure out the social landscape. Two of the more important factors in succeeding at a job are to not only get along with your co-workers, but also to associate with the right ones, Parnell explains. "In any sizeable work environment you will find cliques, and some mesh better with management than others. If you want to eventually move up in the ranks with your new employer, you'll need to associate with the right crowd."
He says it's also essential that you begin to determine the office politics on day one. "Power is an interesting, quite important, and sometimes elusive thing in the work environment," he says. "Certainly it is vital to understand the articulated positional hierarchy in your organization — who answers to who. This should be as easy as reading your co-worker's titles. However, because power can manifest in so many different ways, it is imperative to understand who actually answers to who."
5. Relax. While you're being strategic, also remember to relax on your first day so that you can optimize your productivity. "Make sure you're well rested, prepared, and have every reason to be on time. This is a visible milestone, and you want to be at your best," Taylor says.
6. Smile. "It may have taken awhile to reach this point, after searching, interviewing, and landing the job, so don't forget to be happy and enjoy the moment," Hockett says.
Strong agrees, saying: "We all know that first impressions matter. Smile when you meet new people, and shake their hands. Introduce yourself to everyone, and make it clear how happy and eager you are to be there. Your co-workers will remember."
7. Look and play the part. When in doubt, take the conservative approach in how you dress and what you say and do. Be as professional as you were in the interview process.
Hockett suggests you determine the dress code in advance so that you don't look out of place on your first day. "This is important because sometimes the way we dress can turn people off to approaching us, or it sends the wrong message." Ideally, you want to blend in and make others and yourself comfortable. If you're not sure what the dress code is, call the HR department and ask.
8. Don't be shy. Say "Hi" and introduce yourself to everyone you can.
9. Talk to as many people as possible. One of the most invaluable insights you can get in the beginning is how the department operates from the perspective of your peers. If you establish that you're friendly and approachable early on, you will start on the right foot in establishing trust.
10. Befriend at least one colleague. Go a step further and try to make a friend on Day 1. "Beyond generally talking to peers and getting the lay of the land, it's always a good to connect with a fellow team member or two on your first day, even if it's just for 10 minutes," says Taylor. "Beginning a new job can be stressful at any level, and this practice can be very grounding, accelerating your ability to get up to speed faster in a foreign atmosphere."
Let your colleague(s) know that you're available to lend a helping hand. A little goodwill goes a long way. The positive energy and team spirit you exude will be contagious, and the best time to share that is early on, versus later, when you need people.
11. Don't try too hard. The urge to impress can take you off-track, so remember that you're already hired — you don't have to wow your new colleagues, Taylor says. It's every new employee's dream to hear that people noted how brilliant and personable they are, or how they seem to "get" the company so quickly. But that can be a lot of wasted energy; you'll impress naturally — and more so once you understand the ropes.
12. Don't turn down lunch. "If you're offered to go have lunch with your new boss and coworkers, go," Hockett says. "It's important to show that you're ready to mingle with your new team — so save the packed lunch for another day."
13. Listen and observe. The best thing anyone can do in the first few days of a new job is "listen, listen, and listen," Strong says. "It's not time to have a strong opinion. Be friendly, meet people, smile, and listen."
This is a prime opportunity to hear about the goals your boss and others have for the company, the department, and top projects. It's your chance to grasp the big picture, as well as the priorities. "Be prepared to take lots of notes," Taylor suggests.
14. Project high energy. You will be observed more in your early days from an external standpoint, Taylor says. Your attitude and work ethic are most visible now, as no one has had a chance to evaluate your work skills just yet. Everyone wants to work with enthusiastic, upbeat people — so let them know that this is exactly what they can expect.
15. Learn the professional rules. On your first day, your employer will have a description of your responsibilities — either written or verbal. This is what you should do to be successful at your job. "With that being said, there is usually a gap between what you should do, and what actually happens," Parnell says. "This is important because while you shouldn't neglect any articulated duties, there may be more that are implicitly expected of you. It is usually best to find this out sooner rather than later."
16. Put your cell phone on silent. You need to be 100% present at work, especially on the first day.
17. Show interest in everyone, and the company. You'll likely be introduced to many people, and while they may make the first attempt to learn a little about you, make an effort to find out about them and their role. It's not just flattering, it will help you do your job better, Taylor says.
18. Pay attention to your body language. Your body language makes up the majority of your communication in the workplace. Assess what you're communicating to better understand how others may perceive you, and make any necessary adjustments.
19. Be available to your boss."This might sound obvious at face value, but on your first day of work, you'll likely be pulled in a thousand directions," says Taylor. You want to make sure you're accessible to your new boss first and foremost on your this day, despite all the administrative distractions.
"This is an important first impression you don't want to discount," she adds. "Companies are not always as organized as they'd like when onboarding staff. You can easily get caught up with an HR professional, various managers or coworkers — or with a special assignment that keeps you from being available to the person who matters most." On your first day of work, check in with your manager throughout the day.
20. Be yourself. "Think of ways to be relaxed and project yourself as who you are," Taylor says. "It's stressful to try to be someone else, so why bother? You want some consistency in who you are on day one and day 31. If you have the jitters, pretend you're meeting people at a business mixer or in the comfort of your own home, and that these are all friends getting to know each other. That's not far from the truth; you'll be working closely with them and enjoy building the relationship, so why not start now?"
21. Leave with a good attitude. The last thing to remember is that while the first day at a new job is very important, you shouldn't be too hard on yourself if it doesn't go flawlessly. "You might look back on your performance on day one and second-guess yourself,"Taylor says. "Yes, you should prepare and try to do your best, but remember that if you try to accomplish too much, you may get overwhelmed. Know that there's always tomorrow."
NOW WATCH: 5 things you should never put on your résumé
You control your body, but your body also controls you. Simple gestures, simple postures — each makes a dramatic impact on how you think, feel, and perform.
But that doesn't mean you have to be an athlete or yogi or contortionist to take advantage of that. You can still be you.
Only now you can be a better you.
Here are 10 cool ways:
1. Lie Down, Be More Creative
According to Australia National University professor Dr. Darren Lipnicki, lying down can lead to creative breakthroughs.
"It might be that we have our most creative thoughts while flat on our back," he says. One reason might be that more of the chemical noradrenaline is released while we're standing, and noradrenaline could inhibit our ability to think creatively.
Now you have a great excuse to lay back and think.
2. Cross Your Arms, Be More Determined
Oddly enough, crossing your arms will make you stick with an "unsolvable" problem a lot longer and will make you perform better on solvable problems.
That's definitely cool, because persistence is a trait most successful entrepreneurs need in abundance.
Whenever you feel stuck, try folding your arms against your torso. And then keep pushing ahead!
3. Stand Like Superman, Gain Confidence
According to Harvard professor Amy Cuddy, two minutes of power posing — standing tall, holding your arms out or towards the sky, or standing like Superman with your hands on your hips — will dramatically increase your level of confidence.
Try this one before you step into a situation where you know you'll feel nervous, insecure, or intimidated. (Just make sure no one is watching.)
I do it for a few minutes before every speaking gig because it definitely works.
4. Tense Your Muscles, Gain Willpower
You know how you instinctively tense up before you have blood drawn? That's your body's way of trying to minimize pain.
Flexing your muscles also helps you stay more focused when you hear negative information. Flexing can even increase your ability to resist eating tempting food.
(Sounds like we should be flexing all day.)
5. Smile, Reduce Stress
Frowning, grimacing, and other negative facial expressions signal your brain that whatever you are doing is difficult. So your body responds by releasing cortisol, which raises your stress levels.
Stress begets more stress...begets more stress...and in no time, you're a hot mess.
Here's the cure: Make yourself smile. You'll feel less stress even if nothing else about the situation changes.
And there's a bonus: When you smile, other people feel less stress, too. Which, of course, will reduce your stress levels. So kill two stresses with one smile.
(By the way, smiling also makes working out easier. Say you're doing reps with a heavy weight; naturally you'll grimace. But if you force yourself to smile, you'll often find you can do one or two more reps. Try it--but be prepared for when other gym rats look at you oddly.)
6. Bow Slightly, Put Yourself at Ease
Tilting your head forward slightly when you meet someone shows deference and humility and helps remove any perceived differences in status.
The next time you meet someone, tilt your head forward slightly, smile, make eye contact, and show you are honored by the introduction.
We all like people who like us, so if I show you I'm genuinely happy to meet you, you'll instantly start to like me. And you will show you like me...and that will help calm my nerves and help me be myself.
7. Mimic Others, Understand Their Emotions
Sounds strange, but research shows that imitating other people's nonverbal expressions can help you understand the emotions they are experiencing.
Since we all express our emotions nonverbally, copying those expressions affects our own emotions due to an "afferent feedback mechanism."
In short: Mimic my expressions and you'll better understand how I feel — which means you can better help me work through those feelings. Plus, mimicking facial expressions (something we often do without thinking) makes the other person feel the interaction was more positive.
8. Stand at an Angle, Reduce Conflict
When tensions are high, standing face to face automatically feels confrontational.
When what you have to say may make another person feel challenged, shift your feet slightly to stand or sit at an angle. And if you're confronted, don't back away.
Just shift to that slight angle. You'll implicitly reduce any perceived confrontation and may make an uncomfortable conversation feel less adversarial.
9. Use Your Hands, Improve Retention
Research shows requiring children to speak while they are learning has no effect on enhancing learning -- but requiring them to gesture helps them retain the knowledge they gain.
If it works for kids, it will work for us, too. According to one researcher, "Gesturing can thus play a causal role in learning, perhaps by giving learners an alternative, embodied way of representing new ideas."
Sounds good to me.
10. Chew Gum, Be More Alert and in a Better Mood
OK, so chomping on a wad of gum may not look particularly professional. Still, a number of studies show chewing gum can make you more alert.
And improve your reaction times.
And improve selective and sustained attention.
And improve your disposition.
Here's a thought: The next time you need to solve a difficult problem, lie down, cross your arms, and pop in a stick of gum. Maybe, just maybe, that's the winning combination you need to achieve your next breakthrough.
More From Jeff Haden:
Playing high-school sports doesn't just boost your chances of teenage popularity.
In a twist that is either horrifying or reassuring depending on your past, people who played sports in high school may actually go on to have more professional success.
For years, economists have shown that former student athletes go onto earn significantly more than their non-sports-playing peers — between 5% and 15% more, according to research cited by the Atlantic.
Now, a new study, published this month in the "Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies," suggests a potential explanation for those higher salaries: One-time athletes are seen as having more self-confidence, more self-respect, and better leadership skills than people who pursued other hobbies — yearbook and band, in the case of the study.
"People seem to activate a certain set of expectations with people who've played high-school sports," lead researcher Kevin Kniffin, a professor at Cornell University, tells Business Insider. And notably, those expectations seem to hold whether or not the people doing the evaluations were once athletes themselves. "We're not reporting that likes are attracting likes,"Kniffin explains. It's everybody.
Moreover, Kniffin's research suggests that former athletes seem to live up to those perceptions. Looking at longitudinal data from World War II veterans — men in their 70s, 80s, and 90s at the time of the survey — it appeared that people who played sports did go on to have more high-status careers. Fifty-five years after high school, they earned more than nonathletes, and they were more likely to assume positions in upper management.
And — contrary to certain stereotypes — the former student athletes also gave more money to charity and spent more time volunteering than people who hadn't played sports.
So does that mean the secret to lifetime achievement is four years of high-school basketball and a side of track? Maybe — but maybe not. "Our study really just scratched the surface," says Kniffin. Having played high-school sports correlates with future success, but whether your sophomore volleyball career is the reason you make partner has yet to be determined.
As the paper notes, it's possible that "participation in youth sports might function as a marker for other background traits such as family stability or general mental ability."
If you played a sport in high school, that means you went to a school that had athletic options, that your family responsibilities left you time to take advantage of them, that you're reasonably athletic (or willing to play anyway), and that you felt like you'd be reasonably welcome to participate — all factors that could help explain your future success. Sports come with cultural caché, and that could account for the self-confidence boost, too.
Kniffin also points out that while certain qualities — leadership, self-confidence, and self-respect — are associated specifically with athletics, it's likely that future studies could show "important traits associated with other activities — the discipline that comes along with learning a musical instrument, for example."
The takeaway here, Kniffin stresses, is not that we all have to play high-school sports, force our children to play high-school sports, and spend the rest of our lives regretting it if we did not play high-school sports.
(Let us take this moment to point out, too, that while a whole bunch of business leaders are one-time athletes, a whole lot aren't. Warren Buffett, Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates are known for many things, but their collective athletic prowess is not one of them.)
Still, Kniffin suggests that there's something unique about athletics — and while there's more research to be done to investigate a causal relationship between sports and success, he has some theories that could potentially explain the link. "Being part of a team, working intensively with teammates, managing a common resource, and interacting closely with a coach where there's a common goal" are all potential factors, he says.
Kniffin didn't look at how different types of sports affect success, but that's his next project. If crew is the ultimate team sport, then are one-time rowers even better leaders than former track stars?
There's a lot we still don't know. But one thing seems clear: For better or worse, what happens in high school doesn't stay in high school.
Last year, U.S. workers peed into one drug testing company’s cups about 9.1 million times.
And last year, as in other recent years, analysis of about 350,000 of those cups indicated drug use. Most often, the drug of choice was marijuana, followed by amphetamines and painkillers.
The data are a little patchy, but the best estimate is that about 40 percent of U.S. workers are currently subjected to drug tests during the hiring process.
Intuitively, that seems like a good idea: A sober, addiction-free workforce is probably a more productive workforce and, in the cases of operating forklifts or driving 18-wheelers, a safer workforce too.
But some of this cup-peeing might be for naught (and that seems to be something that other countries recognize: Drug testing is far more widespread in the U.S. than anywhere else). In many situations, drug tests aren’t capable of revealing impairment on the job, and the cost of finding a single offending employee is high.
Besides, as the country takes a more and more permissive stance toward marijuana, and as the painkillers doctors prescribe are abused more and more often, there are gray areas that arise. What role should drug testing play in the workplaces of 2015?
Contemporary workplace drug testing owes its existence to the policies of Ronald Reagan, who in 1988 signed an executive order that led to legislation requiring federal employees and some contractors to be tested. The typical American employer wasn’t required to do anything differently (and still isn’t), but some large companies took this as a cue. A new market bloomed in response.
“These … policies fueled the development of a huge industry,” writes SUNY Buffalo’s Michael Frone in his book Alcohol and Illicit Drug Use in the Workforce and Workplace, “comprising drug-test manufacturers, consulting and law firms specializing in the development of drug-testing policies and procedures, and laboratories that carry out the testing.”
This industry has relied on superficially intuitive arguments for drug testing: It’ll make employees use drugs less often and it’ll ensure a more efficient workplace. But those arguments have some significant holes.
First, as Frone writes in his book, there isn’t any proof that drug tests reduce drug use.
In fact, a stronger deterrent effect might be that casual drug users choose not to work for companies that will test them.
(Those employers might be missing out: More than half of Americans said they have tried marijuana, which is a big pool of talent to ignore.) “It’s become sort of a game,” Lewis Maltby, the president of the National Workrights Institute, told The Washington Post.
“Employers know that it doesn’t mean anything. Anyone who smokes pot will just stop for a few days. It’s an empty ritual that nobody wants to be the first to give up."
There’s also the concern of spending not-insignificant amounts of money to pinpoint a very small portion of the working population. “For some employers the cost to find a single drug user can be high,” says Frone. And identifying those workers might be misguided to begin with, considering that “a positive test result cannot determine use or impairment at work and [that there’s a] general lack of evidence that drug testing has an impact on performance or safety,” Frone says.
Also, drug testing’s binary, drugs-or-no-drugs mechanism fits better with the delineations of legality that were common when Reagan signed that executive order. Today, marijuana’s legal status is a confusing patchwork of local laws, and legally-prescribed painkillers are more and more frequently abused.
Both of these drugs can show up on tests, but it’s not clear what some employers should do after detecting their presence. Five years ago, The New York Times reported on the story of a woman who was fired from her job after testing positive for a painkiller that her doctor prescribed.
Other workers have been terminated under similar circumstances, even when the medication in question was meant to treat job-related injuries.
According to Frone, there are three main reasons why drug testing remains so common. One is that companies still mistakenly believe in its effectiveness. Another is that some insurance companies might give discounts to employers who test. But the third is more political, more symbolic: Some companies use it to project a clean-cut, anti-drug image.
So what does a reasonable drug-testing regimen look like? Frone’s view is that it should be kept in place for jobs in which safety is the concern—forklift operators, truck drivers—but phased out elsewhere.
The evidence that it deters drug users and enhances efficiency at work is simply too thin. “There are many potential ... causes of poor productivity, such as family problems or emotional problems or dysfunctional personalities, that collectively have a stronger impact on employee outcomes than drug use per se,” says Frone.
He’s in favor of a constructive, communicative approach, in which job performance is monitored and therapy referrals are doled out, when necessary, after conversations between a worker and his or her employer.
LinkedIn recently released the report "New Norms @Work," designed to shed light on the workplace attitudes of the ever-elusive millennial.
One finding stood out. According to the data, collected from 1,000 US-based full-time employees, people ages 25 to 34 were much less likely to admit having been fired from a previous job than older workers.
It's not that previous generations are pathologically honest — on the contrary, 56% of all workers say that if they'd been fired, they would "work to hide this information" from prospective employers.
But millennials were particularly secretive about their less-than-stellar pasts: A full 70% say they'd go out of their way to bury having been let go.
And millennials are especially likely to try to reframe their untimely departures: Of workers ages 25 to 34, 31.5% say they'd "make it look like they have left on their own accord," compared to 16.1% of workers 35 and older.
This could be further evidence that millennials are entitled brats who believe they can rewrite history to suit their millennial whims. But more likely, there's something else going on: It's not that millennials are somehow morally bankrupt compared to previous generations — it's that millennials genuinely see themselves (and their employers) differently.
For LinkedIn's career expert Catherine Fisher, it comes down to image. "Millennials are very focused on managing their professional brand," she tells Business Insider. Being fired is taboo — and off-brand.
Dan Schawbel, a workplace expert who's written widely on changing attitudes around employment, credits technology for that shift.
"You don't see them posting negative status updates on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram," he points out. Younger candidates aren't the only ones artfully shaping their work histories — everyone does that, and for good reason — but millennials, he says, "take this to the next level by guarding their professional and personal image online, covering up anything bad that's ever happened to them."
Millennials may be notorious for oversharing, but it's a carefully curated kind of oversharing — and that careful curation carries over into how millennials present themselves to potential employers.
They're not necessarily wrong to tread carefully. Many millennial workers were hit hard by the recession. As a result, "millennials feel that they must do whatever it takes to compete," says Karen Myers, an associate professor of communications at UC-Santa Barbara. Through that lens, image consciousness starts to feel less like narcissism and more like survival.
But there's another factor that may offer even more insight into the murky depths of the millennial psyche: More than their older colleagues, millennials value organizational "fit."
"They see [having been fired] as a two-sided issue," Myers says, "and may think that there were many reasons for poor job performance or other behaviors that led to their being fired." They don't label it as "firing" because they don't see it that way. At least from their perspective, "it may have been a lack of fit and they would have quit soon anyway." It's not a devastating decree; it's a mutual breakup. "Overall," says Myers, "they just don't see things as black and white."
Understanding why younger workers behave the way they do is only half the story. Here's the other question: Are millennials wrong not to disclose?
The short answer: Not exactly.
Nobody is arguing that outright lying is great and we should all do more of it, but "it's a personal choice if someone wants to disclose the reason they left a previous job," Fisher says. "If asked point blank, one can say that it wasn't the right fit for them or the company, and then focus on their accomplishments in the role."
Go skinny dipping, stay up all night partying in a foreign city, climb a mountain — there are plenty of adventures you should tick off your personal bucket list before turning the big 3-0.
But what about your professional to-do list? We polled the experts and collected the milestones you'd be wise to hit early on in your career.
Here's what every intrepid professional should do before turning 30:
1. Quit a dud job.
"Life's too short to stay in a job you hate, and your 20s are the time to take that kind of a risk," says Kate Swoboda, creator of the Courageous Coaching Training Program.
Swoboda suggests you swap your dead-end job for a salaried position that you like better or start working for yourself.
"And before you think that you can't work for yourself, remember: this is the digital age, and anyone with the right amount of heart, hustle, and patience can make a living online," she says.
2. Get fired.
"Getting fired early on can be a brutally tough life experience, but it can serve as a huge wake-up call for change if there was a performance issue," Michael Kerr, author of "The Humor Advantage: Why Some Businesses Are Laughing All the Way to the Bank," told Business Insider.
Getting this out of the way in your 20s could also alert you to being on the wrong career path and teach you to develop the skills necessary to always have a viable back-up plan, he said.
3. Learn to own your time.
Proper time management is a skill you should have down by the time you hit 30, says Barry S. Saltzman, a business strategy expert and CEO of Saltzman Enterprise Group.
You may get away with being all over the place as an intern, but it's not cute when you're leading the team and you can't get your own act together.
Time is money, Saltzman points out, and no company will be happy with needlessly wasted money. "Learning by 30 what makes you efficient is important to professional development, and beyond that, improved efficiency makes you look a lot better in the eyes of your superiors."
4. Write a simple vision statement.
"You've got to know where you want to go if you want to get there," Swoboda says.
Your vision statement needn't be a long manifesto, she explains. You simply need to capture the "why" of what you do.
You can hone in on your vision statement by answering: "How do I want to feel when I go into work each day?""How does my work positively impact my life or the lives of others?" and "What feels satisfying about this line of work?"
5. Craft an engaging elevator pitch.
Now that you understand your vision, figure out how you'd explain it to others.
"Sharing that you're a copywriter or that you work in finance is fine and dandy, but it doesn't make you stand out or inspire people to want to ask you follow-up questions," explains Michelle Ward, a creative career coach and co-author of "The Declaration of You!"
Instead, when people inquire about what you do, answer with your "what,""who," and "how." Don't be afraid to mention what you're passionate about, the types of people you help, and what you do for them specifically, she says.
When Ward introduces herself, she tells people that she offers dream career guidance for creative women. "That way, the person listening can connect with what I'm saying or introduce me to any creative women they know who are looking for dream career guidance," she says.
6. Become an expert.
"By the time 30 rolls around, you owe it to yourself to know what you can do," Saltzman says.
"From both a professional standpoint and a branding standpoint, being an expert in a particular field is more important than I can say."
His advice: Avoid being a jack-of-all-trades and put the effort in early to become extraordinary at something.
7. Keep a 'win book.'
This is a place where you store all the compliments you receive about your work and your wins and accomplishments, Ward explains.
"By keeping it all in one place, you'll be able to articulate what you do well, how you add value, and what you accomplish," she says.
Your win book doesn't need to be tangible. Ward says she uses Evernote to copy and paste the niceties she gets over email.
Next time your work review rolls around or you need to write a cover letter, you can pull out the book for some inspiration.
8. Send an email to someone you admire.
Whether the person you admire wrote your favorite book, changed the corporate culture in a company for the better, or has shown corporations how they can use their profit for good, Swoboda suggests you reach out and tell them why you appreciate what they're up to.
"Often, people hesitate to send a note like this because they assume that it won't be read, but you'd be surprised how often a leader in her field will appreciate the gesture and respond with a thank-you."
9. Pitch and lead a passion project.
Whether you dream of leading the annual corporate retreat or having a lunchtime book club, Ward suggests you ask yourself what would make your workday more enjoyable and meaningful. Then go for it.
Your workplace dream could even reflect your future career goals or transitions, she says, like offering to plan the holiday party if you want to try your hand at event planning.
If you're not sure your boss would go for it, she suggests putting everything together on your own time. "Remember that it still counts as experience for your résumé!"
10. Pay it forward.
Your 20s are usually focused on getting ahead, Swoboda says, while your 30s are all about giving back.
"Instead of holding all your best ideas close to your chest so that you can privately pitch them to the boss, share them in a meeting," she suggests. When coworkers complain about a problem, ask, "How can I help?" And don't be afraid to acknowledge the work of others in front of higher-ups.
"Trust me when I say that it's what people will remember you for, and it's the best return on investment around for your career."
11. Become a master communicator.
"Sadly, a lot of people don't take the time to improve their communication skills, and their career trajectory suffers because of it," Saltzman says.
By 30 you should be able to iterate ideas efficiently and accurately, and poor written skills are simply inexcusable, he says. "Everything you say or write is representative of you as a person, so why settle for poor writing?"
12. Take control of your social media presence.
"Don't let your personal Facebook account speak to potential employers or clients for you," Ward says.
To make sure you're in control of how you're perceived online, she suggests setting up a blog, an About.me page, and updating your LinkedIn profile.
13. Embrace conflict.
"Conflict is everywhere, so there's no excuse not to learn to handle it," Saltzman says. "Where many shy away from different issues, embracing them and taking the time to solve them improves efficiency for everyone involved."
Landing a summer internship at any Wall Street firm is tough.
But Business Insider recently spoke with a summer intern who had to work extra hard to get his first finance gig — and not for any of the usual reasons.
Recruiters kept turning this undergraduate from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton business school down because, at 19, he was only in his freshman year of college.
Everybody wants to hire stars. But StumbleUpon CEO Mark Bartels isn't looking for people who shine alone — instead, he prioritizes candidates who are true collaborators.
Which isn't to dismiss the value of people who thrive alone. "You always want different types of people that you're working with, and individual contributors are great," Bartels tells Business Insider. "They're very productive, and they can have very high output." There's just one limitation: ultimately, they're only one person.
That's why he looks for what he calls "enablers"— people who are not only high achievers, but also make everyone around them better. "You hire one person," he explains, "but then that one person goes on and trains and shares ideas with three other people." The result is "a way more productive team"— and fewer single points of failure.
In their natural habitats, enablers "tend to collaborate a lot," says Bartels. "They communicate a lot with other groups outside their particular pod. You'll see them programming with other engineers, they seem to want to organize meetups, and they tend to want to share trade secrets if it gets the job done faster." They're less protective of their own knowledge, and as a result, they "empower people around them."
But it's one thing to appreciate enablers in action, and another to spot them during the hiring process, before you've had the chance to see them in action.
In Bartels' experience, though, there's an easy tell: "Look for the words they use," he advises. While individual contributors tend to talk about "I" and "me," enablers rely on phrases like "we,""us," and "team.""When you ask them about a project, they'll talk about the team, and a lot of the time, they'll give credit to other people," he says. "And I don't see that as a weakness — I see that as a positive."