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Trailblazing Sitcom Writer Talks Sex, Career, and Stars

sitcom writer

Pioneering sitcom writer, Susan Silver, thrived climbing over obstacles and breaking down barriers throughout her life.  Her often glamorous career began in the sixties when professional opportunities for women were limited to those of secretary or telephone operator.  However, with luck and tenacity, Susan landed the job of casting director for Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.

Doggedly, in the Mad Men-esque environment of Hollywood, Susan eventually became a writer for the iconic shows The Partridge Family, Maude, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, and others.

Within her memoir, Hot Pants in Hollywood – Sex, Secrets & Sitcoms, Susan recounts the fascinating, star-studded ups and downs of her life.  As a seasoned writer, she grabs your attention by opening her book with an amusing ‘vibrator girl’ story.  She goes on to name A-list celebrities whom she turned down and even describes a frightening encounter she had with a young Bill Cosby.

I recently interviewed Susan Silver about her intriguing professional and personal experiences and her tell-all book.

Jen Monks:  One of your first big breaks came when you were hired as casting director on Laugh-In.  Were you intimidated by the famous people you were supposed to recruit for the show?

Susan Silver:  No.  I don’t understand why, but nobody intimidated me.  I guess I was just too young to know any better.  And I could spot a star a million miles away.  If I saw somebody famous, I would run after them.  I even did that on my honeymoon.

JM:  When you failed to book a well-known entertainer, your boss intimated you should have offered the actor an inappropriate favor.  How did you handle this request at the time?

SS:  Sadly, that’s just the way it was back then.  I decided not to play into it.  You had to ignore it or laugh at it.  I thought he was joking and said, “No way!”  Then I walked out of his office.

In retrospect, it was kind of disgusting, but at the time I probably went home and complained to my husband.  Then I moved on.

JM:  How did such a young, inexperienced person find work on the most successful sitcoms of the seventies?

SS:  Garry Marshall, Penny Marshall’s (Laverne & Shirley) brother, was my mentor and manager.  He was a great guy and a dear friend.

I saw The Mary Tyler Moore Show and told him I wanted to work for them, and he got me on board.  They wanted women writers on that show which was unheard of in those days.  I loved that experience.  It was the best job with the best people.  Everyone worked well together and got along.

sitcom writer Susan Silver

JM:  Over the years you turned down dates with big-name celebrities, and lucrative job offers on Love Boat, Wonder Woman, and the second Newhart series.  Any regrets?

SS:  You have to read my book to find out.  I do wish I had said yes to Steve McQueen.  I turned him down first; then he turned me down.  It just didn’t work out.

As for the shows, it wasn’t the lifestyle I wanted.  There were going to be too many hours involved.  I wanted more freedom.  I like to work when I want to, not when I have to.

JM:  After a frustrating experience writing for the Sarah Jessica Parker series, Square Pegs, you changed careers and worked for the Anti-Defamation League, the United Nations, and the Democratic party.  Why the shift from comedy to serious causes?

SS:  After twenty years of writing, we had a Writers Guild strike in 1989.  By then I was divorced and didn’t want to live in L.A. anymore.  I visited New York and decided I wanted to live there.

I networked and came to the realization I needed to return to my Jewish heritage of which I knew nothing.  I ended up booking speakers for the Anti-Defamation League for two years.

Then I worked with the U.N., and that was a difficult job for me for many reasons.  So, I became interested in politics.

JM:  You had a professional relationship with Bill Clinton and other influential people throughout your career.  How have you connected with so many powerful individuals?

SS:  I get invited to events. Friends take me to parties in New York City, where I live.  I always know or figure out exactly where to stand at an event to meet the most interesting people.

I’ve met almost every icon of my generation.  It’s a matter of being in the right place at the right time and being friendly.  I have been accused of being pushy.  I never considered myself pushy: I thought of myself as open to new experiences.

JM:  You eventually turned your attention back to writing and penned editorials for The New York Times and had a long-running column called The Search for Mr. Adequate. Tell us about that.

SS:  I wrote the column for The New York Social Diary.  It was a little like Sex and the City for the baby boomer generation.

The premise is there is no perfect man, and after thirty-five there is no prince, and after fifty there absolutely isn’t.

It was a fun thing to do for four years.  I joined all the dating sites, and that was a nightmare.  But, overall, it was fun.  Just like most of the projects I have been involved in throughout my life.

Interesting Reading: Help! A Troll Stole My Content; And How to Stop It

Susan has gone on to teach comedy writing and currently hosts short radio commentaries on Robinhood Radio.  She continues to embrace projects that spark her creativity and claims she will never retire completely.

Although the veteran sitcom writer admits she didn’t realize the social significance of Maude and The Mary Tyler Moore Show at the time, Susan Silver is proud of her contributions to them.  She should be.

What was your favorite sitcom of the seventies or eighties?  Feel free to share it in the comments section below.

Life is better when we lift each other up.

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7 Innovative Sites to Help You Crush It in Business

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you.

I love shopping.  Not for clothes, handbags, makeup, shoes or jewelry, but for products that make me more efficient.  Don’t get me wrong.  I appreciate a quality outfit.  However, nothing relieves my stress more than finding a tool that boosts my productivity.  Okay, maybe yoga and wine are also on my list for anxiety relief, but I’ll keep my focus on organizational tools for now.  After all, time is our most precious commodity.  If there’s a system or technique that will help me manage my work and avoid anxiety, I’m all over it.  In my never-ending search for the latest and greatest, I’ve found 7 innovative sites to help you crush it in business from this day forward.

  • Grammarly – I’m telling you, this tool saves my bacon.  I started using it when I wrote my first article and have been relying on it ever since.  The basic features are free, but I paid the nominal annual subscription rate for the upgraded version.  Grammarly checks for spelling and grammar errors as well as correct sentence structure in my blog posts, emails, social media messages, and Word documents.  I also use the browser extension when I surf the web.  This impressive platform can also be used for cover letters, term papers, business proposals and works within Microsoft Office.

  •  DialMyCalls.com – This business began in 1999 as one of the internet’s first wake-up call services and evolved into a mass online notification company with over 80,000 clients including Fortune 500 companies, schools, and government agencies.  With this service, you can send voice or text messages and emails to groups of customers, coworkers or family members.  You can send a 30-second message to up to 25 contacts once per week at no charge.  Beyond that, you can use a pay-as-you-go package or subscribe to the economical and unlimited monthly plan.  DialMyCalls is available on Android and iOS mobile devices.

  •  WorkFrom  – I recently started using this site because I was tired of working from the same old haunts I had been visiting for months.  I desperately needed a change of scenery and some better amenities.  If you are a remote worker and long for unique, new spaces with available wi-fi, then WorkFrom is for you.  After you create your free account, you’ll gain access to the listing of public and private spots that will allow you to get stuff done more efficiently.  Each location is rated by you and other Workfrom community members for high-speed internet connections, comfort, access to outlets, and other details important to digital nomads.  You can access the website or use the iOS or Android app.

  • TimeAndDate You don’t want to miss an important client call or phone meeting with a colleague rooted in another time zone.  I was recently attempting to schedule an interview with a podcaster who was located thousands of miles from me.  For some reason, it was difficult to correctly calculate the time difference and schedule a time that would work for me.  Fortunately, I managed the task, but the experience took longer than it should have.  I vowed to correct that problem and found TimeAndDate.  It’s free, but you will need to open an account to get access to most of the site’s offerings.  This powerful tool helps calculate more than the hours between time zones.  It boasts features that lookup international dialing codes, print and manage calendars, find worldwide weather forecasts, plan national and international meetings and more.  The app is available on iOS and Android devices.

Related Reading: 15 Motivational Podcasts for Women Who Love Business 

  • CamCard – This site and app are more than just a business card management system and scanner.  After you take a photo of a card, it auto-populates text fields and creates a contact for you to save and share with your email and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) programs.  CamCard can also export this information into Microsoft Office programs.  The technology is perfect for networking events, conferences, and client meetings as you can exchange e-cards with each other.  How eco-friendly can you get?  The stripped-down, free versions are available on Android and iOs as well as the paid, upgraded apps.

  • Gboard – This is an app rather than an actual website. As a new user of this third-party iPhone or Android keyboard, I appreciate that it’s increased my texting speed.  I’m probably the slowest smartphone keyboard user on planet Earth!  Gboard offers glide typing and built-in search.  This means you can be in the process of texting someone and look up an address or any other information you need and paste it in the conversation without opening your browser.  Just tap the Google button to search.  Easy as pie!  Use Slash Keyboard as an alternative if you are an avid Android user.

  •  TripIt – I used to equate travel with stress.  That was before I began utilizing this wonderful travel organizer. Now I can’t imagine booking a recreation or business junket without this handy tool.  TripIt consolidates the confirmations and emails from hotels, airlines, and car rental companies into a master itinerary on my phone or computer.  No more flipping between apps or emails!  If a flight is delayed, canceled or a gate number changes, I get a quick update that saves me time and aggravation.  The platform’s basic features are free to use, but you can upgrade to the annual plan or TripIt Pro that keeps track of reward program points, finds alternate flights with open seats, and shares itineraries with others. 

I hope you utilize this list of 7 innovative sites to help you crush it in business.  If you found these resources valuable, please share it with coworkers, family members, and friends and let me know which is your favorite tool and why.

Life is better when we lift each other up.

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17 Powerful Quotes from Pioneering Businesswomen

Sometimes it requires great effort to stay motivated in your career.  Experiencing frustration or discouragement is a common occurrence in the lives of most professional women.  The path to success is fraught with obstacles like unconscious bias, sexism, racism, and ageism.  It’s no wonder we feel deflated or defeated from time to time.  It’s at those moments that we need to hear powerful quotes from pioneering businesswomen like:

 

1. Barbara Walters – Journalist, author, and the first female co-anchor of a network evening news show, ABC Evening News

“I was the kind nobody thought could make it.  I had a funny Boston accent.  I couldn’t pronounce my R’s.  I wasn’t a beauty.”

2. Madame Curie – Physicist, chemist, and first woman to win a Nobel Prize

“I have frequently been questioned, especially by women, of how I could reconcile family life with a scientific career.  Well, it has not been easy.”

3. Joan Rivers – Comedienne and first woman to host a late-night television network talk show, The Late Show with Joan Rivers

“I succeeded by saying what everyone else was thinking.”

4. Annie Oakley – Sharpshooter and renowned international star

“Keep on aiming and keep on shooting for only practice will make you perfect.  Finally, you’ll hit the bull’s-eye of success.”

5. Ursula Burns – First black-American woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company, Xerox

“I’m an advocate for change and eager to break a little glass when needed.”

 

6. Agatha Christie – Author and Guinness World Records holder as best-selling novelist of all time

“As life goes on, it becomes tiring to keep up the character you invented for yourself, and so you relapse into individuality and become more like yourself every day.”

 7. Jennifer Lopez – Actress, singer, and first woman to have the number one film and album in the same week

“Things don’t always turn out exactly the way you want them to be and you feel disappointed.  You are not always going to be the winner.  That’s when you have to stop and figure out why things happened the way they did and what you can do to change them.”

8. Lucille Ball – Comedic actress and first woman to run a major television studio, Desilu Productions

“I’m not funny.  What I am is brave.”

 9. Indra Nooyi – CEO of PepsiCo and consistently ranked as one of the most powerful women in the world

“At the end of the day, don’t forget you’re a person, don’t forget you’re a mother, don’t forget you’re a wife, don’t forget you’re a daughter.”

 10. Julia Child – Award-winning chef, author, and television personality

“I think you have to decide who your audience is. If you don’t pick your audience, you’re lost because you’re not really talking to anybody.”

Related Reading: Why a Physical Attractiveness Stereotype Crushes Opportunities

11. Vera Wang – Fashion designer and business mogul

“Don’t be afraid to take time to learn.  It’s good to work for other people.  I worked for others for twenty years.  They paid me to learn.”

12. Nellie Bly – Trailblazing investigative journalist

“Accept praise for its worth – politeness.  Be brutally frank with yourself.  It’s safer.”

 13. Aretha Franklin – singer, songwriter, first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

“We all require and want respect, man or woman, black or white.”

 14. Mary Kay Ash – Founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics and award-winning businesswoman

“Every achievement, big or small, begins in your mind.”

 15. Sara Blakely – Founder of Spanx and billionaire businesswoman

“I think my story says that, when women are given the chance and the opportunity, that we can achieve a lot. We deliver.”

16. Amelia Earhart – Aviation pioneer, author, and first female to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.”

 

 17. Estee Lauder – Co-founder of Estee Lauder Companies and the only woman on Time magazine’s 1998 list of the 20 most influential business geniuses of the 20th century

“When I thought I couldn’t go on, I forced myself to keep going.  My success is based on persistence, not luck.”

 

So, did you think those were powerful quotes?  Do you feel empowered?  If not, tell me what words of wisdom or iconic women inspire you and keep you moving forward in your career.

Life is better when we lift each other up.

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Overworked and Underpaid? 9 Free Apps to the Rescue

overworked-and -underpaid

Are you overwhelmed and routinely pulled under by day-to-day tasks?  Perhaps you are drowning in a sea of expenses too.  Well then, you have come to the right place.  Most of us can certainly identify with these struggles.  Let me throw you a life preserver of sorts by revealing a few of the tools I’ve found to reduce chaos and keep my budget afloat.  Stop feeling overworked and underpaid.  Here are 9 free apps to the rescue:

 

Hey, Money Bags – Earning & Saving

1. Wagespot – Salary Searcher, Wage Calculator, Job Finder

Compatible with: iOS, iPhone, iPad, Android

Maybe it’s time to cast a wider net and bring home a bigger catch.  This real-time app allows users to anonymously or publicly share their salary and compensation package for their current position. The data provided will empower you to negotiate a fair wage or ask for a raise.  No more wondering what you’re worth or if you’re undervalued as an employee.  The newest feature offers lists of job openings to browse and analyze.

 

2. Money Lover – Money Manager, Bill Reminder, Budget App

Compatible with: iOS, iPone, iPad, Android

You won’t go belly up if you utilize this expense tracker to manage your personal finances.  Easily customize spending categories and generate reports to get the big picture.  The bill reminder feature will keep your payments up to date and on time.  Upgrade to Money Lover Plus for $4.99 to obtain access to premium options.  Control your money.  Don’t let it control you.

 

3. RetailMeNot – Coupons, Discounts, Deals

Compatible with: iOS, iPhone, iPad, Android

After you have organized or created a budget, you’ll want to cut expenses where possible.  I use this app every time I head out shopping.  It has saved me hundreds of dollars.  Offers and deals are available from over 50,000 retailers and food chains.  No more clipping or forgetting coupons or digging through your purse to find them.  It’s as easy as shooting fish in a barrel.

Business As Usual – Productivity

4. Wunderlist: To-Do Lists, Reminders, Errands

Compatible with: iOS, iPhone, iPad, Mac, Windows

Do you have the sinking feeling you are forgetting something?  This amazing app will put your mind at ease as you create a shareable list or organize your work projects.  Set reminders, assign tasks or delegate household chores to family members.  You can access Wunderlist from anywhere, as the app syncs between your computer, tablet, and phone.

 

5. Forest App – Improve Focus, Avoid Distraction, Increase Productivity

Compatible with: iOS, iPhone, iPad, Android, Chrome, Firefox

This nifty little program puts me back on course and allows me to work uninterrupted for twenty-five minute periods.  I set a timer and the app plants a virtual seed.  If I manage to work on my assignment for the entire time, the plant will grow into a tree.  If I leave my task, the tree will wither and die.  The goal is to create a larger forest each week.  It may sound silly, but it works.  The phone app is $1.99, but I use the browser extension on my laptop for free.

 

6. Waze: GPS Navigation, Maps, Traffic Alerts

Compatible with: iOS, iPhone, iPad, Android

When I forget to open this tool during my commute, I usually regret it by waiting impatiently in a sea of cars.  Waze is a real-time traffic and navigation app that provides the best routes with community-edited maps.  You can avoid construction, speed traps, accidents, red light cameras and other obstacles as you journey around town.  Also, as a Waze driver, you’ll save money on gas by navigating to the cheapest pumps reported on your route.

The Daily Grind – Errands & Honey-Dos

7. Big Oven: Recipes, Grocery Lists, Menus

Compatible with: iOS, iPhone, iPad, Android, web

Do you hear the theme song from Jaws when your family members start to circle the kitchen and ask, “What’s for dinner?”  This fantastic app is packed with over 350,000 recipes from which to choose.  Save your favorites, make grocery lists, and create meal planners too.  The paid version allows you to follow friends and your favorite food bloggers as well.

Related Reading: 5 Easy Ways to Boost Your Tech Savviness

 

8. Daily Workouts: Exercise Routines, Instructional Videos

Compatible with: iOS, iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac, Windows

Daily Workouts is stuffed to the gills with full-body and targeted exercise routines. Instructional videos guide you through unfamiliar moves as you tone, tighten, and break a sweat.  Now you have the convenience of your own personal trainer wherever you go.  The upgraded version offers a greater variety of exercises and is ad-free.

 

9. TaskRabbit: Chores, Cleaning, Home Repair

Compatible with: iOS, iPhone, iPad, Android, web

You probably have a tsunami-sized lineup of improvements, repairs, and household duties to be done.  If you can spare the money, use TaskRabbit to lighten the load.  Hire a pre-screened Tasker to walk your dog, mount a TV, deliver a package or anything else you desire.  There’s no need for cash because you pay through the app when the assignment is complete.

 

What do you think of my list of tools to rescue the overworked and underpaid?  I know you have a few helping to keep your chin above water.  Don’t keep those programs a secret.  Share them with the rest of us below.

Life is better when we lift each other up.

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5 Powerful Ways Of Combating Loneliness On The Job

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you.

It’s striking that you’re not alone when you withstand periods of profound isolation.  Recent surveys show a dramatic increase in feelings of chronic loneliness in adults over the last few decades.  Researchers now claim levels range between twenty-five and forty percent of the population. That means as many as seventy-eight million people in the United States crave more social contact than they currently experience.

These feelings are not reserved for the socially awkward or shy.  You can be popular, in a romantic relationship, or occupy an office with fifty coworkers and still grapple with a sense of isolation.  People of all personality types suffer mentally and physically because they are starved for meaningful contact.  Those who are persistently lonely often exhibit signs of depression, anxiety, and early cognitive decline.  In fact, studies reveal they have lowered immune and cardiovascular systems and a higher mortality rate than obese people.

 Related: Overcoming Shyness After 40; Why Now Is The Right Time

Most experts point to technological advancements as the primary reason we are combating loneliness in record numbers.  After all, cell phones, cable, and social media make it possible for us to live in a virtual bubble.  These tools help us communicate, but interfere with intimacy.  In her book Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other, MIT professor Sheryl Turkle describes how our relationships are being damaged by daily online interactions.

 

 

Even work has evolved into a solitary endeavor where we email and text our way through projects and problems until the day is done.  While on break, we check our Facebook or Twitter accounts or shop online.  It’s no wonder we experience feelings of detachment from time to time.  The struggle lies in our unwillingness to change routines and become part of to the office community.  If you’re open to forming or improving your human connections, here are 5 powerful ways of combating loneliness on the job:

1. Exercise: Work It, Girl!

Why not be extra efficient and combine social bonding with physical activity?  Talk about killing two birds with one stone!  Ask a few peers if they’d like to jog or bike or go to the gym before or after work.  You could even get together on the weekend for tennis, golf or a yoga class.  These face-to-face interactions could lead to additional get-togethers and develop casual friendships.

If you can’t find a willing office mate or you work from home, you’ll have to be more resourceful.  Consider using apps to pair you with exercise or sports partners in your area.  While this approach won’t add to your work connections, it will expand your network and get you talking.  Here are a few options to investigate:

 

2. Midday: Are You Free For Lunch?

Has an endless parade of sandwiches and leftovers made you tired of brown-bagging it every day?  If your answer to that question is yes, then get out of the office and bring someone with you.  According to the Food Marketing Institute, forty-five percent of adults now eat lunch alone.  So, make a promise to yourself to ask a coworker to lunch once a week or as often as you can afford.  At first, this may be uncomfortable, but after a few successful outings, you may look forward to it.

If you simply can’t bring yourself to ask in person or you work alone, there are websites that make it easy to arrange a lunch date that is either friendly or romantic.  Remember, when combating loneliness; you must increase your opportunities for social interaction.  So, don’t forget to include your love life.  If you work anywhere near your partner, an occasional lunch date may reduce feelings of alienation. Others may find it necessary to use sites like these to find a mealtime companion:

 

 

3. Charitable Acts: Any Volunteers?

Volunteering makes you feel good.  It also puts you in close proximity to other do-gooders and those who desperately need assistance.  Many companies encourage employees to participate in existing volunteer programs on and off the clock.  This could be a fantastic opportunity to join your peers and make a difference in your community while getting to know them.

When working for a smaller business, it’s more likely you’ll have to take the initiative and start a donation or volunteer program yourself.  While this may be socially awkward, you’ll have a vote on which organizations benefit from the collective generosity.  You could ask peers to donate non-perishables to a local food bank or blankets to an animal shelter or supplies to a school in a poorer community.  The possibilities and needs are endless.  For more options, try:

 

4. Technology: Fighting Fire With Fire

Whether you’re chained to a desk or your office is located remotely, your smartphone and computer will likely be the tools used for combating loneliness.  In this case, your only alternative may be to utilize video calling apps to engage with friends and colleagues and get the face-to-face contact you need.  Fortunately, there’s a wide array of choices depending upon the devices at your disposal.  Here are a few to mull over:

 

5. Support: Time To Get Serious

Perhaps you’ve noticed your mood or mental state have been drifting toward the dark side for a while.  Feelings of isolation often lead to depression and anxiety.  It may be time to cut this off at the pass by participating in a support group or seeking therapy. Just click on the links below to get the process started.

  • Loneliness.SupportGroups.com has over 45,000 members who join discussions, create posts, and send private messages to each other.  There are dozens of other support groups on the site to help you through the rough patches in life.

  • GoodTherapy.org reaches an estimated seven million people per month.  It’s one of the largest therapist directories on the internet and has an informative blog with articles on various topics to inform and support you.

  •  Theravive.com is a network of licensed clinical therapists and psychologists dedicated to getting you the assistance you need.  You can find workshops, seminars, and therapists in your area.  The best feature may be the online and phone counselor listings that allow you to conduct sessions via webcam, phone, email, and instant messenger if you live in a rural area.

Combating loneliness on the job isn’t trivial, it’s an epidemic affecting millions of people.  Perhaps one of these approaches will ease your pain when you experience a sense of isolation.  There are, of course, other methods of staving off feelings of profound isolation.  What tools and techniques do you use to stay connected at work?  Let us know in the comment section below.

Life is better when we lift each other up.

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Why A Physical Attractiveness Stereotype Crushes Opportunities

Nearly everyone understands by the time they’re adolescents that appearances matter.  You see beauty and sexuality emphasized consistently in ads, movies, television shows, and social media.  Dating services portray people on their sites as attractive and eager to meet you.  Anti-aging products are hocked to women by twenty-something-year-old models with no spots or wrinkles.  Viagra ads suggest to men if they take the pill they’ll be able to bed a gorgeous woman, just like the one in the commercial.  We’re barraged with messages that reinforce the notion looks trump substance.

The pressure to be attractive extends to your professional life as well. But, landing a job you’re qualified for or getting the promotion you’ve earned shouldn’t depend on the size of your waistline or the prominence of your nose.  After all, you don’t comb your hair with a fork or require a formal introduction to dental floss!  However, growing evidence supports the theory that looks play a significant role in your career development and income.  Therefore, it’s imperative to learn why a physical attractiveness stereotype crushes opportunities for most people.

Who’s The Fairest Of Them All?

Let’s say you’re in the market for a new job.  You get your resume reviewed and edited by a professional and eagerly apply for several positions.  This, along with a snazzy cover letter ought to secure you a few interviews.  Beauty isn’t a consideration at this point, right?  Alas, most companies have been using ‘social screening’ for years to evaluate applicants.  It’s a process where hiring managers use your social media accounts to determine if you’re a viable candidate.  And unless you have picture-free profiles, your appearance is part of the package.  According to a recent poll conducted on behalf of CareerBuilder, sixty percent of employers surveyed used social networking platforms for hiring purposes.  Maybe this is old news to you.  No biggie.

Well, there is an abundance of research that emphasize the advantages of being good looking.  In a field experiment conducted by the University of Buenos Aires, researchers found that resumes submitted with photos of attractive applicants were 36 percent more likely to be given a callback.  If that’s not discouraging enough, studies by economist Daniel S. Hamermesh found that beautiful people are often offered higher salaries.  In fact, Hamermesh wrote a fascinating, yet disturbing book on the topic, Beauty Pays.  In it, he explains how companies can justify and afford to pay a premium for attractive employees.

 

 

Eyes Without A Face

Obviously, hiring based on a person’s looks is wrong.  The practice squanders human resources and reinforces stereotypes.  We can only wonder how often brilliant applicants are passed over for eye-catching mediocrity.  You also have to wonder how it affects office morale.  How can we reduce this type of discrimination?

Both businesses and governments have shown increasing interest in implementing blind or anonymous processes to review applicants.  This means more companies are attempting to reduce cues for conscious or unconscious bias in hopes of hiring more women and minorities.  It stands to reason this approach will also benefit older and less attractive prospects as well.  Current trends and strategies used include:

  • Omitting name, gender, and photos from resumes

  • Offering online questionnaires

  • Conducting telephone interviews

  • Positioning a candidate behind a screen during an interview

  • Eliminating social screening from the hiring process

Perhaps these tactics bring more diversity to the workforce and result in better positions and more money to those who have previously been discriminated against based on their looks.  However, instituting these procedures is purely voluntary on behalf of companies.  There are currently no laws mandating blind or anonymous hiring practices in the United States.  Also, businesses may be reluctant to change existing systems based on the added expense.  As a result, progress in the area is bound to be slow.

Related Reading: 11 Breathtaking Cindy Gallop Quotes About Equality

It’s easy to see why a physical attractiveness stereotype crushes opportunities for job seekers.  Pretty people continue to have the upper hand for now.  Perhaps in time, the statistics will change.  In the meantime, we’ll have to continue keeping up appearances to receive the highest pay possible.  Just like Mom always said, “Life isn’t fair.”

What are your thoughts?  Should companies be legally obligated to use blind interviewing to reduce stereotyping and increase fairness in hiring practices?  Share your experiences.