If you’re still turning to Emily Post for etiquette advice, you probably speak when spoken to, act politely at all times, and return all compliments with a smile. While that might be well and good at a bridal tea, once you walk into the workplace, it’s time to throw all tea party etiquette out the window if you want to do well, financially, that is. It’s initially tempting, especially when your new workplace is full of men in leadership, to keep your head down and be submissive, but if you’re too nice, it turns out that you’re actually going to get paid less money.
A new study in The European Journal of Work and Organizational psychology looked at both male and female characteristics as applied to the workplace, and unfortunately for us found out another reason we’re getting paid less — we’re acting too nice. In a survey of 375 men and women from the same company, they found that dominating, type-A, alpha females were actually making a lot more money than the women who kept quiet. Not only were they making more money, but on top of that, they felt like they were worth the higher price tag, as opposed to more submissive women who worried they didn’t even deserve the significantly lower pay they were offered. If you think about this from a recruitment standpoint, it totally makes sense – women who have more courage and are more likely to speak up are probably more likely to negotiate their salaries, ask for raises, and be confident that, yes, they worked hard and they deserve it.
I’ve been told repeatedly that I’m not the nicest person, and the “b” and “c” words may have been thrown around a little too frequently for my liking, but the joke’s on you, because I’ll be the one making the same amount of money as the men in the office thanks to years of hardening my skin and not caring about what others think of me. Do I channel my boss bitch perhaps a little too frequently? Probably. Is it going to result in an improvement in my checking account? Almost definitely. The next time you think about being quiet and playing it safe in the office, maybe try standing up for yourself instead, and you’ll have the title of HBIC in no time, as well as the pay to match..