The pros and cons of being ugly

June 2011

Some months I seem overwhelmed with ideas for what to write about in my monthly rant. When that happens, avid followers of my website (there are a few…) will know this is the case because the piece appears relatively early in the month. If though, like this one, it’s right at the end of the month, then take it that I’ve been scratching around for ideas and hoping for inspiration. Well as I write this the date is the 26th June, and indeed that inspiration happened yesterday.

And, like other examples since I added the monthly comment feature to my site some two and half years ago, this late-in-the-month effort is also a tad more light-hearted than the norm – but none the less has a serious message.

So onto the story… I’ve been blessed with a number of qualities in this life, of which I’d boast imagination (in fact too much of it), creativity, determination, tenacity and a reasonable level of intellect. But note that ‘good looks’ aren’t included in that relatively short list, and that’s because the same short list is a fair and honest assessment.

But oh to have good looks: The pre-consultancy job interviews and job promotion interviews I endured for 25 years (assuming with the opposite sex or if interviewer were gay) would have been a doddle, consultancy meetings since then (again with the above caveat) would also have been a breeze, and, dare I say it, the expectations of clients (and again assuming the same caveat) would be diminished to a level that I would have barely had to break a sweat at my PC’s keyboard. In short, with good looks from birth I’d be where I am today with probably about 10% of the effort I’ve actually had to put in.

But actually, I’m leading you off at a tangent here because the problem doesn’t really lie with women in business being taken in by good looking men (I honestly think women see right through them) but more men, and in particular older ones, who are taken in by good looking women. Controversial statement? Perhaps, but note words above around ‘light-hearted’ this month.

So light-hearted yes, but bloody true none the less! And perhaps even I’ve been guilty of it in my previous days in corporate life (read from that same sentence minus ‘perhaps’).

And what prompted this? Last year I picked up a project for a client who was very dissatisfied by the work done by another consultant, but had initially been entirely taken in by them. And guess what: middle-aged male client and beautiful young female consultant. Then just yesterday, I learnt about same consultant, with different client (but male and wrong side of 50) who had been left in a difficult position because the project had gone a tad pear-shaped.

Thinking back this morning over my 35 years+ in gainful employment, I readily came up with dozens of such examples and without even putting the proverbial thinking-cap on. I thought of examples at the start of my career all those years ago, with numerous during my time at Argos and many during my ten years in consultancy. I conclude therefore that it’s the way of the world; the norm; human nature, albeit not politically correct.

So I’ll start my working day tomorrow morning with my now-customary look in the shaving mirror and the equally customary sense of disappointment that beauty sleep has failed miserably for the 19405th time, but content in the knowledge that if I get a new project in the day ahead it will be purely on the strength of what’s inside my head – not on the outside front of it.

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