Everybody knows an office jerk.
They’re the ones who yell, scream, pound the table — and in general, make the office a bit miserable for everyone. They may be absolutely fantastic at their job, but that doesn’t mean that people have to like working with them.
Here’s another reason to hate them: they’re probably making more money than you, for doing the exact same thing you’re doing.
So why is that?
Well, according to a study from Cornell University, Notre Dame, and University of Western Ontario — it could be that the old adage, “Nice guys finish last”, really does carry some truth to it.
What the researchers found is that being “agreeable” or “disagreeable” in the office does have consequences… and those that were generally more assertive with their opinions (and hence, more likely to be considered a jerk or disagreeable) were more likely to get paid a higher salary than those who try to be more pleasant and even-handed in their relationships with others in the organization.
So much so that disagreeable men were earning up to 18% more (about $10,000) then their much-nicer counterparts. Similar results were found for disagreeable women, earning about 5% more than their sorority sisters.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to be a jerk to get ahead at work – mastering interpersonal relationships and being viewed as cooperative and helpful are definitely not negatives, and could result in better long-term job satisfaction and future promotion.
Think about this when your next job review comes up. Will you just sit there while your boss tells you about the work you’ve done over the past year, and that’s why you deserve just a Cost of Living increase of 2% (same as you got last year)? Or will you be more assertive in your conversation and point out all the significant projects you worked on and other ways you’ve improved the overall company?
That’s what all those employment self-help books tell you to approach your annual review, armed with the material to get you the maximum raise available. But if you just sit there and agree with everything that the Boss is saying, you may get a raise or a promotion, but you may be leaving some negotiating items on the table that could have been yours.
If only you had been a little bit more assertive. A little bit more of a jerk.
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