In one of my favorite books, ‘Blink’, by, Malcolm Gladwell, I loved reading about the ‘Warren Harding Error’. It goes like this:-

“In the US population, about 14.5 % of all men are 6 feet or taller. Among CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, that number is 58. Even more striking, in the general American population, 3.9% of adult men are 6 foot two or taller. Among the CEO sample, almost a third were 6 foot or taller.

An inch of height is worth $789 a year in salary. That means that a person who is six feet tall but other otherwise identical to someone who is five foot five will make on average $5525 more per year….

…As Timothy Judge, one of the authors of the height-salary study, points out: ‘If you take this over the course of a 30 year career and compound it, we’re talking about a tall person enjoying literally hundreds of thousands of dollars of earning advantage.’ Have you ever wondered why so many mediocre people find their way into positions of authority in companies and organizations? It’s because when it comes to even the most important positions, out selection decisions are a good deal less rational than we think. We see a tall person and we swoon.”

So, I am thinking, how about compiling a list of such ‘errors’ which, if used judiciously by us, can make us more profitable at the workplace?

These recommendations are based on careful research (at this point, let me reveal a fact, if you are thick and have not discovered till now –I don’t always write factually accurate stuff ) done by me at various workplaces I have encountered.

1.    Use a phone with high-end features beyond the needs of your job. Roll up your eyes in exasperation, sigh and pull it out every time it beeps, even if just to check a mail forward about ‘how kidneys are being stolen skillfully, even as one is eating a Mac burger’.


2.    Wear clothes with neatly embroidered logos of BIG brands. Since you cannot afford to buy those clothes, just beg your grandmother to embroider those logos on the clothes you have.


3.    During coffee breaks, hang out with the big guys. Even if you hate them, and the conversation is as stimulating as the buzz of a bee hovering around your ear, just bear with it. It gives the illusion that you are one of them.


4.    Use laptop bags that look like luggage strollers with fancy airline tabs (try to get one that says FIRST CLASS. If you cannot, just print one on the office color printer).


5.    Drink exclusive drinks that normal people do not. For example, medicinal tea, ayurvedic coffee, hot water infused with life-enhancing minerals obtained from the Dead Sea. 


6.    Differentiate your dressing (this for the ladies, however the gents can feel free to borrow) – A red, lustrous eyeliner, an enigmatic eye-shadow, a string of rare stones and so on. It makes people around you more reverent and fearful of you than they would be if you were a normally-dressed woman.


7.    Flaunt memberships to esoteric clubs – Golf is passé. Now is the time for ‘Society for the Protection of the Differently-Abled Jelly Fish’ or ‘Club of Counterfeit Collectibles’.


8.      Keep your body language muted and subdued. Take Botox, if needed. It gives you an aura of being calm and unruffled.


9.      Walk around with print of COMPLEX DIAGRAMS.  Just make sure they are visible to people who see you in the elevator, lobby, restroom, or any such place you are mostly found at. Refer to my post around the importance of the same, for more details.


10.  Build the skill to summarize the work done by others, confidently, so that it sounds like you did it yourself. This should be done only if you have No. 1, 2, 6, 8 and 9 taken care of.

I don’t think we can rid of the workplace of judgments based on appearances, so why not join them, if we can’t beat them? Do add your suggestions….!!!