by: C.S. Deam
A recent study at the University of Florida found that over the span of their careers short people earn less money than their taller counterparts. In terms of cold hard cash, each extra inch in height equals roughly $800 difference in annual pay. So, essentially a person standing at 5 ft 8 inches tall will make about $9600 less annually than someone standing at 6 ft 8 inches tall.
It's surprise that in this post-modern era our incomes are influenced so strongly by our physical statures. The figure of $9600 per year, in the example above, should be a stark enough example of this - but the practice seems even more unsettling when multiplied over a career spanning 30 years. Just by being a foot shorter than your peers, you are likely to earn $288,000 less over 30 years than they do.
You would think that in an 'enlightened era,' such as the one in which we live, that payscale would be based on individual and team results rather than physical height characteristics. Unfortunately the study shows otherwise.
So, what are we to do?
Should we form an affirmative action group to pursue the correction of these practices?
It’s too tough to legislate changes into people minds. Plus, there’s a ton of other baggage that goes along with it. You’d have to define what ‘short’ is. You’d have to create a government entity to monitor and enforce penalties against discriminators. Too expensive. Too negative. Too divisive.
My solution focuses on blatantly impressing upon people that shorter people are worth paying more.
Let me illustrate with an example out of the world of real estate.
A nice house sat vacant for many months with no potential buyers showing interest. The homeowner kept dropping the price from time to time over the course of the year and still no potential buyers showed interest. Eventually, the seller took a shockingly different approach and RAISED the asking price several thousand dollars above what the original asking price had been.
The house sold in a matter of days.
Perceived value can play a huge role in economics. And apparently, according to this study, there’s a perceived value that the shorter a person is, the less they can be paid.
How do we change that perception?
Let’s get thousands of people who consider themselves short in stature and under salaried, and let’s raise their pricetag – just like the homeowner raised their asking price.
Teach these individuals how to create wealth rather than have jobs. Show them how to make hundreds of thousands of dollar per month. Then showcase them as power-brokers. An elite group of people with a common characteristic of shorter stature and greater wealth can leave an indelible mark on the psyches of the world’s population that shorter people are worth paying more money than taller individuals.
We may believe the words in the Declaration of Independence of the United States that all people are created equal, but we end up seeing that people are treated unequal. Instead of waiting for someone else to change societies impressions of us, that responsibility falls into our own hands.
We may be created equal – but within our power – within our individual realms of influence - we have incredible opportunities to become unequal. We have the power to choose whether we’re treated unequal in ways we dislike, or treated unequal in ways we like.
So now that we’re working toward being treated unequally in ways we like, we’d better start making plans for using those hundreds of thousands of dollars. Right?
How about bankrolling the next grant for another round of research that will show the next wave of trends in pay as related to height - that shorter people started earning more than their taller counterparts beginning in 2003?
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