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Co-worker using her good looks to get ahead?

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Question: "How do you deal with someone who uses her looks to climb the corporate ladder? This person came into our company with no skills, but she is extremely attractive. She keeps getting promoted to the next level and is never in a job long enough to learn anything. How do the rest of us handle this?" — Just Average

Marie's Answer: Although undeserved success is always annoying, the only relevant question is whether this ladder-climbing looker is adversely affecting your own career. Here's what to do:

•    If she’s doing you no harm, then you might as well get over it. Ideally, promotions should be based on qualifications, but in reality, they’re often influenced by other factors, including political connections, friendship, and, yes, appearance. This simply falls into the “life's not fair” category.

•    On the other hand, if her career progress interferes with your own, ask yourself this question:  What can I do to accomplish my goals in this situation?  Please note the emphasis on helping yourself, not sabotaging your attractive colleague. 

•    If her incompetence makes your job more difficult, find a way to address the problem without sounding like a tattletale. If you are competing with her for promotions, work on increasing your influence with management. For some Office Coach suggestions about “playing politics,” check out Six Secrets of Politically Savvy People

Although it may be small comfort, I can almost guarantee that your comely co-worker’s ineptitude will eventually catch up with her. And I can definitely guarantee that at some point she will lose her looks.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Barb January 29, 2009 at 1:30 pm

Good advice if one has the emotional intelligence to “get over it” and move on. Unfortunately, I’ve see folks become so caught up with the envy, that they lose sight of their own goals. I agree, that one should focus on improving one’s own skill sets and making oneself more valuable to the company, as Rhonda said.

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Rhonda Short January 28, 2009 at 3:59 pm

I think it is only a matter of time before management realizes that cosmetics does not equate to competency. In the meanwhile, I would make myself more valuable to the company so that you are the next logical choice for promotion.

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