Beth Livingston

Two betas and an alpha

Do you ever get the feeling that the a$$holes in your office end up doing better than the decent folks? Yeah, you’re not wrong. A new study shows the people who score below average in “agreeableness” make more money than people who are nice.

The study’s authors offer a bunch of possible reasons for this. Agreeable men (the salary gap is bigger for men) might not conform to “masculine” norms. Disagreeable people might be more assertive in salary negotiations. Yada, yada.

But there is one reason that I think is more plausible than all the others: managers simply reward “disagreeable” behavior more, whether they know it or not. Doesn’t that sound like a law firm partner you may know?

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