I Got a Chin Augmentation to Get Ahead in My Finance Career — and Don't Regret It
In light of a recent RealSelf Aesthetics Interest Survey, which found that men are 36 percent more likely to get plastic surgery to get ahead at work than women, we asked Carl*, a 40-year-old finance professional working at a private equity firm in New York City, to explain how getting a noninvasive chin augmentation helped his self-esteem — and his career. The following story was told to Kelsey Castañon and edited for length and clarity.
When you're younger, you can get away with having some flaws. You think, "OK, maybe I'm not perfect, but I've got good hair; I'm in good shape." Then as you get older, stuff just doesn't cooperate like it used to. Everything adds up. Maybe the hair's growing thinner, or it's harder to keep the weight down. You figure you might want to start intervening. And frankly, as you reach the age where you've got a little more disposable income, you begin to think more seriously about things like cosmetic surgery.
In finance, appearances matter, especially in a place like New York, and we're all trying to show ourselves from our best angles.
When it came to my chin and jawline, I always thought, "Well, that could be improved," but I never really considered doing anything about it. I wouldn't say it's held me back in my career, but finance is a competitive field — so many people want to get into it. If the average person in this job is a well-dressed, well-educated, and well-pedigreed person, you do everything you can that's in your control to advance along those ranks. In finance, appearances matter, especially in a place like New York, and we're all trying to show ourselves from our best angles. Everyone, whether consciously or unconsciously, knows what the pecking order is and how the pecking order is established, so we change our behavior to advance.
Just look at people who are successful in all walks of life, even in careers where you would not necessarily think that looks matter: they all tend to fit a certain mold. They're all, in a sense, on the spectrum of handsome. It's not clear which way the causation goes, but at a minimum, there's a correlation between the way they look. So I thought to myself, "You know what? This is a small investment, and a stronger jawline is associated with decisiveness, and competence, and power. Who doesn't want to exude those three things?"