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 Post subject: New Study: Popular Kids Make More Money PostPosted: 2012-10-23 03:43pm
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Just when life can't fuck you over any more. :x

http://theweek.com/article/index/235214 ... -as-adults

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Many a nerd has taken solace in the fact that the popular kids will one day bitterly rue not spending more time with their books, particularly when their geekier counterparts are swimming in dough and driving Ferraris. But that, sadly, is not the case, according to a new study released by the National Bureau of Economic Research. It turns out that 40 years after graduation, the most popular students earn about 10 percent more than the least popular, says Michael S. Derby at The Wall Street Journal:

Popularity pays because those who learn to play the game in high school are figuring out what they need to know to succeed when they enter the workplace. The report suggests schools may want to join their academic mission with one that helps students build their social skills...

High school popularity is an important concept because it is at that time that students are increasingly turning their attention from older authority figures to one another. The students that fare well under this consideration are starting to show the skills that will serve them well when they move out into the world and fend for themselves.

To gauge popularity, the NBER used data culled by the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, which has been tracking a batch of 10,000 former students in Wisconsin who graduated in 1957, says Sarah Kliff at The Washington Post:

Back in 1957, these high school students were asked to list three people they considered their closest friends. Those who had their names written down the most were deemed the most popular: They’re the ones that many people consider close friends.

However, "the report doesn't delve too deeply into personality traits, sidestepping the common trope of popular-guy-as-bully," says Tiffany Hsu at The Los Angeles Times. Indeed, "smarter students, as well as those who hailed from a warm family environment, tended to rank high on the social totem pole." So maybe geeks can take heart after all.


Now of course, the litmus test used here for "popular" may not have the same connotation as the commonly accepted stereotype.

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 Post subject: Re: New Study: Popular Kids Make More Money PostPosted: 2012-10-23 04:14pm
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It also studies the class of '57. I'd be pretty skeptical of there being very many similarities between that social environment and that of the class of '07.



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 Post subject: Re: New Study: Popular Kids Make More Money PostPosted: 2012-10-23 04:17pm
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Being able to socialize, have lots of friends and network gets you advantages in life? I am shocked.

Interesting they did this in Wisconsin... I wonder if they did this in a California or New York school if the percentages would be higher or lower.



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 Post subject: Re: New Study: Popular Kids Make More Money PostPosted: 2012-10-23 04:22pm
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Brother-Captain Gaius wrote:
It also studies the class of '57. I'd be pretty skeptical of there being very many similarities between that social environment and that of the class of '07.

Agreed. The 'popular kids in '57 were probably popular because of looking good and athletic and academic success.
The 'popular' kids in '07 were probably popular because of being trendy, the most counter-culture, being fun at parties or getting laid a lot. Now, not to say that those things wouldn't apply in '57, or that academic and athletic success didn't apply in '07, but to the degree that they apply now... no way.



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 Post subject: Re: New Study: Popular Kids Make More Money PostPosted: 2012-10-24 04:01am
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Aren't popular pupils also usually better students, on average? I seem to recall that the "dumbass football jock" stereotype didn't actually exist...



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 Post subject: Re: New Study: Popular Kids Make More Money PostPosted: 2012-10-24 04:25am
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Also in the long term of course people with better social skills are going to go further in their chosen fields. Sorry nerds. You were all lied to.



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 Post subject: Re: New Study: Popular Kids Make More Money PostPosted: 2012-10-24 04:52am
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You begin to really appreciate the role of social passage rites and rituals in building up those social skills in children once you realize school is really focused on technical skills and knowledge - which is important, but sometimes seems to promote this mindset where parents are encouraged to neglect social development of their children outside of the school environment.

Also: the lies told to nerds are necessary to make them feel relevant and potentially useful. We tell lots of people similar lies all the time.



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JULY 20TH 1969 - The day the entire world was looking up

It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
- NEIL ARMSTRONG, MISSION COMMANDER, APOLLO 11

Signature dedicated to the greatest achievement of mankind.

MILDLY DERANGED PHYSICIST does not mind BREAKING the SOUND BARRIER, because it is INSURED. - Simon_Jester considering the problems of hypersonic flight for Team L.A.M.E.

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 Post subject: Re: New Study: Popular Kids Make More Money PostPosted: 2012-10-24 09:49am
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Most major activities require co-operating teams of people and of course social skills are vital to building and running teams. Even without taking a leadership role, getting recognition for your abilities and making an effective contribution to a group requires good presentation, comprehension and general communication skills.

A less obvious result, and which I personally find more amusing, is how individualists outperform socialists on challenging projects. There is a ludicrous notion popularised on this board of libertarians being unable to co-operate in any fashion while socialists automatically form a perfectly efficient hive mind. In reality, entrepreneurs and independent contractors need considerably more social skills to succeed, because they must convince people to voluntarily invest in their company, work on their project, buy their product, hire them for a contract etc. Networking and building relationships of trust with partners, customers and suppliers is vital for the success and growth of small companies, and management of perceptions, expectations and individual problems is vital to get good performance out of teams. Money is never enough on its own to get the best out of people and often there is not even enough money to match the compensation larger companies can pay, meaning social skills have to cover the gap by making people feel happy about their role.

Meanwhile socialists can only think in terms of rules that force people to do what is necessary; and they can never agree among themselves exactly what rules must be enforced. It is never 'here is what we can offer you, what can you offer' it is 'here are my rules which you must follow'. Any time a negotiation is not going there way, it is because it is 'unfair and exploititative'. They can survive in government beurecracies and large companies where they can exploit a mass of rules, are immune to being fired and continue to rack up a fat pension regardless of how many months of 'medical leave to deal with personal stress' they take. They cannot survive any environment where talented people can just walk away from their rules.



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 Post subject: Re: New Study: Popular Kids Make More Money PostPosted: 2012-10-25 03:27pm
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Starglider wrote:
Most major activities require co-operating teams of people and of course social skills are vital to building and running teams. Even without taking a leadership role, getting recognition for your abilities and making an effective contribution to a group requires good presentation, comprehension and general communication skills.


Right, but the study, or at least coverages of the study, are sort of misleading when they identify this as "popularity". It's a wholly different kind of popularity to what we're used to thinking of.

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A less obvious result, and which I personally find more amusing, is how individualists outperform socialists on challenging projects.


Wait, this is political now? :?

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There is a ludicrous notion popularised on this board of libertarians being unable to co-operate in any fashion while socialists automatically form a perfectly efficient hive mind.


No, it's not that libertarians cannot cooperate, it's that the libertarian system is unstable and not a suitable environment for cooperation.

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In reality, entrepreneurs and independent contractors need considerably more social skills to succeed, because they must convince people to voluntarily invest in their company, work on their project, buy their product, hire them for a contract etc. Networking and building relationships of trust with partners, customers and suppliers is vital for the success and growth of small companies, and management of perceptions, expectations and individual problems is vital to get good performance out of teams. Money is never enough on its own to get the best out of people and often there is not even enough money to match the compensation larger companies can pay, meaning social skills have to cover the gap by making people feel happy about their role.


OK then, so explain how your pet theory checks drug companies releasing dangerous substances to public, concealing side effects and then cutting and running with the profit. How does your precious, entrepreneurial cooperation deal with this issue? So-called "socialists" have these things called federal agencies with qualified professionals and the power to enforce regulations for the public good. Is your deluded solution that the public just suffer the consequences, so that maybe someone will eventually make the connection, and run the drug company out of business, after tens of thousands have suffered horrible deaths?

What is the private alternative? A private drug-testing agency would not be profitable, could be paid off, and would have no authoritative power. Funded federal agencies have taken many years to expose corporate fraud, and in the meantime, very rarely did private, super-social libertarians figure it out by themselves. By your theory, they should have.

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Meanwhile socialists can only think in terms of rules that force people to do what is necessary; and they can never agree among themselves exactly what rules must be enforced. It is never 'here is what we can offer you, what can you offer' it is 'here are my rules which you must follow'. Any time a negotiation is not going there way, it is because it is 'unfair and exploititative'. They can survive in government beurecracies and large companies where they can exploit a mass of rules, are immune to being fired and continue to rack up a fat pension regardless of how many months of 'medical leave to deal with personal stress' they take. They cannot survive any environment where talented people can just walk away from their rules.


I'll assume that "we" here is the government, and "you" is the workers. Did you know that most socialists aren't politicians?

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 Post subject: Re: New Study: Popular Kids Make More Money PostPosted: 2012-10-25 03:49pm
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 Post subject: Re: New Study: Popular Kids Make More Money PostPosted: 2012-10-26 06:19am
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Rants about cartoon 'socialists' aside, Starglider's got a point about the mechanism. Being popular takes social skills. Being popular as a kid could even make better social skills: you get positive reinforcement when you socialize instead of negative. It's a positive feedback loop.

PeZook, about "you'll make more money" being lies-to-nerds... to me it sounds complicated. A genuinely intelligent nerd who applies their potential is probably going to have a better chance of a decent job, say one that pays median wage or higher. They're not more likely to be a CEO or a successful lawyer or anything, but being able to handle complex technical stuff helps you get paid more.

Whereas a lot of the people who nerds see as their tormentors in school aren't actually the super-popular kids; they're just the bullying assholes who are tolerated by the social group as a whole. Those kids don't necessarily succeed because of better social skills. Indeed, they may just end up totally failing at life because they leave school 'trained' to be a sociopathic fuckwit who no one is going to trust with a butter knife.

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 Post subject: Re: New Study: Popular Kids Make More Money PostPosted: 2012-10-26 06:37am
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Simon_Jester wrote:
PeZook, about "you'll make more money" being lies-to-nerds... to me it sounds complicated. A genuinely intelligent nerd who applies their potential is probably going to have a better chance of a decent job, say one that pays median wage or higher. They're not more likely to be a CEO or a successful lawyer or anything, but being able to handle complex technical stuff helps you get paid more.


It is complicated, I agree ; The full lie is actually "Don't worry about not being good with people, study well and you'll make more money than the popular guys anyways"

And most antisocial nerds (there ARE very social and popular nerds, too) usually don't stay antisocial forever, either. Not all of them are told this lie, etc - and social skills can be learned. Hell, part of university life is about developing them.

Simon_Jester wrote:
Whereas a lot of the people who nerds see as their tormentors in school aren't actually the super-popular kids; they're just the bullying assholes who are tolerated by the social group as a whole. Those kids don't necessarily succeed because of better social skills. Indeed, they may just end up totally failing at life because they leave school 'trained' to be a sociopathic fuckwit who no one is going to trust with a butter knife.


Bullies aren't really the question here, though. Most popular kids don't torment nerds at all.



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JULY 20TH 1969 - The day the entire world was looking up

It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
- NEIL ARMSTRONG, MISSION COMMANDER, APOLLO 11

Signature dedicated to the greatest achievement of mankind.

MILDLY DERANGED PHYSICIST does not mind BREAKING the SOUND BARRIER, because it is INSURED. - Simon_Jester considering the problems of hypersonic flight for Team L.A.M.E.

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 Post subject: Re: New Study: Popular Kids Make More Money PostPosted: 2012-10-26 08:36pm
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The metric for popular here seems to "was personally liked by a large number of people" rather "school celebrity". The captain of the football team (assuming we buy into the assumption that he was an academically unremarkable chunkhead) may have been the center of attention, but how many people are going to rank him as one of their closest friends? (Maybe a lot). Conversely, an alpha nerd would probably have no shortage of people listing him as their best friend, and would thus meet the study's criteria for popular.

In that respect, this is pretty unsurprising. People who rise to the top of their social circle in high school are probably both intelligent and socially adept, which is a good starting point for success in life.



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