By Devon Delfino, Staff Writer
According to a new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research, popularity in high school can have a lasting effect on how much money you make as an adult.
It all boils down to the summary statement: “We estimate that moving from the 20th to 80th percentile of the high-school popularity distribution yields a 10 percent wage premium nearly 40 years later.”
I really hope that this study is wrong; isn’t it the so-called geeks that are supposed to run the world after they’ve paid their dues in high school? But, it looks like “Revenge of the Nerds” is never going to happen if the nerds don’t learn how to better interact with everyone else.
However, the study is an interesting segway into the issue of social interactions and success. Perhaps it’s the sense of belonging which is most useful to the more popular students, maybe it’s simply the overall likeability which makes it easier for them to get what they want. But it begs the question: what about the outsiders? What about the nerds?
And, if the socially adept tend to be more successful, how do we explain the rise of more reclusive figures like Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs? Although, there do seem to be far fewer uber-successful people who are known for being less socially skilled.
Whatever the real reason behind the results of the study, it is important to note that it is simply a correlation and not conclusive fact which produces these results. So, there’s still hope if you happen to be more of a loner.
I’d like to think that being great at what you do is enough, but there is no denying the importance of being able to connect with other people.