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  • I’m pretty much broke. Yeah, it’s kind of because of the economy, and it’s kind of because I’m a writer and we’re traditionally some of the brokest people in the world. I recently had someone tell me that I could make more money panhandling. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m not ruling it out either. At the moment, I prefer writing about plastic surgery to ranting on a corner about the apocalypse. So I’m doing okay. But whenever I whine to my older friends about the sad state of my financial affairs, I almost always get some form of the retort, “At least you’re young.”

    Why does being young matter? I’m still poor. Barely making rent doesn’t get you any less evicted when you’re young. Collecting free ketchup packets from fast food places isn’t any less sad when you’re young. In fact, it might be even sadder… but apparently, the one thing that seems to be different when you’re young is your ability to get hired. Getting a job, it seems, is a lot easier when you have a youthful, energetic appearance – and that’s why a number of ‘older’ job seekers are getting a leg up from plastic surgery or other non-surgical procedures like BOTOX.

    A Nice Blazer Just Isn’t Cutting It Anymore

    These days, the mantra ‘Dress for success’ doesn’t quite cover all the bases. Sure, having a classy wardrobe is important for interviewability, but looking professional has started to extend beyond wearing a well-tailored suit. It’s not like this is an entirely new concept. People in the entertainment industry have been getting a little nip/tuck to help their careers for ages (although you’d never know by looking at them). And decades ago, millions of Americans decided to ‘hire’ Kennedy as President instead of Nixon at least partially because of Nixon’s old, tired appearance on the televised debates. Maybe if Nixon had gotten a brow lift, we could have gotten Watergate out of the way sooner.

    Point is, nobody has ever wanted to employ an emaciated, exhausted, sweaty, or jowly dude (or chick) to represent their company. But in an economy where jobs are becoming scarcer and scarcer, appearance has started to matter even more. The unemployed are looking for any edge they can get in a competitive job market, and sometimes that edge is having an energetic, positive appearance.

    Dr. Daniel Yamini, a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in Los Angeles, suggests that, “These days you can never be too young or refreshed looking for a job. A majority of my patients have been affected in some way by the recent economy. Many are looking for, or in between, jobs and it’s very competitive. There is a huge…emphasis these days, particularly for women, in the employment market to look your best.” We try to tell ourselves that looks aren’t everything, and certainly a little plastic surgery won’t help you get that rocket scientist job you’ve always wanted if you didn’t graduate high school. But the reality is that people can’t help but judge each other by appearance. As Dr. Richard Fleming, a specialist in hair replacement and facial cosmetic surgery at the Beverly Hills Institute, asks, “Who wants to hire a person who looks tired or hungover?” The answer: pretty much no one. The fact that you actually get nine hours of sleep a night and have been a teetotaler since the 80s doesn’t matter at all. Dr. Fleming points out that the fatigued appearance that can come with age “stimulates certain parameters in our mindset” so we can’t help but associate someone’s drooping eyelids with the assumption that they lack energy and drive.

    How Can I Look Young Again?

    So there’s no fountain of youth. What can you do to improve your physical appearance, and consequently your chances at getting hired? Dr. Yamini says, “My patients want to look less tired, more refreshed, energized, and look like they have been taking care of their bodies. But above all they want to look natural.  This is a fine balance to rejuvenate someone without changing their appearance or making them look ‘done’ or too desperately trying to look younger than they are.” That’s right, the Joan Rivers look is not what employers want unless they want to hire Joan Rivers. So before you go for an extreme facelift, consider your options.

    What’s best for you? Well, it depends on what you need to feel good about your appearance. Dr. Fleming suggests that feeling like you look great actually makes you perform better in interviews and on the job. Confidence is an important part of seeming like an eligible candidate for any position, and liking what we see in the mirror inspires confidence. And if you’re getting older, that confidence might be waning. But, fortunately, plastic surgery has improved and there are less drastic, more natural options available.  As Dr. Fleming says, “It depends on what [you] need. [For] some people maybe it’s something simple – BOTOX. Others, something more invasive, like eyelid surgery. Eyes are the first to age, and that results in the tired look.” Dr. Yamini observes that, “The biggest spike in services [at my practice] has been in BOTOX and other non-surgical injectables that can erase the signs of stress, exhaustion, lack of sleep, etc.  When done properly, BOTOX can make you look less tired and stressed, yet still natural.  Fillers such as Juvederm or Restylane can smooth out features that make you look older, tired, or sad and make you appear younger, refreshed, and softer.”

    Change Your Face, Get a Job?

    Well, not necessarily. There just aren’t that many jobs out there right now, and getting your eyes done won’t change that fact. I mean, like I said, I’m broke and my eyelids are still pretty perky. So don’t rush into anything that costs a lot of money because you think it’s an automatic solution for unemployment. But do try to look your best and have confidence in your appearance. People will notice, and if you stand out you’ve got better chances.

    And if you’re deciding between a career as a writer or a career as a plastic surgeon, you might want to go with the latter. Just saying.

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