Do You Have to be Tall to Make it in Business?

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About Mervyn Kaufman

A consumer-magazine writer, Mervyn Kaufman is the author most recently of The Shamrock Way, the history of Arizona's biggest and most enduring food-service company, and coauthor of the Gary Stevens memoir, The Perfect Ride.


  1. Jen Crook says:

    Very interesting article, the premise of which I have felt myself even as a female. At 5′ tall, and what insurance companies call a perfect weight for my height, I have gone on interviews that turned into disasters as soon as I walked through the door to an office with a woman who was 5’9″ tall, or more. Although I was referred by a past president of the company, this woman took one look at me, gave me 3 minutes of time, and passed me along to her operations manager. When a friend of mine interviewed with the same woman for a different job about a year later I told her I was sure she would get the job, and I was right. Although my friend had much less experience in the field, she is 5’10″. She got the job.

    Even some men do not like being singled out for special, or extraordinary treatment due to their height. My husband was 6’4″, working for a man who was about 5’8″; when they went public, my husband was forced into being the “face” of the company, although he was not the president, but the vice president. He was actually told that it was his height, and “stature,” that was the reason. He hated this, in fact when single he even hated walking into restaurants or bars that were new because he felt he was being singled out for no other reason than his height. He was also handsome, but that didn’t help his self-confidence about it. (past tense as he has passed away)

    It is so unfortunate that people are judged by such barbaric, self-defeating methods. Past height, and looks, we also need to now deal with ageism. When will capability suffice?

  2. Dave Kaiser says:

    I like being tall (6’5″), bu it does have it’s downsides at times, like being on an airplane, or confronting men with a Napoleon complex

  3. George Manet says:

    An insightful look at office politics and promotion. It’s not so much how you do a job, it’s how you look doing it. In this case size did really did matter, and the author slipped unknowingly into the lion’s den. How many dumb, beautiful secretaries/receptionists have we had to deal with in business. It’s obviously it wasn’t brains that got them the job. How many guys get the promotion because of their golf-club looks and manner. Business executives have become even more swayed than in the past with our emphasis on “presentation” and image. As in this case, it explains the superficiality of judgment.

  4. anonymous says:

    It may well be true that taller men earn more. (full disclosure, I’m 6’3″) However… your cost of living is a lot higher if you are tall, as well. You need larger clothes (tall sizes can be twice the price due to low production voltum), larger beds, larger cars, more gas for those cars, etc, etc. Even, most basically, you need more food than a smaller person.

    So might just be, that taller men earn more, because we NEED more. Perhaps we drive ourselves just a bit harder for that reason?

    FWIW… being tall is NOT the romantic advantage many short guys think it is. Lots of tall guys get rejected. Social dominance, not height per se, is what attracts women.

  5. This is one of the best articles I have read here in a while – different from the usual and insightful. My only criticism is that it was too short!

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