• Thu, Aug 2 2012

Could The Size Of Your Engagement Ring Affect Your Career?

“My mother says I didn’t open my eyes for eight days after I was born, but when I did, the first thing I saw was an engagement ring. I was hooked.”-Elizabeth Taylor

On this site we have talked about how being both married and not married can have an impact on your career. Some people view women who get married young as more stable and serious but others look at them as time bombs that will be quitting any day now to go have babies. But then again, being single and a young professional women brings along it’s own set of baggage. But questions about your relationship status aren’t usually even asked if you are wearing a ring on that left hand. But it turns out that little piece of jewelry brings its own huge set of associations that can have a tremendous impact on your career. We talked to some people about the ring stigma at work.

According to Kat Griffin, founder of the work fashion site Corporette, people will absolutely make snap judgements about your life the minute you put on that ring. She wrote:

“Small ring? She must have married for love. Ginormous ring, particularly on the hand of a coworker who doesn’t seem that invested in the job? Future soccer mom.Women who wear plain bands have a certain cache about them also — I always think that they send a vibe of competence, of “I can’t be bothered to wear a diamond ring on a daily basis because I’m too busy Doing Important Work and Not Thinking About Sparky Things.”

Can a little piece of jewelry really say that much? Apparently it can. It seems that the diamond on your finger is a better predictor of your career path than a fortune teller.

Nicole Crimaldi, Strategic Content Director for MsCareerGirl.com told The Grindstone:

“Unfortunately, I do think your ring effects the way people think of you at work. I’m not saying change who you are or leave your ring at home, I’m just suggesting that women be aware of it. I definitely do not agree that huge ring = future soccer Mom, but there are always people who will look at a big ring and judge you.”

But many career experts say you should in fact leave the ring at home if you are going on a job interview. A big sparkly ring is almost as bad as having a giant stain on your white blouse it seems. Executive recruiter and career counselor Bruce Hurwitz told The Grindstone:

“I was standing in line behind a woman who was complaining to her husband that she was not getting any follow-up interviews. She was applying for jobs, getting interviews, but was never invited back. I gave her my card and a piece of advice. I told her to “lose the ring.” She had a rock on her finger the size of the Hope Diamond and I’m not exaggerating by much. She asked me why. I told her that it sent all the wrong signals and would also make other women jealous. She said I was crazy. A couple weeks later she told me she was offered a job after two interviews and no engagement ring (she left on the wedding band.”

Interpersonal trainer John Goldberg told us:

“People make judgements about others based on a wide range of things including appearance, accent, behavior, habits, etc. An engagement ring, as well as a wedding ring, is part of what people look at when evaluating another person. In addition to thinking that a person who has a small diamond married for love, people can have the impression that the family is poor. A person who wears a big diamond could be thought of as not being career minded and/or part of a family that is rich, showy or as having bad taste or financial judgement.”

HR vet and consultant Kimberly Roden wrote an article on this very subject. She told us “perceptions can absolutely impact a gal’s world.”

“Wear diamonds and even a wedding ring on an interview, and here’s an example of an interviewer’s possible interpretation or first impression (conducted by a human being who will have subjective thoughts and biased opinions creeping into his or her thoughts) :

  • Diamond engagement ring.  “Will probably need time off for the wedding and honeymoon.”
  • Diamond ring with wedding band.  “Wonder if there’s a maternity leave in her future or little kids at home?”
  • Gigantic diamond ring with wedding band.  “Hubby must earn a good living so she doesn’t need this job.  Probably high maintenance who will whine or quit if she can’t have her way.””And as usual it seems that men may actually benefit in their careers from the size of their fiance’s ring since they bought it. Author and marketing maven Dorian Smith told The Grindstone:

“The engagement ring says just as much (if not more) about the *man* than it does about the woman. And, when his colleagues see that ring, they’re going to think “wow he must be doing well for himself, let’s connect more with him to see if we can get into whatever he’s into.” So, he could actually end up getting more work just from the impression my ring gives people.”

So, yes, we have given you yet another thing to worry about. Show the ring off at home to your friends and family, write a blog about it, make a shrine, etc., But if you are trying to get a new job, maybe give the ring a rest for the day.

Featured photo: dragon_fang/Shutterstock.com

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  • Lastango

    That’s a good, hard-headed analysis of the way things often work in corporate life.
    (IMO, that’s one reason why women sometimes step off the career track. They come into a career thinking about all the professionalism and excitement — maybe buying into some of the glitz they see on TV and in the glossies — and find out that working for a corporation is all too often a lousy experience, shared with people who can be very crummy despite their high status.)
    But back to the main point. I think what you say applies to lots of aspects, and in general it’s critical to never give one’s colleagues an avenue for disrespect. Once they smell blood they will band together and circle like a pack of sharks. Take cars, for instance. A manager may personally be indifferent to her own vehicle, but she ought to be assured everyone else at the office notices — especially her peers. If it’s too old, she will be put down as not being on the same exhalted plain they are. If the car is too expensive, she’s profligate. If it’s unusual for a woman to drive, like a 911, she’s scary and hard to relate to. And so on; whenever someone departs from the norm, will find a way to spin it to each other as a negative.
    Being constantly on the defensive is wearysome. I think the best approach is to be preemptive, and to tell others as little about oneself as possible. Unfortunately, that includes commonplaces. Telling someone who went to Orlando on vacation that you’re back from a diving adventure in a Pacific island paradise is a recipe for trouble. Staying safe can mean deliberately avoiding forming deep friendships at work, and being careful about who has been to your house and seen how you live. No one needs to know what your kids do in their spare time, or what organizations or groups anyone in your family belongs to. If your husband is financially and professionally successful — or if he isn’t — STFU. Apparently casual inquiries should be treated as an intelligence-gathering mission by someone who intends to use the information to work against you socially/politically.
    Blah. It’s a lousy deal. Are there exceptions? Sure. But the advice about the diamond rings is spot-on for many aspects of what we show to people around us.

  • Lastango

    That’s a good, hard-headed analysis of the way things often work in corporate life.
    (IMO, that’s one reason why women sometimes step off the career track. They come into a career thinking about all the professionalism and excitement — maybe buying into some of the glitz they see on TV and in the glossies — and find out that working for a corporation is all too often a lousy experience, shared with people who can be very crummy despite their high status.)
    But back to the main point. I think what you say applies to lots of aspects, and in general it’s critical to never give one’s colleagues an avenue for disrespect. Once they smell blood they will band together and circle like a pack of sharks. Take cars, for instance. A manager may personally be indifferent to her own vehicle, but she ought to be assured everyone else at the office notices — especially her peers. If it’s too old, she will be put down as not being on the same exhalted plain they are. If the car is too expensive, she’s profligate. If it’s unusual for a woman to drive, like a 911, she’s scary and hard to relate to. And so on; whenever someone departs from the norm, will find a way to spin it to each other as a negative.
    Being constantly on the defensive is wearysome. I think the best approach is to be preemptive, and to tell others as little about oneself as possible. Unfortunately, that includes commonplaces. Telling someone who went to Orlando on vacation that you’re back from a diving adventure in a Pacific island paradise is a recipe for trouble. Staying safe can mean deliberately avoiding forming deep friendships at work, and being careful about who has been to your house and seen how you live. No one needs to know what your kids do in their spare time, or what organizations or groups anyone in your family belongs to. If your husband is financially and professionally successful — or if he isn’t — STFU. Apparently casual inquiries should be treated as an intelligence-gathering mission by someone who intends to use the information to work against you socially/politically.
    Blah. It’s a lousy deal. Are there exceptions? Sure. But the advice about the diamond rings is spot-on for many aspects of what we show to people around us.

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  • DD

    Trying to read this, but it’s so poorly written!

  • DD

    Trying to read this, but it’s so poorly written!