- Although we hate comparing ourselves to others, we are often affected by our own perceptions of ourselves in relation to others when it comes to work.
- The idea that our own socio-economic status is holding us back can even affect our ability to keep certain jobs or pursue other work.
- Human resources professionals can help employees combat this feeling of impostor syndrome.
People’s perceptions of their own socioeconomic status may contribute to their employment status, according to one 2012 study.
What are the five social classes?
In the United States, there are five different social classes, according to Lumen Learning. These are the upper class, the upper middle class, the lower middle class, the working class and the lower class. They are based on a few different factors including education, income, and employment.
People in the upper class usually have their doctorates. or other professional degrees in medicine or law. Typically, these people are CEOs of their company, or might even be in politics. They are classified as earning over $ 100,000 per year.
It is believed that the upper middle class people have a graduate degree in education. These are professionals who earn between $ 70,000 and $ 100,000 a year.
People in the lower middle class are professional support staff and salespeople with bachelor’s degrees. They earn between $ 30,000 and $ 70,000 per year.
The working class people can be seen as the group of blue collar and office workers. They can have an associate’s degree or take college courses. Usually, they make around $ 10,000 to $ 30,000 per year.
The lower class is the group of the unemployed or underemployed. They can work part time, but usually have a high school diploma or GED. They earn less than $ 10,000 a year.
What defines social class?
Education within the classes ranges from those who graduated from high school to those who graduated from college. While education can obviously affect what people know, it also affects people from a social perspective. When people in the office introduce themselves to each other, they often ask where they went to school. When you ask this question of people who don’t have a degree, it can be uncomfortable. This could be because they wanted to have a degree or that a degree was technically required for the job they are doing.
Income is often ignored and is considered more of a taboo subject. However, the income is evident in many ways. Whether it’s taking more vacations or working overtime to pay their bills, the lifestyle many people lead is often indicative of their income. For example, you wouldn’t assume that lower class people could afford their three annual European vacations. You also probably wouldn’t assume that upper-class people would live in studios in a less developed part of town. However, people do not always live the assumed lifestyle of their income. Their self-perceptions are often used as a way to hide their realities. For example, someone with a high school diploma might try to prove themselves to their colleagues by wearing new clothes to fit other people in the office. In addition, according to Executive Style, the CEO of your company could drive an old car in order to save money.
The last variable for social class is employment. People often treat themselves and others differently depending on their job titles. For example, when the president of your company walks in, you might feel the need to behave differently by keeping your back straight, shaking his hand, or even standing up when he walks into a room. If you are a janitor, you might feel like you are invisible or unrecognized for all your efforts.
While social classes are obvious, they should often be put aside so that people can see others for their abilities and not their circumstances. While changing the idea that social class should exist will likely be a difficult task, there are various circumstances that come with believing that you are inferior to others in your office or in the workforce.
People who consider themselves to be members of a lower social class may find it more difficult to find a job. The problem is that unemployed people who perceive themselves as belonging to a lower class may imagine themselves having smaller and less diverse networks than they actually do, which is hurting their chances of finding a job, according to a study.
The study by Professor Ned Smith of the University of Michigan found that when threatened with losing their jobs, people who saw themselves as having lower social status considered their social and professional networks to be as small and denser as they were. they actually are. The pattern among high-status people was exactly the opposite, with high-level professionals imagining their networks to be larger and more diverse than they actually are.
Smith said that people who perceive themselves to be of lower status create a frustrating cycle of mentally severing network ties that may be most valuable to them.
“They feel threatened, penetrate deeper into their network, limit their access to information about new opportunities and feel even more threatened,” Smith said. “This has real implications during a financial crisis when cases of job loss increase.”
The research also has implications for human resources professionals tasked with laying off employees.
“When a company is laying people off, something as simple as reminding people that they have a network full of resources, or encouraging them to expand their network could help offset that effect,” Smith said. “Employment counselors could direct them to LinkedIn and Facebook to engage their old relationships and make sure they have access to all the information available.”
Smith’s article, titled “Status Differences in Cognitive Activation of Social Networks,” was co-authored by Tanya Menon and Leigh Thompson of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. It appears in the January-February edition of the journal Organization Science.