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7 totally unfair ways to make more money

$100 bills

(MoneyWatch) Debrahlee Lorenzana, the "too hot" banker, apparently was not familiar with the old adage about too much of a good thing, and her plastic-surgery enhanced good looks cost her a job at Citigroup (C). But for the rest of us, the right nips and tucks just might translate into promotions and better pay.

A growing, albeit disturbing, body of research suggests that frivolous attributes can lead to serious consequences for salary and career. So if you don't feel like working hard in the office this week, just transform yourself into a tall, blonde, handsome, southpaw male who likes to drink and go to religious services. And soon you'll have the keys to the corner office.

Here are seven ways to make more money.

7 totally unfair ways to make more money

Get a makeover

A young lady

"Attractive men and women are often seen as more talented, kind, and intelligent and that can lead to promotions and raises," says Gordon Patzer, author of Looks: Why They Matter More Than You Ever Imagined. Unattractive men, meanwhile, earned 15 percent less than their attractive coworkers in a London Guildhall University survey of 33-year-olds. Unattractive women earned 11 percent less.

In a recent story, Newsweek offered more evidence that the “beauty premium” really does exist, finding that 13 percent of women and 10 percent of men would consider plastic surgery if it could boost their success at work. Those breast implants seem to have backfired for Lorenzana (above). But Patzer says a haircut and a wardrobe update can work wonders.

7 totally unfair ways to make more money

AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Walk taller

"Height is equated to power and authority," says Patzer. "We literally look up to people who are taller."

Every extra inch in height adds another $789 in annual income, according to psychologist Timothy Judge and researcher Daniel M. Cable at the University of Florida. Someone who is 6 feet tall earns nearly $166,000 more during a 30-year career, on average, than someone 5'5", say Judge and Cable.

7 totally unfair ways to make more money

Grow a mustache

Tom Selleck, who stars in the CBS crime drama "Blue Bloods," is seen as Thomas Magnum on "Magnum, P.I."

OK, maybe these guys aren't completely objective, but a group called the American Mustache Institute says its survey found that men with mustaches earned 8.2 percent more than men with beards and 4.3 percent more than clean-shaven men.

7 totally unfair ways to make more money

Lakewood Church

Attend religious services

Lakewood Church

You might want to pray for a bigger paycheck. Using Census figures, MIT economist Jonathan Gruber found that doubling church attendance increased income by 9.1 percent. Among Gruber's theories: Going to religious services helps you build social networks and shed the stress of everyday life.

7 totally unfair ways to make more money

Interscope Records

Go blonde

Interscope Records

Whether or not they have more fun, blondes earn 7 percent more than brunettes and redheads, according to researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia.

That's something of a head-scratcher, since "there is the 'dumb blonde' stereotype," says Deborah L. Rhode, author of The Beauty Bias: The Injustice of Appearance in Life and Law> and a Stanford law professor, who happens to be a blonde. Just be careful about going too Gaga with the peroxide. "You could end up being perceived as unqualified," says Rhode.

Lady Gaga, a former brunette, earned $62 million last year, according to Forbes.

7 totally unfair ways to make more money


Become a lefty (men) or a righty (women)

The Simpsons

In one British study, men who were lefties earned 5 percent more than righties, on average, while on the other hand, southpaw women earned 4 percent less than righties.

Researchers Kevin Denny at University College Dublin and Vincent O'Sullivan at University of Warwick maintain that these findings are "consistent with some psychological evidence which suggests that left-hander males have particular talents such as enhanced creativity."

7 totally unfair ways to make more money


Drink up

A Reason Foundation report found that male drinkers earned 10 percent more than abstainers, while women who celebrate happy hour earned 14 percent more. "There appear to be greater social networks among drinkers and that leads to more success in the workplace and higher earnings," says Edward Stringham, the report's lead researcher and a Fayetteville State University economist.

Men who went to bars at least once a month earned an additional 7 percent, on top of the 10 percent drinkers' premium. That's enough to justify a good bottle of Scotch. Women, alas, saw no pop in their earnings from going to bars.

Just remember the Debrahlee Rule: everything in moderation. "Drinking too much -- 21 to 38 drinks per week in our research -- led to decreased earnings," says Stringham.

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