Who does not cherish childhood? Who does not wish to stay young? All men and women do want to look young.
But it is not in our hands. All we can do is be an evergreen person who is young at heart. But again, some are blessed with a baby face.
You might have known about a disease called 'Progeria' that makes young people look old. However, I am talking about any disease opposite to that, rather I am just talking about people who look younger than their age.
And it is pretty normal. They look young, happy, innocent and positive. But is it positive for their career?
According to a report, the global market for anti-aging products is projected to exceed $260 billion by 2022. This piece of information shows how obsessed and concerned people are about looking young.
However, the story inside the office is different. People living corporate lives might not be interested in investing in something that often brings bullying and demotivation towards them.
"Having a young appearance, I have been a victim of discrimination many times throughout my corporate life thus far," says Mahmudul Islam, a professional based in Dhaka.
"Whenever my colleague with a mature face reached out to our boss for a favour or leave of absence, he was treated nicely. But I was treated differently. This is very pathetic, as it hurts and harms the confidence level of the victim. It can be compared to racism - the way a white American and an African-American are treated differently in the job sector."
In many cases, supervisors do not rely on baby-faced employees for a project although they proved their worth and secured the position. Baby-faced people are seen as having less "personal control" than others in young and middle adulthood. It may drag their confidence level way down.
In fact, there is mounting evidence that appearing younger than your age is not just inconvenient, it can have a radical impact on the way your competence is viewed, and even determine the kind of job you do in the first place.
The "Baby face over-generalisation effect" was first discovered in the 1980s. It occurs when possessing babyish facial features leads people to assume that you have corresponding personality traits. Leslie Zebrowitz, Professor Emerita of Social Relations at Brandeis University, US, co-discovered the phenomenon.
A study authored by her reveals that applicants who were baby-faced or female were favoured for jobs requiring qualities of warmth and submission, whereas those who were mature-faced or male were favoured for jobs requiring qualities of shrewdness and leadership.
There is another side of the coin as well.
"It was October 2020. I was attending the interview for a full-time job. After entering the interview room, one of the interviewers had a look at my resume and asked if I had passed my school yet! I answered confidently and she is my colleague today."
Debabrata Bhowmik, a professional copywriter based in Dhaka, recalled this interesting memory.
"Being a baby-faced young man, I find it interesting. I enjoy pretending to be a young person when meeting a newcomer out of university; or the way my colleagues take extra care in the office while dealing with me," he added.
Whether the impact is good or bad cannot be generalised. It varies. It depends on the personality, perspective, mental strength, etc of the individual. Yet in the broad view, it is a huge problem in the corporate world. The issue is not much discussed either.
There are legal protections against age-related bias in the UK, be it either actual age or the perception of it. It is known as "discrimination by perception".
Meanwhile in the US, there is currently no specific law to prevent prejudice based on facial appearance. As early as 1987, a Harvard Law Review article proposed that existing legislation should be modified to prevent discrimination due to 'the largely immutable aspects of bodily and facial appearance,' reports BBC.
"To be very honest, we all have a judgemental mindset as a human being. It is our instinct. But we must not treat people based on our first impression, we should give the other person time and chance to prove his or her worth and show their personality," Mahmudul Islam said further.
Baby face over-generalisation is one kind of racism. So, this practice must not be allowed in the office environment.
If a human being is compared to a book, then the story is the brain; while the face or outlook is just the cover. A book should not be judged by its cover.