Texting through your morning meeting isn’t going to endear you to your boss—and your paycheck will probably end up paying the price.
But there are less obvious things you can be doing that can give your salary a big hit.
We dug up the research; all you have to do is get to work. We found 14 scientifically-sound reasons your salary stinks—and discovered how you can turn them into opportunities to build a goldmine.
Money mistake: You Always Skip Drinks…
Happy hour might actually hit your wallet in a good way: Drinkers earn 10 to 14 percent more than those who abstain, according to a study in the Journal of Labor Research.
What’s more, men who frequent bars just once a month take home an additional 7 percent on top of this “drinkers’ premium.”
The effect has less to do with the booze and more to do with the fact that drinkers have bigger social networks. That, in turn, could lead to bigger salaries, the researchers say.
Money mistake: …But You Can’t Kick the Cigs
Not all vices pay: Each year you smoke cuts your total worth by $410, or about 4 percent, says research from Ohio State University.
Plus, a new study in JAMA Internal Medicine found smokers earn about $5 less an hour than non-smokers do.
The reasons are multi-faceted: Smokers may be less educated, impacting salary; breaks may bother employers; and smokers can be seen as less productive by the higher-ups.
The cost of packs also add up, as do healthcare costs associated with the habit. And that, of course, can further drain your wallet—and your company’s bottom line.
Money mistake: You’re No Jokester
Want a raise? Ask for a million dollars—really.
People who jokingly did this in a University of Idaho study wound up with 9 percent more cash than those who opted for more realistic requests.
Whatever number you start with—even if it’s not one the big guy would actually OK—serves as a psychological starting point for counteroffers, researchers say. That’s because you already have him thinking of a higher number than he would be otherwise.
Money mistake: You Use Round Numbers
Using a more precise number when negotiating your salary (like $78,750 instead of $80,000), could make you more likely to land an offer closer to what you want, find researchers at Columbia Business School.
When you throw out a specific figure, your boss assumes you’ve done research into what you’re worth in the marketplace.
As a result, they may be more likely to dole that amount out, the study authors explain.
Money mistake: You Take the First Offer
You’re psyched you got the job, but don’t jump the gun: People who negotiate starting salaries up their paycheck by about $5,000, finds research from George Mason University.
Once they want you, you actually have more of an upper hand than you may think.
“An employer does not want to start the search process all over simply because you ask to negotiate,” says Crystal Harold, Ph.D., of Temple University’s Fox School of Business.
Money mistake: You’re Too Nice
Nice guys really may finish last—at least when ranking your bank balances.
A Cornell study finds that competitive, aggressive, and even arrogant people earn 18 percent more annually than their more agreeable colleagues. These are the guys who also make it to the corner office.
But you don’t need to become a jerk. It might just be that disagreeable types set more aggressive goals or negotiate harder than the “nice guys,” the researchers say.
Money mistake: You Blow Off Your Workouts
Pumping iron can pump up your bank account: People who exercise three or more times a week make about 10 percent more than those who never work out, says a Cleveland State University study.
People with enough self-control to fit in regular exercise may just be more disciplined at work, too.
But it’s also possible that sweating it out could improve your attitude, energy levels, and smarts, the researchers say. And all of these factors combine for success in the office.
Money mistake: You Stay Put Too Long
Climbing the totem pole is a slow way to the top: Companies pay external hires 18 to 20 percent more than they pay people being promoted internally, according to Wharton School research.
These people also get promoted faster than internal hires do.
People who jump ship to work for the competition tend to have more education and experience than internal hires, researchers say.
But if you have your eye on a position in your current company, just make sure your resume is in tip-top shape.
An attractive CV that highlights your past accomplishments could also be a factor in the pay jump—and many internal candidates may slack on that, since they feel like they already have their foot in the door.
Money Mistake: You Sport a 5 O’Clock Shadow
Men who were rated as most well-groomed overall make between 4 and 5 percent more than those who look untidy in the workplace, says University of Miami research.
An attention to grooming can make you come off as more driven and professional, the scientists say.
Money Mistake: You’re Way Too Stiff
Learn to master the “power pose”: Lean back in your chair, put your feet up on your desk, and lace your fingers together behind your head.
This can boost your energy levels and confidence, while lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol, say researchers from Columbia and Harvard.
That could be why people who did this before a mock interview performed better and were more likely to land a gig than those who didn’t.
Since the position preps both your mental and physiological systems for stressful situations, you’ll be better situated to win out on a salary negotiation.
Money Mistake: You Don’t Have a Nickname
Every additional letter in your name after five letters is linked with a $3,600 drop in salary, according to a study by the career firm Ladders.
The logic is pretty simple: Short names tend to be easier to pronounce, spell, and remember.
It could simply be that people in jobs of seniority tend to be associated with nicknames. But other research has shown that common names are simply more likely to be hired than unique or hard-to-pronounce names.
If your name’s a mouthful, you don’t need to change it, though: Just come up with a shorter nickname and go by that.
A LinkedIn study look at successful CEOs around the world found that the most popular names were either short names or shortened versions of a first name.
Money Mistake: You Don’t Listen
People who scored high in emotional recognition—or how well they identify and make sense of other’s emotions—bring home more bacon than those who flub on the soft stuff, according to a study in the Journal of Organizational Behavior.
Being emotionally sharp helps you evaluate an environment and the people in it—and you can use that information to forge ahead at the office by forming key relationships and better handling pressure-filled moments with your boss.
Increasing your self-awareness and starting to actually listen to people are two ways to boost your emotional IQ.
For the former, find people who will give you honest feedback—and see yourself as a work-in-progress; not a finished project.
For the latter, instead of thinking about how you’re going to respond when someone finishes speaking, simply let them talk their entire thought through—then answer.
Money Mistake: Your Sex Life Is Slacking
An active sex life could be the ticket to a bigger pay stub, according to German research. People who got busy between one and four times a week made about 3.2 percent more than those who had sex less frequently.
Having sex regularly is linked to happiness, healthiness, and better emotional stability—all factors that may boost performance at work, the researchers say.
Money Mistake: You Skimp on Sleep
Snooze one more hour a week, and you could up your income between 1.5 percent and 4.9 percent, says research by UC San Diego and Williams College.
Being sleep-deprived seriously tanks your productivity—something you need to show the boss you’re worth all that cash.