Working with psychos


I’ve had the misfortune to work with some total psychos during my 28 years as a journalist.

Sometimes I’ve wondered whether it’s actually me that’s the problem because what are the odds of a person cramming so many of them into one career.

So it was a relief to read a news report on a new book, The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success, which says journalism is one of the careers that’s more likely to attract psychopaths than others.

Phew, that explains it.

Media jobs (primarily television and radio) ranked third on the list and journalists followed in seventh place on the book’s list.

Kevin Dutton, the author, indicated that ”a number of psychopathic attributes [are] actually more common in business leaders than in so-called disturbed criminals — attributes such as superficial charm, egocentricity, persuasiveness, lack of empathy, independence, and focus.

“When psychologists talk about psychopaths, what we’re referring to are people who have a distinct set of personality characteristics, which include things like ruthlessness, fearlessness, mental toughness, charm, persuasiveness and a lack of conscience and empathy. Imagine that you tick the box for all of those characteristics.

“You also happen to be violent and stupid. It’s not going to be long before you smack a bottle over someone’s head in a bar and get locked up for a long time in prison. But if you tick the box for all of those characteristics, and you happen to be intelligent and not naturally violent, then it’s a different story altogether. Then you’re more likely to make a killing in the market rather than anywhere else.”

Or maybe just kill their co-workers/staff’s joy …

Anyways, here are the Top 10 psycho-attracting professions:

1. CEO
2. Lawyer
3. Media (Television/Radio)
4. Salesperson
5. Surgeon
6. Journalist
7. Police officer
8. Clergy person
9. Chef
10. Civil servant

The occupations with the lowest rates of psychopathy are:

1. Care aide
2. Nurse
3. Therapist
4. Craftsperson
5. Beautician/Stylist
6. Charity worker
7. Teacher
8. Creative artist
9. Doctor
10. Accountant

That’s not to say ALL journalists are psychos. For every evil troll I’ve encountered there have been 20 decent, lovely co-workers. And I’ve been lucky enough to have some truly brilliant, inspiring bosses along the way.

But geez the bad ones can be soul-destroyingly terrible.

Still, it seems every sociable drink I have these days leads to a revelation about an irrationally nightmarish co-worker/boss. No matter what the profession. And that goes for the ones on the “least psycho” list.

Fortunately I am still a great believer in karma. And karma always kicks the psychos in the pants in the end, in much the same way that coppers inevitably find who committed the crime.

You just have to be patient.

Even better is not giving a toss anymore.

Bygones and all that.

Which is where I find myself at the moment. Loving my life and my work.

Have you ever worked with a psycho?

11 thoughts on “Working with psychos

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  1. Yes that old adage is true that you can choose your friends but not the people you work with who may be psychopaths, sociopaths or just plain annoying! I had ex-colleague who was a sociopath – completely devoid of empathy – quite scary in a teacher! BTW thanks for post on Vivid…it reminded me, we went and it was amazing! 🙂

  2. Apparently I AM a psycho, according to the list! But a non-violent one, at least so far…

    Speaking of psychos, I wonder if you’re looking forward to 8:30 Sunday night TV for “Paper Giants-Magazine Wars”!

  3. I currently work for a psycho. It is a soul destroying existence. And the worse thing, he thinks he’s the model manager… yep, he’s that bad.

  4. lol – I was reading your post, and I thought, “hmm, I bet I’m on the list…” and whaddya know! There I am! I remember a conversation one day with another stufdent which went, “Yes, but are they weird weird or weird like us?” 🙂

  5. I’m currently reading a book called Working with Monsters by Dr John Clarke about working with psychopaths. I borrowed it from Surry Hills Library. John Clarke and Alana both give good advice on the topic.

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