This one is slightly off-beat, but interesting. What jobs might your kids want to take when they grow up in order to avoid working with psychopaths? And conversely, in your very own job, are you surrounded by them? Read on to find out.
In every job that you have held in your life, I’m pretty sure you have had co-workers who you swear are psychopaths. If you’re working for a law firm, some corporation, at a police station or in a high-end restaurant, you are probably right, at least according to a book authored by Kevin Dutton. The book, called “The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success”, outlines ten jobs that tend to attract psychopaths.
Psychopaths by definition
Now let’s get one thing clear: a psychopath doesn’t have to be a serial killer or a rapist, although many serial killers and rapists are indeed psychopaths. Psychopaths by definition have this general lack of empathy and guilt, and they are typically cold-hearted, egocentric, manipulative, irresponsible, impulsive, superficial and antisocial.
Does that description sound familiar? If it is, that’s because you probably know someone from work who actually is any or all of the above. That person could be the rumour-monger at work. Your colleague who just stares at you even when you’re asking him or her about something could be a psychopath too. Or it could be your boss. To drive home the point, Dutton says that “a number of psychopathic attributes are actually more common in business leaders than in so-called disturbed criminals”. Yikes.
The ability to make objective and clinical decisions
Then again, these workplace psychopaths thrive in roles where they have to have the ability to make objective and clinical decisions without much regard for feelings, especially the feelings of those affected by whatever decision that might be. Now that kind of explains why they are drawn to these top jobs for psychopaths, as identified by Dutton.
Top jobs for psychopaths
- Media (TV/radio)
- Police officer
- Civil servant
So these are the jobs that tend to attract psychopaths, and they tend to be good at them, never mind that many of them do it while trying to undermine and mentally destroy the people they work with just to feed their power-tripping ways and dominate other people.
Interestingly enough, Dutton has also listed down least likely jobs for psychopaths. If you look at the list below, these least likely jobs for psychopaths all have one thing in common: they all require empathy, human interaction and feelings.
Least likely jobs for psychopaths
- Care aide
- Charity worker
- Creative artist
To be fair, not all lawyers, surgeons, police officers or chefs (can anyone say Gordon Ramsay?) are psychopaths. It’s just that some people in those professions actually are, the same way that there could be psychopaths in the teaching or accounting profession too. I remember this one professor in college who seems to love making his students’ lives miserable, but that’s another story.
Still, the thought that a brilliant neurosurgeon that lacks empathy may have more in common with Jeffrey Dahmer is very disturbing for me. It’s also unsettling to think that a CEO or any corporate bigwig could be just as ruthless as a mugger waiting for victims in a dark alley.
On another note, please don’t let any of Dutton’s observations affect you enough to try to talk your kids out of entering any of the jobs that tend to attract psychopaths. They may be the top jobs for psychopaths, but they are great jobs just the same. And as has been emphasized on this site countless times before, it still would be best to let your kids decide what they want to be in life. So if if your child wants to be a surgeon, the best thing you can do is support him or her all the way.