Ever called your boss a madman? Worried about the quiet guy in accounting who stares a moment too long? You might be on to something.
When we hear the word psychopath we think of serial killers and violent crime lords, but actually this is not true. Violence doesn’t make you a psychopath, and not all psychopaths are violent. The broad definition of a psychopath is someone who exhibits repeated antisocial, disinhibited behaviour with diminished empathy or remorse. As frightening as it may sound, it really isn’t.
An American neuroscientist named James Fallon was researching a book about the brain, and accidentally discovered that he was a psychopath. He wasn’t violent, or abnormal in any way, but he displayed certain characteristics that left him in this band. In the 1980’s psychologist Robert Hare developed a method that helped him to identify almost 1% of the total population qualified as psychopaths.
Scientific American Magazine currently considers a psychopath anyone who:
- Is superficially charming, tends to make a good first impression on others and often strike observers as remarkably normal.
- Is self-centered, dishonest and undependable.
- Engages in irresponsible behaviour for no apparent reason other than the sheer fun of it.
- Is largely devoid of guilt, empathy and love.
- Has casual and callous interpersonal and romantic relationships.
- Routinely offers excuses for their reckless and often outrageous actions, placing blame on others instead.
- Rarely learns from their mistakes or benefit from negative feedback.
- Has difficulty inhibiting their impulses.
Now are you wondering whether your boss might be a psychopath? You may not be wrong.
Below are the careers with the most psychopaths
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
Hardly surprising given the definition above. To get to the top you have to be ruthless, pragmatic and, at times, maybe even break the rules. Earlier we said that 1% of the total population could fall into this category, well that jumps to 4% for CEO’s.
Here is another job that requires rigid single mindedness to succeed and excessive charm. It shouldn’t surprise you then to see it high up this list. It also creates an interested irony in the courtroom, where it would be possible to have one psychopath arguing with another psychopath why a third psychopath should or shouldn’t go to prison.
You may think journalism is an unlikely place for people who exhibit psychopathic behaviour, but think about it, to succeed you need the belief that you must be heard, even through the possibility of danger, ridicule and loss of status, while also having the charm and social skills to get what you want from others. Sound familiar?
It’s not hard to believe that an industry that builds itself upon people who can exhibit extreme charm and have unlimited ambition. Not everyone in the media is a psychopath, but it often helps (doesn’t it Kanye West?).
Sales people tick all of the major boxes. Charming, ruthless and devoid of guilt and empathy. If you’ve ever come across a successful salesman then this might be ringing bells for you.
It won’t be easy knowing that the next time you need surgery, it might be psychopath that is performing the procedure. But a ruthless competitive instinct, self-centred behaviour and frequent abrasive attitudes are all behaviours displayed again and again by top surgeons.
Even more worrying than the lawyer being a psychopath is the person whose job it is to keep us safe being one. However, whether it is nature or nurture, police officers frequently display the types of behaviour that warrant their inclusion in this list.
For proof on this watch any episode of Gordon Ramsey’s Hell’s Kitchen. You’ll see a man prowling around the kitchen with no regard for the feelings of other and a single mindedness that would stop at nothing to achieve perfection. The scary thing is that Gordon Ramsey is not the only one, in fact, most chefs show similar behaviour.