Butcher? Demon barber? Sales? The list may surprise you… If you’ve ever experienced the “sadistic” boss who loves sacking employees, or the “crazy” colleague who lies at your expense to get ahead, it’ll come as no surprise that psychopaths are attracted to jobs that reward their personality traits.

According to Kevin Dutton’s recent book, The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success, such psychopathic characteristics as ruthlessness, superficial charm, independence, focus and egocentricity are more common in business leaders than those locked up for criminal behaviour.


It’s unsurprising that CEOs come out on top of the list of psycho-friendly jobs, with lawyers are close behind but, er, jobs in the media/television rank at third with journalists in sixth place. Either because these jobs also need those who can make, according to Eric Barker (HuffPost blogger), “objective, clinical decisions divorced from feelings” or because sociopaths just bloody love Strictly/Heat magazine. It’s hard to tell.


Other shocks include surgeons and police officers- mainly because they involve sharp objects and law enforcement.

Highest Rates of Psychopathy:

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

Meanwhile, the jobs with the lowest rates of psychopathy are as you’d expect, unless you think of your Year 9 PE teacher who made you run cross country in your pants because you’d forgotten your kit. And the fact that “vet” doesn’t feature.

Lowest Rates of Psychopathy:

1. Care Aide
2. Nurse
3. Therapist
4. Craftsperson
5. Beautician/Stylist
6. Charity Worker
7. Teacher
8. Creative Artist
9. Doctor
10. Accountant

But what to do if you’re working alongside with the office sociopath? Or, at the very least, someone who’s driving you totally mental? We’ve come up with five ways to keep from losing your cool, whether they’re actually mad, manipulative or just plain irritating.

1.     If they like to play games- limit your contact

If you’re only speaking to them when necessary, there’s less chance of them being able to manipulate/irritate you. Think of it this way: if they don’t know what you’re working on, they’re less likely to be able to take the credit. Or, if you don’t engage in conversation, they’re less likely to say something mind-blowingly irritating.

2.     If they’re confrontational- speak to someone in a higher position.

If an argument/situation has escalated, don’t get involved in a confrontation. Speak to your boss when calm, instead of in the heat of the moment. Ideally, make an appointment for the following morning so you have the evening to work out what you’re going to say.

3.     If your boss is the problem… do not speak to other co-workers.

It seems like a helpful idea, but can make a lot of situations worse. Talk to friends outside the job for advice instead and arrange to speak with him/her calmly, when you’ve planned what to say. Unfortunately, “put up with it as best you can” is sometimes the only way to deal with a difficult boss until it blows over- unless it’s serious, in which case you may need to lodge a serious complaint.

4.     Imagine them being rejected by someone they fancy in a bar.

As in, assess how important their behaviour really is. If it’s just affecting your stress levels as opposed to your actual position- trivialise them to the point of absurdity. Imagine them wearing a stupid hat. Imagine them naked. Anything to distract from the crap coming out of their mouths.

5.     Always be polite

Give them no ammunition to use against you. That includes whispering profanities in the loos, or sending emails calling them a “huge berk” (or similar). And “kick me” signs. 

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