Here Be Monsters … Fear of Psychopathy in the Workplace

This comment in response to my recent post on skepticism of antisocial diagnoses gave me a bit of a pause:

“Diagnosis of inexact conditions via inexact science should always be taken with a grain of salt.”

Except it’s not an inexact science anymore, is it? fMRI and neuroscience are now confirming the theories of the soft sciences known as psychology and psychiatry. I am on the verge of launching my first company, dnd there is one thing for goddamn sure. Once we can afford it, we will be spending the $1.5m to procure an fMRI to screen allcomers and make sure no borderlines or psychopaths get through the door. It’s worth every goddamn penny!

I don’t know whether to take this commenter seriously or not.  It seems overkill to actively screen for psychopaths in the workplace when waiting for one to fuck up and show their unmasked state is much easier and cheaper.  That said, there seems to be an uncanny desire to equate psychopaths in the workplace with the Enrons and the Sunbeams of the world.  No remorse; power is all that matters.  I think this fear is quite overblown.

Yes, psychopaths are often parasitic and reckless with their approach to employment.  I know that I have constantly fought this over the years.  Many psychopaths treat work as a forgone conclusion and abuse the policies of the employer.  Whether it is the stereotypical indefinite work break or the abuse of paid leave, some psychopaths certainly can be parasites on a business.  However, there are certainly upsides as well.  Our charisma and ruthlessness makes us undeniable choices for a position that acquires new revenue streams.  Our lack of empathy means that the business can certainly come first even when others are falling apart due to their own tragedies.  Our arrogance can lead us to shoot for the stars while others are merely complacent.

Psychopaths can make excellent CEOs.  By being bloodthirsty and without empathy, they can make the difficult decisions to ensure financial solvency that many neurotypicals could not.  Al Dunlop, in particular, was notable for saving Sunbeam through his merciless and cutthroat means to squeezing every dollar possible from the workforce that he commanded.  Yes, the neurotypical may be put off by such buzzsaw methods, but ultimately in business it is money that matters and little else.

We may play fast and loose and carry ourselves in a parasitic manner, but ultimately we can do what the neurotypical cannot: put business first, above all else.  Yes, many psychopaths will focus too much on their parasitic ways, but they surely can be easily identified and eliminated for the sake of the business.  Does one really need an fMRI to replace common sense in this respect?



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