Narcissism-the Best Thing that Ever Happened to Your Career
You know that guy who sucks all the air out of the room at family gatherings? Or the woman who’s often wrong but never in doubt about just how right she is.
How about the people who are missing the emotional rheostat that tells the rest of us that no one’s much interested in their child’s SAT score, their spouse’s recent list of achievements or their own lengthy war story about how they bested some other guy in business?
Turns out that they – the narcissists among us – may have fewer friends but better job opportunities than the rest of us.
Narcissism, we’re told,
a trait considered obnoxious in most circumstances, actually pays off big-time in the short-term context of a job interview, according to a new study to be published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology.
Narcissists scored much higher in simulated job interviews than non-narcissists, researchers found. They pointed to narcissists’ innate tendency to promote themselves, in part by engaging and speaking at length, which implied confidence and expertise even when they were held to account by expert interviewers.
Here’s the Good News
You don’t have to be an obnoxious, self-seeking, other-ignoring person to consciously use the job interview tactics that allow narcissists to get their way.
We at She Negotiates find that even the most successful women have a difficult time promoting themselves.
We’ve been taught not to.
And humility in the face of life’s major concerns – health care for the needy, education for our children and children’s children, and, the well-being of our physical environment to name a few – is a good thing.
Researcher Peter Harms at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and co-author of the study observed that the workplace is “one setting where it’s OK to say nice things about yourself and there are no ramifications.”
Women, however, know that there are always ramifications when we appear to be too aggressive and self-serving.
Still, as Harms explains, “those who are comfortable doing this tend to do much better than those who aren’t.”
So how do we walk this particular workplace tightrope?