One of the reasons I spend so much time teaching clients how to overcome narcissism, is because narcissists tend to gravitate toward key professions, where they can do the most damage. Here are 11 of the jobs most likely jobs to be held by a narcissist.
Narcissists love to be right, and there are no authorities more absolute than that of the clergy or priesthood to the people who follow that religion.
While not a glamorous as some other job titles on this list, being a priest in many religions comes with a pleasant lifestyle, and big helping of respect and authority. Narcissists love having scores of people who listen to them talk for hours every week. And they love having the power to tell their followers how they should act in every life situation.
I’ve written extensively about narcissism in Christian communities
- Escaping Narcissistic Christian Leadership | At Work and at Church
- Overcoming Damage Due to Narcissistic Christian Counseling
The professions of investment banking, stock brokers, hedge funds managers, and related high stakes sales positions are all very attractive to narcissists.
One study showed that narcissists love job positions where they can make their way to the top of a hierarchy. And, their over-inflated ego makes them over estimate how likely they are to succeed in tough positions: “Narcissism Predicts Support for Hierarchy”.
These positions in finance are a great example of a job where a narcissist can make a lot of money while climbing a tall corporate ladder.
Finance also generally requires less empathy and more ruthlessness, than many other job, to be successful, which comes naturally to a narcissist.
Unlawful professions like drug dealing, cooking, pimping, prostitution, organized crime, and being a gang member are rife with narcissists.
Many of these “professions” but the narcissist in a position where they have people are dependent on them. Drug dealing and pimping in particular. Narcissists love taking on roles where there are so many people fixated on and who need them. What is it they say about trusting your drug dealer more than anyone else?
What’s more, many criminal organizations have an extensive and strict hierarchy, which, as mentioned above, narcissists cling to. In one study, researchers found that gangs who sell street drugs in New York have the same exact organizational structure as the McDonald’s corporation, right down to calling the highest echelons the “board of directors.”
Teachers, professors, academic counselors, and the like are very likely to attract narcissists to their ranks.
Because these roles interact with young, impressionable people and are rarely able to be questioned, narcissists get to feel the authority and influence that they desire. Plus, they have a captive audience, which excites their motivation to be seen and admired.
In a similar vein to the education professions doctors, surgeons, and nurses are roles that narcissists are keen to fill, because they have an almost unquestioned authority in our society.
Not to mention the fact that medical professions are well paid and well respected. A narcissist gets a kick just by the fact that they can call themselves doctor to elevate themselves above anyone they meet.
Many players of professional sports are narcissists, because they love the attention of making the big plays and winning the big game. Few jobs offer up a higher status and better pay than being a professional athlete.
Not to mention there is a culture of professional hangers on, “the entourage,” that fits in perfectly with a narcissist’s desired to be admired on a consistent basis.
Studies have found that CEOs are many times more likely to be narcissists than the general population.
Corporations offer the high pay and tall hierarchical power structure that narcissists are addicted to climbing. Because narcissists tend to be extroverted and are great at covering their butts, they tend to be looked on favorably for promotions in corporate settings.
Narcissistic corporate management are even paid more on average than other people who hold the same position.
Unfortunately, holding public office is a huge draw for narcissists. Politics tends to select for narcissists because the main incentives are public recognition and, especially in the lower ranks, trivial power.
While, I don’t think that narcissists are more drawn to politics than to other professions on this list, because so few normal people choose to run for political office, narcissists are highly over represented in this field.
Lawyers, especially trial lawyers and corporate lawyers, are more likely to be narcissists.
Narcissists love to argue, and especially love to be right, making the practice of law a great fit for them.
Additionally, and often overlooked, is the fact that narcissists hate being wrong. And because law is always open for interpretation a narcissist can always talk their way out of a defeat. While they may have lost the case, they can still say they were “right” in the law, and the ruling was unfair. Compare this to, say engineering or science which have much more strictly defined boundaries for what is right and what is wrong.
In many types of law, the hierarchy of the law firm offers the narcissist additional incentive. Working to make partner, then lording it over everyone else when they get there, really excites a narcissist.
Another classic position for a narcissist. Endless attention and praise from strangers is extremely enticing to narcissists.
And, while the pay can be great, the difficulty of making it, the long hours, and extreme levels of stress tend to weed out less motivated, non-narcissistic individuals.
Military & Law Enforcement
Being a soldier, sailor, airman, marine, officer, sheriff, FBI agent, marshal, or the like are positions that attract narcissists.
All of the military and law enforcement positions offer the holder the unquestionable authority the crave. And ,a tall ladder of ranks which a narcissist enjoys climbing.
What jobs are good for narcissists?
Narcissists succeed best in jobs with a strict hierarchy with room to grow to the top. Common jobs narcissist prefer include — corporate management, the military, politics, the clergy, law, and education.