Tuesday, June 06, 2006

An old mental illness at the office and a new one on the commute.

Do you have anyone you work with that seems to have no empathy, is a driver that might step on people and then have no remorse for their actions. Maybe it's only business, or they are driving to the top of the corporate ladder. These days we not only have Snakes on a Plane, we have "Snakes in Suits : When Psychopaths Go to Work" by Paul Babiak and Robert D. Hare. (or possible Snakes in Suits on a Plane.) The authors contend that sometimes your coworker might not just be a type-A personality and be difficult to get along with. They may actually have psychopathic tendencies. In some workplaces, these people without conscience can thrive. If they have charisma, intelligence and the ability to get the job done, this makes them highly valued. The downside is they may leave a trail of people wreckage in their wake as they ignore (or not even comprehend or toy with) the feelings of coworkers. If this sounds like you and you feel sorry for your actions then there is hope. Of course if you are psychopathic, then these words mean little to you.

If that isn't enough, on your drive into work today, that guy with that cut you off and then demonstrated his road rage by promptly rearending the person next to you, might not just be someone who needs a defensive driving course, they may be sick. While intermittent explosive disorder (IED) has been in the DSM-IV for some time, a recent study of almost 10,000 people indicates that 4% to 5% in the study had five attacks of IED a year. These attacks ranged from destroying property in a rage to actually physically assaulting someone.

Perhaps telecommuting isn't such a bad idea after all. Then we only have the voices in our own heads to contend with, instead of our coworkers.

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