Sociopathic traits don’t help much for performance review

Today my boss appraised me for what is called a probation report in our department. A new employee has to get appraised once every quarter until he/she has had four consecutive reports recommending him/her as a permanent candidate for the job. I’ve been here 3.5 years and this is only the 2nd appraisal I passed. The reason has to do with the fact that I have some sociopathic personality traits that conflict with the profile of an ideal employee.

Before my current boss I had only one whom I had any degree of respect for – she was the one who hired me and who gave me my first glowing appraisal. The bosses in between had all been far below my intellectual and skills levels – and they knew it! Because I have almost no fear (not to be confused with anxiety, which I have a lot of) I have in the past escalated situations of conflict to the point where it nearly became physical. My almost non-existent impulse control has also not served me well in a workplace where a lot of people are well balanced i.e. they have chips on both shoulders, so they don’t take well to impulsive and explicit judgments of their worth. Consequences is another example of something that is not a big feature of my mental landscape: I will make the same “mistakes” over and over again. On the plus side I’m a good manipulator of people and I come across as charming or even charismatic (although it is on a superficial level). Almost never do I consider other people’s interests unless there is a benefit for me in doing so. I have however learnt enough about empathy to fake it very well. All of this doesn’t make me a misanthrope though – I actually like people and are often interested in them – it’s just that it probably wouldn’t move me too much if they died right in front of me. I might even find it exciting. Speaking of which, the pursuit of excitement has landed me in hot water more times than I care to remember. I have noticed that my excitement threshold is way above that of “ordinary” people.  I don’t think I’m a full blown psychopath because I have some empathy for my children and can be moved by the suffering of others. It’s more a matter of degree: I’ll probably score on the higher side of a sociopathic scale compared to the rest of the population.

Back to my probation review. My boss passed me overall and even marked all the criteria as satisfactory, but he did draw my attention to two of the items that I shouldn’t really have passed on. The first is – surprise surprise! – sobriety, and the second is attendance. I come in late every morning and I often take sick days even when I’m not sick. Yesterday was one such day when I felt it would be better for me to stay in bed and watch movies than to go to work. I’d say both movies were worth watching and I also enjoyed some episodes of the new X-files series. But the domestic bustle with kids on holiday and wife coming back from her half day job makes it difficult to define the whole day as good “me time”. Sometimes I enjoy more peace in the office.

These types of evaluations are pointless to me but in real terms it means that once I’m off probation I will be eligible for increases in my salary notch which is a good thing for sure. As a last word on my sociopathic tendencies I need to state that I have enough intelligence (both EQ and IQ) to have realized my shortcomings and because of that I live by a fairly strict moral code – more so than most normal people. As a matter of principle, for example, I rarely take advantage of those who are weaker than me. I thus think I deserve all good things that come my way! Ciao.


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