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The Link Between Narcissism and Work Promotions

Submitted by Amanda Dumsch June 6, 2022

Narcissists tend to be especially good at self-promotion and ensuring that their contributions are not only known but recognized. A 2017 study found that most of the time narcissists’ high appraisal of their own performance does not match objective measures of their actual achievements.

A new study conducted in Italy surveyed 200 Italian CEOs and had them answer in-depth questionnaires about the management of their firms. The researchers, Rovelli and Curnis, also had the CEOs complete a Narcissistic Personality Inventory. Overall, they found that those with a high degree of narcissism had about a 29% faster career progression to their leadership position of CEO. It was noted that there was only a small number of female CEOs in their sample, but that there did appear to be some gender differences in that women tend to have slightly lower narcissism scores.

Rovelli and Curnis feel these results have serious implications for the workplace since it seems clear that narcissistic behavior and people still are favored and rewarded, even despite the well-known problems that they present to companies. Narcissistic leaders tend to make rash and risky decisions which could jeopardize a company’s standing; they tend to instill a more individualistic culture which reduces collaboration; and they have been found more likely to engage in fraudulent and even illegal activities.

Smarter recruitment of candidates can help minimize the effects of a narcissist on an organization. Engaging diverse hiring panels with people from all levels of the organization is key. Narcissists tend to be very adept at “managing up” but don’t come off as well to peers or subordinates at work. For more information on managing narcissists in your own workplace, check out this BBC article.


Finding the ‘back door’ for jobs

Submitted by Amanda Dumsch June 13, 2022

The majority of people apply through the ‘front door’ for jobs. This typically means applying for a posted online application. In fact, over 96% of job seekers mass apply to jobs on Indeed, Monster, and LinkedIn using the one-click apply buttons. These features are incredibly convenient and can work, which is why everyone is doing it. The competition, though, for these jobs (and the masses applying) can be extremely high.

This is why we always recommend trying to find a ‘back door’ through which to apply. These back door options can be hard to find and they usually take some effort on your part, but that is precisely why they are effective. You are maximizing your chances of getting an interview by being creative in your application approach.

What are some typical ‘back doors’?

Your first ‘back door’ approach should be NETWORKING. You set up an informational interview with someone who works where you have applied. This doesn’t mean you have to try to get an informational interview with the hiring manager or recruiter. Sometimes talking to a peer-level connection can be the most fruitful. They can often offer tips and bits of helpful advice and occasionally, they may even be able to refer you for the position.  You should always be upfront when having an info interview at a company where you have applied to a position.

Another ‘back door’ could be doing your best internet searching and locating the hiring manager for the role. Then, you follow up with them and note that you applied through the online system, but also wanted to pass along your application to them directly.

While not necessarily a backdoor,  you might also want to try locating niche job boards instead of mass sites like Indeed, etc.  Sometimes a simple google search can help you  locate new sites to use.  Many trainees we’ve worked with have recommended informational interviews to find this type of information. Other sites that might help include:

-Biotech startup blogs
-Companies with 4 day work weeks
-Labiotech (for European searches)

This advice was inspired by the book, The Third Door, by Alex Banayan.


Taming Your Inner Critic - Part I

Submitted by Amanda Dumsch June 20, 2022

Post written by guest blogger Angie Snyder, PsyD, OITE Wellness Advisor 

Most people have an inner critic – one or more “voices” inside the mind that are critical, harsh, and just not pleasant to live with every day.  Examples include: “You’re stupid!” “You don’t belong here.” “You are unlovable!” “You’re such an idiot, how could you have done that!” and “You’ll never succeed.” 

While some people think the inner critic is needed to motivate them to be successful, most people also find this inner chatter to be distracting and distressing, contributing to feeling discouraged or worthless.  In addition, people often think they don’t have any control over this inner dialogue.  However, there are steps you can take to manage your inner critic, and even begin to change the language inside of your head to be more of an inner coach.  

Understand the Purpose of the Inner Dialogue

Before taking steps to manage the inner critic, it can be helpful to understand why humans have an inner dialogue and what purpose it serves.  The capacity of having language inside of the mind is uniquely human in the animal kingdom.  This internal monologue allows someone to “hear” themselves talk without actually speaking and forming sounds.  This ability enables reflection upon oneself and helps people to:

  • simulate plans;
    • make sense of who they are and what has happened in their lives;
    • store and manipulate information in the mind; and
    • plan for the future.

Taking time to reflect with awe on these amazing mental capacities can be a good first step to shift one’s relationship to the inner dialogue.

The nature of the inner dialogue is formed in part from early experiences.  When young and language capacities develop, children begin to utilize the inner dialogue to make meaning of experiences and relationships with others.  While many experiences are positive, there also can be negative reactions and messages that are explicitly or implicitly communicated by parents, caregivers, peers, siblings, other influential adults, or society.  These messages are then internalized – meaning that they are taken in consciously or unknowingly from others and adopted as one’s own thoughts or beliefs.  Kids are particularly sensitive to what a parent says during times of stress.  For example, if a parent is overwhelmed and exclaims, “You’re driving me crazy! You’re so demanding,” and this is a message relayed somewhat consistently, a child might take this to be true and it then becomes their own inner belief expressed and reinforced through inner dialogue.  Inner dialogue can also impact behavior, which in this example might include a person not speaking up for want they want and need in reaction to worrying that they truly are too demanding.

Catching Thoughts

An important next step to shifting your inner dialogue is to pay attention to what your relationship is to your inner critic, what your inner dialogue is saying, and how prevalent it is throughout your day.  Often people become so accustomed to this inner chatter that while barely audible, it’s nonetheless a powerfully influential hum that colors one’s mood and thinking.  Are you aware of having an inner dialogue? How often is it speaking negatively to you? Positively?  What are the messages and beliefs it is conveying? It can be helpful to take time to listen to the messages of your inner voice to be clearer about what its role is in your life, how you relate to it, and what specifically it is that you are saying to yourself.  Over the course of a week, you likely will begin to see a pattern in the theme of these messages that illuminates beliefs about your worth and capacities.

Specifically, in a journal, you can answer the following questions to begin to “Catch Your Thoughts:”

  1. Do you believe it’s important to have an inner critic? Why?
  2. What do you notice that your inner voice says to you? Write down the exact words you say to yourself.
  3. How much do you think you’re aware of it through your days?

Taming Your Inner Critic - Part II

Submitted by Amanda Dumsch June 27, 2022

Post written by guest blogger Angie Snyder, PsyD, OITE Wellness Advisor 

Last week, we wrote about the purpose of one's inner dialogue and we encouraged you to journal for a week to catch your own thoughts.

Shift to a Compassionate Critic

When we think of taming the inner critic, it can be helpful to look at the definitions of a critic.  There are two definitions of criticism with different connotations:

1.  A person who indulges in fault-finding & censure, and

2. A person skilled in forming opinions and giving judgements.  Examples include a literary critic, a movie critic, or a music critic who acts as a guide to help determine what is of value and what needs to be changed.

It is likely that when your inner critic is speaking up, the angle is more aligned with the first definition – that of someone who is finding fault, censuring, or acting from a place of fear or negativity.   Consider shifting your inner critic to one that is more like a coach – someone who is thinking critically, but in a compassionate and supportive way, to give constructive feedback about what you’ve done well and where you can make improvement.  This approach can lead you to having a healthier, kinder relationship with yourself that is also realistic and conducive to growth and learning. 

You may need to practice how to speak to yourself in these kinder, yet still constructive ways.  The following steps can be helpful in doing so:

  1. Look at what you wrote in your journal that your inner critic said to you throughout the week.
  2. Ask yourself – is this really true? What evidence might you find to the contrary. For example, if your inner critic said, “You are stupid,” or similar comments throughout the week, take time to write down what you have done in your life that demonstrates the contrary (ie., you graduated with a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, perhaps even a doctorate.  You know how to speak two or more languages, you are good with numbers, etc.)
  3. Consider if there is some useful information in the critique of yourself that you can better access when you remove the disparaging comments.  Perhaps it’s true that you have a skill that needs some practice or further study.  You can make a note of that in your journal and consider how and when you’ll work to make this progress. 
  4. If you’re having a difficult time speaking kindly to yourself, think about how you’d rephrase the statement if you were speaking to a close friend or a child for whom you wish to provide guidance or to encourage learning or support.
  5. Create sticky notes with more empowering affirmations, and post them in places you will see them each day.

Like any change, persistence, consistency and patience are often required.  Continue to pay attention to the voice in your mind, catch it when it’s being harsh, and gently shift it to be more supportive, caring and encouraging in tone and words.