I started out in college wanting to be a high school choral music teacher. But that didn’t pan out – I failed theory and piano – so I switched to communications as a major and became a journalist. That made my mother – who was a teacher – happy, because she felt teachers never make the money they should make, and that I would always been scraping by.
If she were alive today, she would also realize that journalists, for the most part, me included, don’t make the money they should make, and that I am still just scraping by.
But she might be happy to find out my profession made a Top 10 list! Then again, she might not, because journalists are ranked No. 6 on the Top 10 List of professions with the most psychopaths!
The dictionary states that a psychopath is “A person with an antisocial personality disorder, manifested in aggressive, perverted, criminal, or amoral behavior without empathy or remorse.”
According to author Kevin Dutton in his book, “The Wisdom of Psychopaths,” journalism is among the Top 10 in careers that spawn the most psychopaths. The Top 10, in order from No. 1 on down are: CEO’s, lawyers, TV and radio personalities (Dave, you reading this?), sales people (Laurie, you reading this, too?), surgeons, journalists, police officers, clergy, chefs, and civil servants (my mom could really be happy because I made it in two categories – I used to work for county government).
Looking at that list, my entire family, with the exception of my mom, were psychopaths. My dad started out working for his dad at a newspaper in Cuthbert, and continued to do so in World War II, helping to put out a newspaper in the Philippines (I followed in his footsteps). After he and mom married and moved to Atlanta, he and my middle brother sold builders’ hardware, which makes them sales people. And my oldest brother is a minister. Mom was the only sane one among us – teachers are ranked in the Top 10 professions with the least number of psychopaths.
I really want to make a comment about which professions, other than journalism, on the Top 10 list fit the definition, but I know that I would be hearing from my friends who are CEO’s, lawyers, TV and radio personalities, sales people, surgeons, police officers, clergy, chefs, and civil servants, if I said anything about their profession, so I’ll exercise some caution and not say anything. After all, I don’t want them going nuts on me.
As for journalists like myself, I can see some characteristics. I don’t think we’re antisocial, perverted, criminal, or have amoral behavior. But in following a story, we sometimes have to be aggressive in getting to the facts. And while I think we try to show empathy with others in how we write our stories, if we looked at everything we wrote with remorse, very little would ever get in the paper. So the next time you read one of my stories and think, “That guy is nuts!” You may be right.