Narcissists think they are better than everyone else, and must truly believe this in order to fit into the world around them. At the core of the narcissist is an unstable sense of self with low self-esteem. They are in constant defense mode to protect against narcissistic injury which depletes their narcissistic supply and exposes them to feelings of shame. The narcissist creates the image they are better than everyone else as a defense mechanism because at their core they know they are just an average person. However, being average is not something the narcissist can accept or find acceptable so they present as grandiose and superior to distract from their true selves. The narcissist’s life is a façade carefully crafted by them and if anyone gets in the way of their fabricated reality, they will enact their narcissistic punishment tactics. As you can imagine, the narcissist can be difficult to get along with because they think only of themselves and don’t consider others. Today, I will discuss how that affects the narcissist’s ability to work. Why can’t a narcissist keep a job?
The narcissist lacks empathy and is hard to get along with. They think only of their own wants and needs and don’t consider others. This makes it very difficult to be a friend to, or work with, a narcissist. They are entitled and think they deserve special treatment which means they aren’t good at being a part of a team. Most jobs require the ability to get along with others - either co-workers or customers. However, the narcissist doesn’t get along well with others, especially when they think they aren’t getting their way or are wronged in some way.
In addition, the narcissist expects special treatment. They want work hours to be specific to them and they want control over all aspects of their job. They function independently in a work setting and this can alienate those around them. And if the narcissist IS given special treatment this creates divides in the work environment and people start to work against each other instead of with each other.
The narcissist may be a very hard worker and is capable of producing great products in their job; however, this is often at the expense of others. They may walk all over others in the office setting and take credit for things they weren’t a part of. However, when things don’t go well the narcissist will blame-shift and not take responsibility for things that didn’t work out. They are quick to stand up and take credit for things that went well, and then point fingers when things don’t.
If you try to correct a narcissist or provide them any sort of feedback, this exposes them to shame, which the narcissist can’t manage. This is when they are more likely to blame shift and become abusive as a way to get the spotlight off of them. Those around the narcissist start to walk on eggshells, never knowing what version of the narcissist they will get, and this affects the entire work environment.
As a result, the narcissist will quit if they think they aren’t being treated as the superior person they think they are, or are fired if they create enough chaos in the work setting. As a result, the narcissist moves from job to job. The narcissist treats a job just like any other relationship. It is disposable and they can move onto something else when it serves them the best. The narcissist discards jobs the same way they discard people.
The core of what makes a narcissist a narcissist is why they can’t keep a job. They are entitled, self-centered, can’t take feedback, and think they deserve special treatment. None of that will work well when you are expected to work with others. If you find yourself working with a narcissist, limit your contact with them to avoid becoming part of their control and manipulation. The best course of action is to keep your distance from the narcissist when you can and be prepared to be part of the smear campaign if they feel you have wronged them in any way.