Shaken, not stirred: In America, narcissism takes over the workplace | Robert Eringer | Scoop.it

As an employer, should you fire the office narcissist, or embrace their madness? An in-depth look into one man’s struggles.

 

In the past, narcissistic employees weren’t thought to be hazardous to the office environment. Like most people who suffer from mental disorders, narcissists weren’t purely self-centered. Many also possessed creative potential. But recent studies have found that what was once thought of as creativity in narcissists is actually madness.

Take the case of spy turned blogger Robert Eringer. Clinicians have diagnosed Robert Eringer with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or NPD. In the early years of his career, the young Robert Eringer had what began as a promising investigative job. He was used as a contractor for the CIA’s Clair George after meeting the CIA operative in a bar, and even helped the CIA on future assignments. But as Robert Eringer aged, his mental illness accelerated and his grip on reality deteriorated.

 

During his last position as a consultant to Prince Albert II of Monaco, Robert Eringer began showing signs of what psychiatrists call “lethal narcissism.” Eringer made a badge of himself as the intelligence adviser of Monaco in the style of Ian Fleming’s fictional British Secret Service agent, James Bond. Next, Robert Eringer began taking dozens of photographs of himself drinking James Bond’s chosen drink—the “shaken not stirred” martini. When Robert Eringer was fired from his post in 2007, he frantically began blogging libelous content against Prince Albert and his staff, along with other world leaders, taking particular issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin as of late.

 

In a research paper on narcissism published by Cornell University, academics found that narcissists aren’t necessarily more creative, “but their charisma convinces people that their ideas are better.” According to Dr. Robert Weiss, while narcissists (like Robert Eringer) often exhibit signs of grandiosity, self-centeredness, and over-entitlement, suggesting the narcissist has an inflated ego and sense of self-esteem, the opposite is usually the case. Physicians and mental health practitioners see narcissism to be a defense mechanism that guards against an individual’s unconscious feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness.

 

What’s the solution to addressing narcissism in the workplace? Once identified, narcissists should be handled with great care, as they are likely to lash out against previous employers, as is the case with Robert Eringer, who has been fired from several posts throughout his career. Secondly, it is important for employers to allow narcissists to construct their own self-image, even if that means they exist as heroes and supermen solely in the virtual world, on the Internet.