17 Careers That Attract Psychopaths

We know that serial killers are likely to try and be cops. If they fail, they look for some other cop-like career like a security guard or, in the case of the BTK strangler, an animal control officer. Someone asked Reddit what other kinds of careers tend to attract psychos, here’s what they had to say:

This should be obvious, but carnies

“I was a carnie… I don’t know which came first. The drugs or psychotic behavior, but I witnessed both in bulk.” — r48811


“Little known field that is rife with psychopathy – public accounting.” — stupidlyugly

Basically anyone who mostly works solo

“There’s been a study on this. It included corporate executives but also surgeons and chefs (both of whose work tends not to require not much actual socialization, or at least only with subordinates, not customers who have to be greeted pleasantly).” — Poorly-Drawn-Beagle


“Chefs are fucking monsters and I’ve genuinely wished death on every single one I’ve ever worked for while working under them. Afterwards I always come to realize and remember that it’s almost necessary in their line of work. Still though. Truly some of the worst people I’ve ever met.” — JakefromHell


“Worked with many a surgeon. We used to wonder about some of them, especially the one who worked with some of the assistants for 10+ years and didn’t know their names. This guy would walk through the halls and not really even acknowledge your presence. He truly didn’t see/care about others. His motto was “pain is the patient’s problem”.” — BeEccentric


“It’s known that psychopaths excel in sales because they do whatever they can to get ahead, learned about it in Psych in my undergrad and it always stuck with me.” — Mr_get_the_cream


“HR, in my experience, tends to be run by the sorts of people who threw parties in high school specifically so they could pointedly not invite certain people.” — hoilst

Non-profit workers

“One career that doesn’t immediately come to mind but makes a ton of sense when you think about it is charity worker, especially if you get to management.

What do psychopaths want? To get away with abusing power over others. What better way to do that then to surround yourself with powerless people who desperately need whatever the charity is providing, and typical charity workers that are extremely helpful, caring people who are most inclined to want to see the good in others.

I have a friend with PTSD from being abused by his boss and being forced to witness his boss abuse the people who needed the charity while working at a nonprofit, and his therapist told him his story is surprisingly common.” — Hautamaki

Middle managers

“The book “the sociopath next door” by Harvard psychologist Martha Stout specifically lists jobs like that as one of the most common workplace choices for sociopaths. Many wind up being able to move up the corporate ladder but chose not to so they can remain in positions where they can exert as much direct personal control on others as they can” — Andreastheslimjim

First responders

“I was a paramedic. Honestly there were some psychopaths and they were also super negligent. I had the luck of being trained by two of them at different times. She burned me with cigarettes and would scream at me and make fun of patients. Another guy I was trained by was very competent but lacked any empathy and patients would get scared around him. His partner was this horrible women who also lacked empathy. The three of us got a special award and i was mad because my trainers had mocked this patient to the point where she didn’t want to get to the hospital (she would have died) and I convinced her to go. I refused to go to the award ceremony because I hated those two so much. Then my ex worked with this psycho lady who would purposely put heroin addicts in withdrawal for fun, even if they weren’t overdosing. She wound hide an IM injection syringe of Narcan and stab them. One guy started crying and said, “you’re purposely trying to make me sick” and she jabbed him anyway. One medic told me a story where another medic peed on a homeless women. My supervisor smacked a homeless guy so hard a tooth fell out, and a former friend of mine bragged about cracking the orbital socket of another homeless person (a lie but why brag about this?)” — IThinkImDumb

Construction workers

“As a construction worker, I have met literally the worst human beings I’ve ever met while in the trades. One guy, because I quit working for a shitty company, legit said he should rape me.” — McTrentonomous


“On a serious note, clinical psychopathy is actually very beneficial for high stress, high stakes jobs like surgeons, high-level politicians, combatants… basically anyone that has to make life-or-death decisions for strangers.

Psychopaths have a bad reputation because stories of psychopathic murderers are way more sensational than stories of psychopathic surgeons, and convicted criminals get psychoanalyzed more frequently than non-criminals.” — AcceptThisApology


“I did research on the prevalence of psychopathy in corporate environments.

The average rate of psychopathy in the general population is 1 in 100.

The rate of psychopathy amongst high tier corporate officers is 1 in 10.” — HappyLittleRadishes

Defense company engineers

“I’m going into the aerospace industry as an engineer soon and I feel like a lot of those engineers who work for defense companies building weapons that kill people are just different. I’ve had a number of interviews with defense industry people and every time the interviewer puts me off with the ways they describe their work building bombs and missiles and shit that definitely blow up human beings. Maybe it’s the way they always frame it as “supporting the warfighter” and how their products are “innovative kill chain technologies” and shit. I would bet money that the defense industry has a measurably higher rate of psychopaths.” — xthatguy339x


“If you ever wonder why the US government and economy is a cruel, rigged clusterfuck it’s bankers, they’re major shareholders in every public company and major creditors to the rest… every major political decision goes through them. They are the system.” — myspaceshipisboken

Anyone obsessed with rule following and having power over others

“Home Owners Association President.” — drvirgilmd

The only right answer is in jail or unemployed

“Most clinical psychopaths (Over 30 on the checklist) are actually so impulsive and out-of-control that they either don’t have jobs because they’re in prison right now, or they bounce from job to job either quitting or getting fired fast. A prominent trait of psychopathy is actually an inability to hold down jobs for long periods of time

People might say “surgeons” or “CEOs”. That’s psychopathic traits not full blown psychopaths.” — sickof_malarkey

About the author

Emily Madriga