Working Notes: Folks who don’t get ahead, executive narcissists, and more

Hello dear readers, here are some items that may be of interest:

People who never get ahead at work?

According to Taylor Dupuy of Monster, in this mini-feature on, there are five types of people who don’t get ahead at work: The self-doubter, the gossip, the person who doesn’t care, the hypersensitive worker, and the follower.

Yeah, there’s probably some truth in her list. But too bad that narcissists and bullies aren’t on it, because…..

Executive narcissism

Business psychology professor Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic (University College London) wrote this snappy Huffington Post piece on narcissistic CEOs:

CEO compensation has risen by 725 percent in the past three decades — that’s 127 times more than worker pay. In 1978, the average CEO earned 26 times more than the average worker — it’s now 210 times more. CEOs of S&P index companies make 354 times more than the average employee. Furthermore, two recent scientific studies confirm what we have always known: Narcissistic CEOs ruin companies by demoralizing and alienating employees — effectively repelling talent — and by committing corporate fraud.

Workplace mobbing is “bullying on steroids”

Sophie Henshaw, writing for, offers an insightful piece on workplace bullying and mobbing:

Mobbing is “bullying on steroids,” a horrifying new trend whereby a bully enlists co-workers to collude in a relentless campaign of psychological terror against a hapless target.

. . . Mobbing is more likely to occur when a number of workplace factors are present. Understanding what they are can help to protect yourself from staying in, or taking a job in a toxic organization. For example, certain industries facing increased financial pressure because market demand is on the wane are more mobbing-prone. These organizations are driven by the dollar and accountable only to shareholders and directors. This creates toxic environments where managers turn a blind eye to bullying and mobbing and may even encourage it (Duffy & Sperry, 2013).

Workforce on workplace bullying and the Healthy Workplace Bill

Frank Kalman, associate editor for Workforce magazine, wrote a piece on workplace bullying in light of the Miami Dolphins situation and included interview remarks with me about the Healthy Workplace Bill. Citing loopholes in current law concerning bullying at work, he wrote:

David Yamada, a law professor and director of the New Workplace Institute at Suffolk University Law School in Boston, is working to change that. As the primary author of the Healthy Workplace Bill, Yamada aims to set a framework for legal action on workplace bullying outside of the protected classes.

Ten infamous terminations

Chad Brooks, writing for BusinessNewsDaily (via Yahoo! News), highlights 10 infamous worker terminations, including this one by Walmart:

In October, the retail giant fired a 30-year-old Michigan man after he tried to help a woman who was being attacked by a former boyfriend in the store’s parking lot.

The company fired Kristopher Oswald, who had been sitting in his car on break at the time of the incident. According to Walmart, Oswald broke the company’s workplace violence rules by fighting with the attacker after he witnessed the incident. At the time of the firing, Walmart spokeswoman Ashley Hardie told the Associated Press that while the company understood Oswald’s intentions, his actions of jumping into the situation violated company policy.

Labor resources

For those looking for helpful information on labor unions and collective bargaining, here are two great portals to free information:

12 responses

  1. Curious: why should we pay attention to the ideas of one “Taylor Dupuy” who has no credentials and no endorsements from any credible source? For all we know, “Taylor” is a chimpanzee keyboarding randomly in a zoo somewhere.

    • I don’t know why you chose to dump on Taylor Dupuy. Before I posted this short feature, I Googled her name. She appears to be a young business writer in the process of establishing herself, and some of her points made sense to me.

      • I Googled her, too. She has NO credentials other than an internship at a small Louisiana marketing firm. And I suspect based on my search experience, you only found that out by looking for her photo first. Otherwise, how would you know that she’s young?

        Your choice of words (“why (I) chose to DUMP ON Taylor Dupuy”) shows an underlying hostility to a point of view that differs from your own. That is pretty mean-spirited, especially considering the amount of effort I’ve expended as an individual citizen to advance the Healthy Workplace Bill (letters, meeting with State Senator, newspaper column, endorsement of local community group).

        One might even say, sir, that you are being a bit of a bully yourself.

  2. It occurs to me that “getting ahead” may be a goal for some people driven to increase their status and/or power, there have got to be a few people like myself who are not “ambitious” in that sense.

    I was a confident, self-directed, and engaged professional quite content that the position I held was challenging and rewarding in itself. “Moving up” would have entailed discarding the exact elements of my job that I liked the most and developing competence in areas I had little interest in. For me, growth came from expanding outward, not climbing upward. It still makes no sense to me that I was perceived as a “threat” to my “superiors”, who had no understanding that I was very happy as I was, where I was and had no inclination to usurp their higher status positions, which I had no interest in.

    • I think how we regard “getting ahead” is very personal and contextual. While I do think it’s fair to suggest that in some cases it may mean giving up something we value or, in worse cases, selling out our values, I think it’s equally fair to say that many building what they regard as a career or vocation would be frustrated if they felt “stuck.”

      Heh, it reminds me of an e-mail I received a few years ago, asking me if I wanted to be considered for the deanship of a law school. Because it came from someone I knew, I could be bitingly honest and say that I’d rather have a barbecue fork stuck into my head than be the dean of a law school. “Getting ahead” is not always good. 🙂

      • Yup. I’d rather muck around in the cinders than mince around in glass slippers. The mice and pumpkins are fine as they are.

  3. Marcia, “has no credentials and no endorsements from any credible source” is rather aggressive language as well. Ms. Dupuy may be an inexperienced writer, but I found the article very interesting, and what she is saying is certainly not out of line with the findings in research on career progression.

    • Fiona, my comment is simply a statement of fact: she is not an experienced business person or academic. What research do you reference and on what basis do you agree with Dupuy’s reportage?

    • Fiona – thanks for that link. Interesting that it doesn’t substantiate anything in the Dupuy article. By the way, my son’s a writer, a good one, and has been for 15+ years. He’s worked very hard to master his field – technical journalism – and he’s established a reputation for honesty, intelligence and credibility. I think that’s one reason I reacted so strongly to having an amateur’s ideas shoved down our throats as gospel. I was also an HR professional for 20 some years and have a pretty good idea how people advance in their careers, but wouldn’t call myself an expert by any means.

      • Marcia, the article talks about several of the components that Dupuy’s article talks about, including visibility and communication with the supervisor. If you go into Google Scholar and search with keyword combinations like “career” “promotions” and “factors” you will find many research studies that support what Dupuy is saying.

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