Healthy Life: Personality Disorders in the Workplace: The Office Delinquent

You drum your fingers impatiently against the top of your desk, waiting for your coworker to arrive. He’s late, again, and the two of you are supposed to work on a group assignment. You hear a knock on the door, and your heart soars. He’s here! Except it isn’t him, but your coworker Janice. “Waiting for Ted?” she asks. “Don’t hold your breath. He was supposed to help me with a proposal last week, but he never showed up. I ended up doing the work myself, only for him to take credit for the whole proposal.” 

Ted arrives to work an hour later, after you’ve finished the assignment. He’s wearing a track suit, breaking the office dress code again. You ask him why he’s late. “I got into a fight with the guy who hit my car in the parking lot,” he grumbles. This isn’t an unusual occurrence for Ted. Last year, he drank too much and punched a coworker at the office Christmas party. You’re starting to see why he has a reputation for being a “bad boy.” 

Coworkers with Antisocial Personality Disorder are hard to miss. That is, when they bother to show up to work. They lie, they cheat, they break workplace rules; it doesn’t take long for them to establish themselves as the office delinquents. People with Antisocial Personality Disorder are deceitful, impulsive, aggressive, reckless, irresponsible and remorseless. They aren’t shy about crossing boundaries, either. It’s not uncommon to find people with Antisocial Personality Disorder engaged in sexual harassment or equally inappropriate workplace behaviours. 

Coworkers with Antisocial Personality Disorder are most dangerous when they also suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder. This particular combination is commonly referred to as psychopathy. If you find yourself on a psychopathic coworker’s radar, then your only recourse might be to find a new place to work. 

Coworkers with Antisocial Personality Disorder are users. They have no qualms about taking advantage of your helpfulness or generosity. They’ll bleed you dry of your time, money and energy, leaving you burnt out as they move on to their next victim. If you want to survive a workplace with an Antisocial Personality Disordered coworker, then you should follow a few simple rules. Many of these rules apply equally to bosses and employees with Antisocial Personality Disorder. 

1. Don’t lend any money to your coworker that you expect them to pay back. Coworkers with Antisocial Personality Disorder use other people’s money whenever they get the chance. They rarely pay back loans. They won’t offer to pay the bill at a restaurant. If you agree to go out to lunch with one of these coworkers, then be prepared to pay for both of your meals.

2. Don’t leave the door open for sexual advances from your coworker. Make it clear to coworkers with Antisocial Personality Disorder that you’re not interested in a sexual relationship with them. If one of these coworkers sexually harasses you, then report the incident immediately. Send the message that such behaviour will not be tolerated.

3. Don’t volunteer to work on a group project with your coworker. Coworkers with Antisocial Personality Disorder don’t do their fair share of the work. If you choose to work with one of these coworkers, then you’ll end up doing all of the work yourself. There’s also a good chance that your coworker will take credit for the work at your expense.

4. Don’t leave your belongings unsupervised. Coworkers with Antisocial Personality Disorder won’t think twice about stealing your possessions, your passcodes, your banking information, or anything else that they desire. Locks and other security measures are key.

5. Don’t share secrets or sensitive information with your coworker. Coworkers with Antisocial Personality aren’t above backstabbing and blackmail. They won’t hesitate to use personal information against you. It’s best to keep conversations with these coworkers limited to relevant work-related topics.

6. Keep a record of all interactions with your coworker. Coworkers with Antisocial Personality Disorder lie as often as they breathe. It’s important to have proof of what actually occurred between you and one of these coworkers. Save all written conversations with Antisocial Personality Disordered coworkers. Keep drafts of your work to prevent attempts at plagiarism. Get other employees to corroborate your story if you can. 
Antisocial Personality Disorder might be one of the most dangerous personality disorders to work with, but it’s also one of the most visible. Many employees with Antisocial Personality Disorder end up getting fired for violating workplace rules or for missing too many days of work. If you’re lucky, the office delinquent will leave the workplace before you have to.

Bianca Lallitto has a Master's degree in Psychology with a certificate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. She has a penchant for behavioural analysis, and enjoys exploring the possible causes of people’s actions. Her analyses frequently extend to the world of fiction; her thoughts on the behaviour of fictional characters can be found on her blog, Fiction Digest.

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