Image by Istvan Brecz-Gruber from Pixabay


Cynics – people with a distrustful nature and who appear to be selfish – earn less money than their co-workers, according to a 2015 study involving three large research projects in Europe and the U.S.

Such employees probably haven’t been popular in the workplace, either.

Frequently, they’re not cooperative and they’re defensive. They’re too worried about protecting themselves.

This disrupts their focus on their work and affects their performance.

Missed opportunities

This means they miss opportunities for personal growth afforded in teamwork and helping others.

“While previous research has associated cynicism with detrimental outcomes across a wide range of spheres of life, including physical health, psychological well-being and marital adjustment, the present research has established an association between cynicism and individual economic success,” says Olga Stavrova, Ph.D.

Dr. Stavrova is a research associate at the Institute of Sociology and Social Psychology, University of Cologne, Germany, and lead author on the study (“Cynical Beliefs About Human Nature and Income: Longitudinal and Cross-Cultural Analyses.”), which appears in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

The study included thousands of employees in the two continents. For example, 16,000 cynical German workers were shown to earn $300 less a month than they could have.

Altruism pays

Altruistic employees earned more. The link between cynicism and low wages was evident in nations that had the most altruism, less cynicism and lower homicide rates.

“For example, employees who believe others to be exploitative and dishonest are likely to avoid collaborative projects and to forgo the related opportunities,” says Dr. Stavrova.

There is a caveat in the research. Not all the employers in certain regions preferred less cynical employees. Ostensibly, cynicism is considered vital in those countries.

Researchers are hopeful workers learn lessons from their self-destructing.

“Occupational success and economic prosperity represent important life goals for many people and promote life satisfaction and psychological well-being,” says Dr. Stavrova.

“Our findings may help in achieving these goals by encouraging people to adopt a more benevolent and idealistic view of human nature and trustful attitude towards their peers,” she adds.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are tips to earn more money at work:

18 Tips for Productive Behavior to Win in Office Politics — Most people troubled by office politics are too focused on the behavior of their adversaries. Stop giving away your personal power. Don’t think or act like a victim.

Make More Friends at the Office with 6 Etiquette Tips – In many companies, good etiquette is nonexistent and office co-workers fail to make friends of one another. Lack of trust and turmoil is seemingly evident everywhere. You don’t have to like everyone, but it’s best to be respectful, and assertive versus aggressive. That makes for good office relationships.

Acting, Speaking Coach: How to Improve Communication with Others – Do you know when you marginalize others? If you’re having communication problems with someone important in your career or life, chances are one or both of you will profit from tips in honest communication. This is also true if you want to get a job. Savvy employers know poor communication skills hamper efficiency and productivity.

11 Tips for a Better Relationship with Your Boss — Whether you want a happier work environment or lay the groundwork for a raise, promotion or transfer, you must create opportunities for success. That includes, of course, being on good terms with your boss and often your boss’s boss. For a better relationship with your boss, take these 11 steps.

13 Tips on Coping with Change at Work – Conquer Your Fears — Fear can be a great motivator. But more often than not, fear is an inhibitor and a stress factor. Mahatma Gandhi provided the best advice: “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

How to Grow Your EI for Leadership Success — Emotional intelligence (EI) is important for communication and leadership. A person who has EI is able to evaluate, understand, and control emotions.

“People won’t have time for you if you are always angry or complaining.”

-Stephen Hawking


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is also a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.