Scary Smart: New Class of Worker in Demand

scary smartScary smart means having those extra IQ points that always made you stand out as freaky bright, whether you wanted the attention or not. Well, now you want the attention since that's the quality in demand.

The term scary smart has been coined by Rich Karlgaard of Forbes magazine. Karlgaard notes that this "new class, the Scary Smart, has inherited the earth." Whereas in more economically stable times employers could do without such brilliance, now they need those extra IQ points to be competitive. To get that very smart worker, employers are more apt to trade off expectations for conformity, well-roundedness, and impeccable social skills. Industries most apt to recruit the scary smart include biotechnology, computer software, and the Internet.

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However, technically-oriented fields aren't the only ones open to the highly intelligent. As the world of politics shows, scary smart experts like Dick Morris are welcomed back, even after a scandal and changing parties from Democratic to conservative. In addition, lack of a college degree is increasingly less of a barrier. There is a recognition that smart people who get results such as Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates never completed degrees.

The way to demonstrate to employers how your intelligence can be an asset is to request a problem you can solve. Give it your all and come back with a cost-efficient solution.

Jane Genova


Jane Genova began focusing on transitions when the academic market collapsed as she was writing her dissertation in linguistics and literature at the University of Michigan.  After re-establishing herself in the public relations industry, she gradually published on the subject.  Her first piece was on The Professional Woman in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL.  Since then, she co-authored the book THE CRITICAL 14 YEARS OF YOUR PROFESSIONAL LIFE and myriad e-books and articles on career subjects ranging from emotional intelligence to aging.  In the 1980s she attempted another change by attending Harvard Law School.  She didn’t complete the degree but channeled that experience into maintaining a legal blog [] housed at the Library of Congress.

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