what is a career grifter

what is a career grifter

What is a Career Grifter?

A career grifter is someone who looks to extraneous sources for financial gain, without any long-term career ambition or plan. Instead of taking a direct route to a particular job, they make calculated moves which they can use to their advantage, such as embezzlement, fraud or manipulation of a complex situation.


The primary motivation for career grifters is financial gain, often at the expense of others, such as a client, customer, colleague or employer. This can be through occupational scams, such as fraudulent business deals, or through taking advantage of emotional manipulation of a vulnerable person.


Generally, career grifters share common characteristics, including:

  • High intelligence: Career grifters are often highly intelligent, allowing them to come up with complex and clever tactics to achieve their goals.
  • Superficial charm: They may be superficially charming, using this to gain people’s trust and to get their way.
  • Lack of empathy: Career grifters often lack empathy, showing a disregard for the feelings and rights of those impacted by their actions.
  • Strong focus: They may have a strong focus on their goals, never wavering until they have accomplished what they set out to do.

Long-Term Consequences

Career grifting can have profound consequences, both for the perpetrator and those affected by their actions. In the short-term, career grifters may be able to amass a great deal of wealth; however, over time, their actions tend to catch up to them. The fallout can include financial losses, legal actions and jail time, as well as damage to reputation and relationships.

In addition, even if they are not brought to justice, career grifters may suffer from inner turmoil brought on by their behavior, such as guilt and remorse, which can cause psychological and emotional harm.

Ultimately, career grifting, although lucrative in the short-term, is always a poor long-term career choice.

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