Worrying is often thought to be a bad trait, but now it turns out that anxious people tend to be better at their jobs. After assessing the performance of 68 managers from a global securities company and measuring their personality, Adam Perkins and Philip Corr from the University of Wales Swansea found that the managers most likely to progress quickly up the career ladder were also prone to worrying. "Worrying on its own is no good," says Corr. "It is only beneficial in individuals who are cognitively able, with the ability to understand the work problem and apply appropriate solutions."
The researchers believe that worry when combined with intelligent thinking can be beneficial in jobs such as being an airline pilot, doctor or nuclear station operative, where significant costs are incurred by reckless, thoughtless behaviour. "We tend to overlook the benefits of anxiety, which serve to motivate and guide behaviour, keeping us out of harm's way," says Corr. In the future maybe businesses will begin to look out for anxious employees.