Sad Sack (as defined in the Urban Dictionary):
And a human equivalent of Eeyore he was. No matter how you tried to steer the conversation, the discussion ultimately turned negative:
“My wife was such a bitch. She took everything that I had. I’m glad we’re divorced.”
“I don’t see my children too much. We don’t get along that well.”
“Management is so inept. It’s a miracle we make any money.”
“This job sucks. I can’t wait to find another job and get the hell out of here.”
“I’d move away and find another job but I’m flat broke.”
“That side business, yeah, it didn’t work out too well. The economy stinks.”
It’s hard to describe the odd mix of annoyance, anger and sympathy I had for this guy. I realize that poor personal decisions had beaten him down to the point where it was severely affecting his attitude and outlook on life, not to mention his body language. He moved the way you expected a Sad Sack to move. Shoulders slumped. Head down. Hunched forward. Feet shuffled.
One thing that I can say I learned from him was fear. Fear that I might turn out like that someday if I wasn’t vigilant in the handling of my thoughts, actions, decisions, failures, and disappointments. There were times when I’ve felt like I was heading down this path. Here are some definite red flags that might signal you are becoming a Sad Sack Party Killer:
No one wants to be around you: This one’s pretty obvious. Friends you used to hang out with make constant excuses as to why they can’t. Co-worker buddies already have other lunch plans. People engaged in conversation quickly scatter when they see you coming.
Low- to no-energy: This isn’t an occasional thing where you didn’t get enough sleep the night before or maybe you shouldn’t have eaten that fast food meal deal for lunch. No, this is an “all the time” thing where it feels like you’re walking around with an anchor strapped to your back. Low- to no-energy means your preferred destination at any point during the day is in bed or on the couch sleeping.
Nothing engages or interests you: Things that you used to love or enjoy doing now seem like chore. It’s a burden to visit with friends or family members you used to look forward to seeing. Books, movies, social events, activities? Nothing seems to ignite you anymore. Everything is ho-hum.
Everything out of your mouth is negative: “He/She is so stupid.” “That will never work.” “That will never last.” “Why bother?” Probably the biggest reason that people avoid you. No one wants to sit under a rain cloud and be told that something (or someone) is dumb or an idea won’t work (even if it is about someone or something else).
You hate to see others succeed or do well: Someone gets promoted? It’s because they’re an ass-kisser. Own a successful business? Surely they’re doing something illegal. In awesome shape? Must be the drugs. Whatever it is, there has to be a reason other than just plain hard work, diligence, or even good luck.
If you can relate to some, or possibly all, of the things I listed above, then please get some help. At the very least, talk to someone close to you who can point you in the right direction. It’s never too late to start fresh. For me, I wasn’t joking about my fear of ending up like this. I talked to people and read or listened to anything I could get my hands on to learn how to prevent this condition.
I don’t know where the Sack ended up after he left the company. Maybe he changed his attitude and way of thinking. If not, he’s probably still dragging around his black cloud – depressing co-workers somewhere and further alienating what’s left of the people who still want to be around him. Sad.
Who are the Sad Sacks in your life and how do you deal with them?