GOLDMAN: I’m sad you’re SAD at work 

By: Bob Goldman//May 25, 2023//

GOLDMAN: I’m sad you’re SAD at work 

By: Bob Goldman//May 25, 2023//

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Being miserable at work that’s healthy. 
Being SAD at work — that’s sick. 
SAD is the sad little acronym for social anxiety disorder. Yes, it’s a thing. 
Or so I learned in “How to Overcome Social Anxiety,” a recent article from George Washington University psychologist Fallon Goodman in Psyche magazine. According to Goodman, social anxiety is “a fear of negative evaluation and rejection.” 
While SAD can affect your personal life, our focus today is when SAD hits you at work, the possibility of negative responses filling you with such anxiety that you cannot move forward, or sideways, or backward. 
In a word, you’re stuck. And in the increasingly scary business world of today, if you can’t move with the times, your boss could move you — right out the door. 
Sad to say, SAD does the most damage in exactly the areas an upwardly mobile striver like yourself needs to excel — giving presentations and schmoozing with co-workers. The fear of rejection keeps SAD people from putting themselves in these situations, which could end up with keeping your superiors from putting you in line for promotion. 
The good news, according to the article, is that “social anxiety is very treatable.” 
It would indeed be a treat if I were qualified to provide meaningful commentary on Dr. Goodman’s prescriptions for dealing with SAD, which makes it delightfully endearing that I would even try, don’t you think? Or, better yet, don’t think. Just keep reading. 
No. 1: Identify your goals 
Putting yourself in anxiety-producing situations at work will be easier if you have a definite reason for doing so, like getting a big promotion or hanging on to your job. Is your No. 1 goal of getting back at the weirdo from IT who splattered you with paintballs at the company’s team-building off-site worth risking ridicule and rejection? You bet! 
No. 2: Break unhelpful thinking habits 
It’s important to enter any interaction with a positive attitude about yourself. If you can’t manage this, train yourself to develop a negative attitude about your co-workers. 
Maintaining a negative attitude can turn anxiety-provoking luncheon invitations into opportunities for intimidation. Instead of sitting silently, like a lox, keep the dialogue rolling with helpful conversation starters, like “you really do stink at your job, don’t you?” or “I’ve been talking to some of our colleagues and we can’t imagine why the company keeps you around; can you?” 
Your interest in a co-worker’s career will surely be noticed and guarantee that you will never again be asked out to lunch. 
No. 3: Level up your conversation skills 
Upgrade your vocabulary with jargon so obscure no one will know what you are talking about. Talk about “synergy” and “bandwidth” and “core competencies.” This kind of business babble is especially useful in presentations, where you can command the spotlight by announcing, “the synergy generated by these core competencies will provide the bandwidth necessary to actualize initiatives designed to disrupt and rejuvenate cognitive conclusions that empower empathy for our essential enterprise efforts.” 
This will intimidate the heck out of your listeners, who will have no idea what you are talking about and be too scared to admit it. 
(If your current conversation consists of grunts, groans and grumbles, don’t change a thing. That’s exactly the way they talk on Mahogany Row.) 
No. 4: Reading the room 
You are advised to “use a person’s body language as a general guide for determining whether you should initiate and continue a conversation or redirect your efforts elsewhere.” Be aware of a lack of eye contact or a “closed-off stance.” Gagging and retching are also subtle signs that it may be time to move on. To make sure you don’t miss a clue, keep your face no more than six inches away from your companion’s face at all times. Another good indicator that someone does not want to talk with you: they’re breathing. 
No. 5: Ask good questions 
The key to keeping a conversation going is to ask good questions. You are advised to try the “AAA” method: Attend, Answer, Ask. I prefer the “SSS” technique: Smirk, Snort, Snooze. 
Conquering your SAD tendencies is sure to make you more visible at work. The question is — do you really want to be more visible at work? Today’s managers have cost-cutting on their brains and there seems to be little sadness about it. Being the kind of person who spends their workdays hiding under their desk could save your job. 
Remember — if they can’t notice you, they can’t fire you. 
And that’s what I call synergy. 
Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at [email protected]. To find out more about Bob Goldman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at 

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