Beware the malcontents

Rick Ryckeley's picture

They’re here; they’re everywhere. We’ve all had the sheer enjoyment of working either with them or for them. Some of us are even unfortunate enough to have them as family members.

I’m talking about people who are so miserable that no matter what kind of job they have, whom they work with, or even how much money they make, they will be miserable. I’m talking about malcontents, and it seems that their sole mission in life is to make everyone around them as miserable as they are.

Over the years, I’ve become a lightning rod for malcontents – oh, lucky me! I’ve learned that these individuals, for whatever reason, are terminally unhappy people and are poison for the rest of us to be around, much less work with. Unfortunately, malcontents show up for work every day and are rarely sick. I guess it’s because they have so much bitterness flowing through their veins that no self-respecting illness can possibly survive.

Adult malcontents have spent years becoming the beacons of joy that they are. It just didn’t happen overnight. One might ask where all the adult malcontents come from. The answer is simple.

Remember that one kid in the neighborhood that always whined and cried every time he or she fell down? The kid that threw a tantrum in the toy store until their parents bought all the toys they wanted? That special kid who seemed to have everything, but still wasn’t happy and wanted more? Well, if you ever knew any of those kids while growing up, you witnessed the birth of a malcontent.

Cory Evans was the biggest malcontent on Flamingo Street. At the tender age of 5, he threw the infamous Greenbrier Woolworth temper tantrum that lasted for over 30 minutes. At the time it was the biggest and longest tantrum that had ever kicked and rolled on a Woolworth’s floor. The manager even called the police, mistakenly thinking that Cory’s parents were surely beating him within an inch of his life. Nope, he just wanted a Slinky, the perfect toy for a girl or boy.

When he was 8, his parents forced him to go out for the Flamingo Street Raiders football team. I say forced because Cory’s endless complaining led us to think he didn’t really want to be on the football field.

During practice, he complained about everything – except when Preston Weston, our star quarterback, threw the bomb that broke his nose. When that happened, he just cried a lot and accused Preston of doing it intentionally. He had, but that’s beside the point. A broken nose was the only thing that ever stopped Cory from complaining.

By 14, he was the proud owner of a permanent scowl. I say proud because he wore it every day he walked the hallowed halls of Briarwood High, home of the mighty Buccaneers.

Whether stuffed in a locker, ignored by girls or at the bottom of a food fight in the cafeteria, the scowl was never far from his face. I guess that volleyball I accidentally kept spiking out of bounds during gym class and bouncing off his head didn’t help any.

Where Cory is now, I really don’t know, but wherever he is, I’m sure of one thing. He’s making the lives of whomever he comes in contact with miserable.

A malcontent in the workplace will pull even the most dedicated and positive person down. They will suck the life force from you like one of those pod people from that old sci-fi movie, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.”

So if you see a malcontent, run the other way as fast as you can. Or you could ask them to play catch football during lunch, throw a bomb and accidently break their nose.

login to post comments | Rick Ryckeley's blog