“What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? An idea. Resilient… highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it’s almost impossible to eradicate. An idea that is fully formed – fully understood – that sticks; right in there somewhere.” – Dominick Cobb, Inception
One of the benefits of sitting in my seat is that I continually receive amazing perspectives from readers who hail from all over the world. Sometimes I share these insights with you, and sometimes I greedily just keep them to myself. One reader wrote in from New York City and shared a job revenge strategy that I had never heard of.
Scenario: Let’s say you feel your employer wronged you by letting you go without cause. You’re pissed because you gave up a great job opportunity to work for them. To lure you in, they showered you with expectations of a big bonus and fancy title. But after 11 months, they kicked you to the curb because they could. Employment is at will, and they had the will to cut you loose a month before paying your promised bonus!
You’re livid and want REVENGE! Here’s how to do it. Careful your boss doesn’t see you reading this post.
HOW TO SEEK REVENGE
The smartest way to seek revenge on a company is to plant a virus, a human virus that spreads uncontrollably until departments shut down.
Here’s how you embed the virus:
1) Pretend like you are not pissed off at your old employer for throwing you out with the trash.
2) Maintain relationships with your old managers and HR. Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer as they say.
3) Suggest the worst possible employee for them to interview and hire as your replacement or for some existing open position. Definitely vouch for this person and sing her praises.
4) Coach your human virus the ins and outs of the company. Your coaching will include the personality profiles of the key interviewers, the company’s main issues and goals, and the things she should say to win them over. After all, you’ve gone through the process before.
5) Once the virus is imbedded, distance yourself by going radio silent. Do not talk to any former colleagues over text, e-mail, or phone. This way, your old employers will not really suspect that you were the company terrorist.
WHAT DOES AN EMPLOYEE VIRUS DO?
If you give an employee a grenade, she probably won’t do too much damage. She might blow up a couple limbs nearby, but not the entire department. If you are able to plant a virus deep within the belly of the organization, watch out!
This is what an employee virus may do:
1) She will reinvent the wheel.
2) She will tell people what to do, but not do anything productive on her own.
3) She will command a huge compensation package because she will say all the right things and promise the world.
4) She may act much slower than the normal company pace.
5) She will cause conflict everywhere she goes because colleagues will get frustrated by her unproductivity and weirdness.
6) She will cause other employees to become less productive or quit.
7) She will cause employees to lose faith in the management who hired her.
8) She will cause company morale to sink to levels of despair.
9) She will cause HR and senior management to spend many hours trying to figure out how to diffuse the bomb.
10) Depending on when senior management realizes they hired a virus, months to years worth of productivity may be lost. Meanwhile, other people will be hesitant to join the company due to poor perception.
A good virus causes so much unrest that company growth may slow, investors may flee, layoffs could ensue, and the entire firm may eventually shut down!
SILENTLY KILLING THE COMPANY
My reader from New York City said he successfully planted a virus at his old employer who let him go the week of Christmas. He knew something was up for months, so as the department head, he purposefully hired an incompetent person to do a job.
His old employer paid the virus a fortune to join, which engendered a lot of envy. Then the company fired the virus six months after hiring. By then, plenty of people had already left to competitors and the company lost tremendous ground.
I’ve never heard of this nefarious strategy to get back at one’s old employer. But, now that I look back upon my career, I can see how some people did successfully plant viruses out of revenge. The productivity loss of constantly selling yourself to new management really is the worst.
The more admirable way to get back at your old employer is to get a new job at a competitor and take away their business. Complaining to the public about how you’ve being mistreated only hurts your own reputation. Who in their right mind would hire a complainer when there are plenty of other excellent candidates? And the best way to seek revenge is to start your own thriving business and never have to work for anybody again!
The next best way to get revenge is to negotiate a severance and laugh all the way to the bank like I did. My severance covered six years of living expenses when I left my old employer in 2012. Since you got laid off, you’re also eligible for up to 27 weeks of unemployment benefits. Having a financial runway is huge during your transition period.
Conversely, if you quit your job you get nothing. Check out, How To Engineer Your Layoff: Make A Small Fortune By Saying Goodbye, on how to negotiate a severance. I first published the book in 2012 and have since expanded it to 180 pages from 100 pages in 2019 thanks to tremendous reader feedback and successful case studies.
Updated for 2020 and beyond.