How To Get Revenge From An Old Employer Who Fired You

Corporate Revenge

Do you want to learn how to get revenge from an older employer who fired you? Then read on!

In this mercenary day and age, it's every person for themselves. Companies are no longer loyal to employees. Therefore, employees should be more greedy for themselves.

To get revenge from an employer who fired you, you must think deeper. Suing your employer after getting laid off is generally not going to work out. Instead, there is a more strategic way to get revenge from an employer who fired you.

Planting A Virus At Your Old Firm

“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 Get Revenge From An Employer Who Fired You

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.

Here's What An Employee Virus Does

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 as a micromanager, 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 as employees quiet quit and bring down productivity.

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

planting a virus to destroy your old employer

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.

Example Of Planting A Virus Inside Your Old Employer To Get Revenge

On March 10, 2023, Silicon Valley Bank, the nation's 16th largest bank in terms of deposits failed. It experienced a bank run after buying long-dated Treasury bonds that resulted in a $1.8 billion loss.

Among the wreckage, we find that the Chief Administrative Officer could have actually been planted by a disgruntled worker. Take a look at the background of the CAA. He started his career at Arthur Andersen (went bankrupt), then was the CFO of Lehman Brothers (went bankrupt), then joined Silicon Valley Bank, which went under.

I'm sure Mr. Gentile was a nice guy who interviewed well. Maybe he was just unlucky. But to be apart of three mismanaged companies, two of which he was in senior leadership positions, seems suspect. I wish him the best and I'm glad the FDIC backstopped all SVB depositors. Otherwise, we'd experience the 2008 global financial crisis all over again.

How to get revenge on an employer who fired you, plant a virus

A Better Way To Get Back At An Employer

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. Literally thousands of readers have negotiated severance packages worth in the tens of millions since the book was published.

Add to Cart

For more nuanced personal finance content, join 60,000+ others and sign up for the free Financial Samurai newsletter. Financial Samurai is one of the largest independently-owned personal finance sites that started in 2009. Everything is written based off firsthand experience.

About The Author

84 thoughts on “How To Get Revenge From An Old Employer Who Fired You”

  1. Bob Abughie

    Human virus?

    Implant a computer virus instead and destroy them that way. Faster and just as delicious.

    Another thing…always be prepared. Compile a list of clients. Keep it at your house. When you get fired , you have the ammunition. You go to your next job, contact the clients and let them know you work elsewhere. They follow you; your old company loses them and hopefully your old company goes under.

  2. SERIOUSLY people??? Now, everyone is entitled to their own opinions and everyone has their own unique experiences in life, but REVENGE?

    Most companies are not designed to HURT their employees or make their lives miserable. Companies are run by HUMANS and we all make errors. You make mistakes, I make mistakes,
    NOBODY is perfect.

    So WHAT SHOULD you do when you feel you have been wronged?

    Step 0 – WAIT until your emotions are in check. We ARE NOT OUR EMOTIONS. You do NOT make decisions when you are emotional. You will regret it later. Don’t DO THAT TO YOURSELF.

    Step 1 – Write down the FACTS of your situation and leave out all emotions.

    Step 2 – Consider the situation from the employer’s side of view. What are the facts from their side of the situation?


    Step 3 – PRETEND YOU are the EMPLOYER and your (former) employee is going to activate a revenge plot because they feel wronged. Maybe you, the employer, aren’t AWARE of the situation. I bet you as the employer are reasonable and want the least drama possible.

    I bet YOU, the employer, do NOT want a Revenge plot?!?!

    And we all know – you should treat others as you wish to be treated.

    Step 4 – Now that you have considered things from all angles – Answer this question – WHAT DO YOU WANT? Is it an apology? The opportunity to speak your truth? A fair settlement??

    Step 5 – Make an appointment with your employer and discuss your issue and allow THE EMPLOYER to resolve the issue.

    If things aren’t resolved – Then consider speaking with a lawyer.

    When you involve other parties in your situation it automatically creates a negative situation.

    Look everyone, I have been wronged too, and I have had the choice – Revenge? Ignore it? Or take some time to understand the situation and then set me up for a WIN. Even better and WIN-WIN.

    KARMA is real. REVENGE is a blatant waste of time and in my opinion, a disgusting act that just promotes hatred. Better to be the party that was wronged than the one who is doing the wrong.

    SAVE YOURSELF from a lifetime of bad karma and DON’T EVER operate out of Revenge. You will regret it… Don’t DO THAT TO YOURSELF. You deserve better than that.

    Love yourself!!!


    1. Bob Abughie

      How about when you are fired because the boss’s incompetent nephew needs a job after he graduates from a nondescript college with a GPA that makes Beavis and Butthead look like 4.0 students and you are fired so he can sit at your old desk and do nothing?

      Damn straight you want to get even.

  3. Hello Everybody,
    I read all your ideas about how to revenge…
    Of course most of the ideas sound fine …. but none of them really relax me!
    I am thinking about shaving my Boss head (He is an old man who think he is the best and he think he is center of the world!) So shaving his head will totally destroy his dignity and is veary hard for him to come to comlany with shaved hair (he laid me off and ruined my dignity so he deserve to be treated same way)
    I am rhinking about using a wireless shaving machine and approach him from behind when he is walking outside of company and shave his head from back and run away very fast.
    Please let me know about your comments about this idea.

  4. Jeff Marshall

    Dude, I survived cancer and got the boot for it. I COMPLETELY ADVOCATE FOR KICKING YOUR EMPLOYER’S ASS for doing such a horrible thing. I still have ANGER ISSUES today. IF NO ONE STANDS UP AS AN EMPLOYEE, WE LOSE!!!!! here is my story, Employers beware: An exercise in real life legal “chess” follows.   I decided to capture it on my lunch break.   Wacky but very true:

    Oct 2003, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, unable to fly, per FAA, during treatment (I was a professional corporate pilot at the time).

    Notified employer/CEO in person of my circumstance (fyi, this is a family owned business).

    CEO told me to take disability, get better during treatment.  CEO told me they’d get a temporary ‘contractor’ during my absence.  CEO assured me I could return to my employment after treatment ended and FAA medical clearance was obtained.  Employer/CEO did not offer any work alternatives.

    I notified employer/CEO approximately 1x per month of treatment updates, and expected treatment finish date with return-to-work plan.

    In June 2004 I received FAA medical clearance to return to work.  I notified employer.

    CEO invited me to meet in person, 1 day after my notification of intent to return to work.

    During meeting, I was told that employer would be using ‘contractors’, and that I would no longer be employed, because the ‘full time employee’ position was eliminated.  I was offered 3 months of remaining on the payroll as ‘severance’.

    Through some investigation of my own, I discovered that the ‘contractor’ (per IRS rules), was classified as an ‘employee’ who was being paid ‘under the table’ (illegal tax avoidance).

    I asked for and received a signed, company letterheaded, letter of recommendation detailing my excellent performance on the job and the company’s elimination of the pilot position.

    I contacted the IRS in person and discussed the employer’s tax avoidance scheme.

    I discussed ‘contractor’ vs. ‘employee’ and tax implications with employer/CEO, and my concerns about discrimination with regards to my employment.  CEO dismissed my concerns and told me “You’re lucky you’re still on the payroll.  Most people would have been let go immediately” – This is verbatim from the CEO of the company at the time.

    I filed a charge of discrimination under the laws of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), with the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission).

    I also consulted with an employment law attorney.  The attorney advised of the At-Will employment law, and the challenge of overcoming the ‘burden of proof’ that rests with the employee in this circumstance.

    Through the ‘grapevine’, I discovered that the ‘contractor’ was fired.  This occurred at about the same time the discrimination charges were delivered.  This was still during my 3 month ‘severance’ window of which I was ‘technically’ an employee.

    I filed for, and received, unemployment benefits after the ‘severance’ ended.

    I discovered that the employer truly did eliminate the pilot position, even though they now had a multi-million-dollar airplane that sat without a pilot for about a month.

    I was notified of an opportunity, via certified mail, to interview for a pilot position with the employer (the same position I held prior).   EEOC advised me to interview (in sum, unemployment benefits law dictates that you cannot turn down employment).

    I applied, interviewed, and was turned down for the job.  I was told that the company decided to hire a more qualified applicant. EEOC advised me that the company could likely offer me a different (non-pilot, possibly minimum wage) position, and I would HAVE to take it or lose unemployment benefits due to unemployment law.

    I elected to voluntarily cease unemployment benefits for myself (yes, it is getting expensive at this point with no income, having to pay for COBRA insurance on top of that, medical deductibles, you name it….).  With a pre-existing condition prior to the ACA, there is NO other feasible alternative to COBRA. 

    I was also interviewing with other companies at the time, trying to find employment during this entire process.

    By voluntarily ceasing unemployment benefits after I had interviewed, the company HAD to avoid true discrimination (a retaliation charge, technically) by either: 1. Employing me or 2. Employing no one, for the pilot position.

    The employer elected once again to employ no one and let their airplane sit.  I had to laugh about that a bit, just imagining the other (more qualified) pilot that had been offered the job but was never paid and had his job offer rescinded.  The absurdity… LOL…… BUT still legal.

    After some time again, around January or February of 2005, I was invited to discuss the matter with my former employer’s attorney at the EEOC office.  I accepted the invitation.

    I was offered the job.  Coincidentally, I was already employed at a new employer. Therefore, I declined the job offer.  Besides, who would want to work for an employer that hires and fires several times over per year.   They could now legally justify that as ‘normal, non-discriminatory behavior’ for the position since they did it to 2 other pilots also.   I could just see it now, taking that job back and getting fired again the next day….

    *P.S. Here’s how the conversation went in the EEOC office with the Attorney:
    Attorney and I talked a bit (I have the notes somewhere I’m sure) then it came to this:
    “We would like to offer you the job in exchange for release of the charges”
    My response:
    “I would consider it. I would like to speak with him first (CEO)”
    Attorney’s response:
    “I’ll see if he’s available”
    That was the end of the logical part.
    After a week had passed, I had heard through the grapevine again that “some pilot interviewed but didn’t want the job”
    The unspoken logic from above is:
    1. CEO was “not available”.
    2. I didn’t release the charges for another week because I didn’t want the job (and didn’t want it advertised to my new employer that I had accepted the old job again).
    3. I did release the charges after I heard about “the pilot that didn’t want the job” (ME, of course), because they were worthless at this point anyway.

    Always get a letter of recommendation first. THAT was the essential catch to all of the rest.
    I couldn’t just “go away”. That is ‘immoral’ in my book.

    Final thoughts:
    Scary experience for me at the time, but on the other hand…….

    IRS audit of a 2000 employee company + legal defense + letting a company airplane worth 5 million sit for 6 months + Listening to former co-workers, friends, etc. use descriptive language about (CEO) such as “Dirtbag”, “Worthless”, “A-hole”, “Jackass”, “What is wrong with (CEO) lately?”…… priceless.

    1. Antonio Zoli

      The take away I get from this pilot’s well articulated post is “don’t get sick”. I tested positive for Covid last month and spent 2 weeks on my back deathly ill. I found out who’s in my court, and it’s sure not my employer!

      1. I had something similar happen to me. I had emergency heart surgery. I was out for 3 weeks. When I was in ICU, my (stupid) boss visited me to ask the number of contracts I was bringing in that week. I was on medical leave=leave me alone.
        When I came back, I jumped right back in the saddle. They were then on a mission to get rid of me. My boss refunded and cancelled many contracts right in my face. I was berated constantly for no reason and gaslighted. It took me two full years to get sick of it. I was never intimidated. They were angry because I did find a new opportunity. The moral of the story is: “All’s Well That Ends Well”

        1. Maureen James

          Sorry you went through the indignity they tried to pull on you in the hospital. I was once fired for being in the ER. They too made a demand of me while I was in the Emergency Room. IN THE EMERGENCY ROOM. You handled things well.

      2. I agree, ive been trying to get a septoplasty for 5 years(before covid waiting lists then covid hit and it delayed it even further) when they finally called me with news someone had canceled and since i had just happened to call the previous day about list status i jumped on the slot since ive been told it would greatly impact my quality of life and help my sleep and energy levels. I let my employer know 6 months in advance that i would be out for a minimum of 2 weeks and maximum of 2 months. They assured me it would not be a problem and my job would still be there when i came back. 2 weeks later i went in for a trial shift to see if i was fit for work. And my nose visibly swole up to make me look like mr potato head. My supervisor advised me to go home and he would find someone to take my 2 other shifts for the week (part time 5 hour shifts to test if i was ok to go back to work)
        Well now its 2 weeks later and i have been ghosted since the day i was sent home. Also, i was already a relatively new hire before my surgery so i did not have hr email since i hadn’t needed HR at all since i started i had never asked for it; im young and dumb should have had this on day1. So now im racking debt trying to job search with a nose that swells when i walk for more than 10 minutes. Its been a month and nobody wants to hire me when i say id need to take it slow for a few months before working at full speed.
        I had a supra i had spent my life savings on i had to sell and buy a car to drive for ubereats or doordash and its not covering the bills.
        Before this job i lost another job due to a protest not allowing me to cross provincial lines to get to my job so that ended sort of amicably in the sense that i understood that my problem was not my employers problem and that i lost that job myself, i took responsibility for that and kept rolling but i dont understand this one.

    2. Maureen James

      Offering you a job so that you release charges is coersion.

      I once faced coersion like that. I once had a doctor who said she would only write my employer a pneumonia verification note if I withdrew my complaint that she was unprofessional (for having refused to write a pneumonia verification letter to my employer). I accepted the coersion and later re-filed my complaint.

      I had the sick leave available no problem, but my employer demands doctor’s notes no matter what after the 3rd day sick.

  5. Dark and angry, what horrible advice. There are 2 sides to every story, we always give ourselves the benefit of the doubt. Take what you’ve learned and start your own business instead of letting the festering hate eat you up. I was let go after 5 years of hard work and horrible manager after horrible manager, now I own my own company and treat people the way I wanted to be treated. I realized that and it has kept me sane and happy. Too many revengeful people in this world

    1. Jeffrey Marshall

      You’re kinda right, but never forget the people who come after you. I was tricked into being fired after surviving invasive Cancer. I gave that fucking employer the whole 9 yards, because FUCK THEM! YES I have anger issues, and YES that CEO deserved every goddamned IRS audit and EEOC investigation he got. Cost that motherfucker Hundreds of thousands of dollars. Because at the end of the day, Humanity fights for what is right. ME included. Never forget the impression you make, so that others who come after you may be treated with respect.

    2. Antonio Zoli

      I disagree with the popular notion you’re proposing of starting a business as a cure all or therapy for getting over a dirty deal from employers. A few years ago it was everyone needs to go back to school when shenanigans are played out on them, and they’re suddenly unemployed.
      Not everyone is an entrepreneur, nor do many people have capital or investors to bankroll some dubious created “consulting“ business someone dreamed up.
      Yeah, there are two sides to every story; however, this pilot has well articulated his account, and I’d wager his ex-employer would be hard pressed to do the same!

  6. The Accountant

    I worked for a company and was extremely successful taking them to new heights , I was the best they have ever seen, but things weren’t right there , put my resignation in 3 times , the first two times I resigned because of repeated fraud being committed by the management with regards to my commissions not being paid in full to me, I went to the CEO of the company and he literally begged me not leave , he said he would take it up with management…………nothing ever happened .
    So the third time I resigned with effect.

    I found a job in another industry and was happy at the new company and then I got the phone call, The new owner of the company I resigned from …………..
    He headhunted me back and said it was a new company and the wrongs of stealing my commissions would not be repeated etc, so I joined the company again , Only thing was I started noticing a distinct disrespect towards me and my colleagues. He also started manipulating sales that were meant for a lady in the office , he also did not entertain the employment contract and was in breech. He fired me and I laid a case against him and won . He still hasn’t paid me as per legal instruction !
    He has made life unbearable for the other staff and another three people have been forced to leave. so that is 4 people in 5 months.

    Old customers have expressed their concerns and have asked me to supply to them!
    So we are thinking about starting a new opposition company …………… 4 …………

    The Chinese have a saying , “When seeking out revenge, dig 2 graves”

    So we aren’t looking for revenge , we are looking to put food on the table with skills we have honed and let Karma do its thing.

    Put your efforts in building you and your team up !
    It’s a big motivator!
    Don’t even think of the wrongs your previous employer has done to you and your team, it saps your energy which could be put into securing a multimillion company that no longer wants to deal with your ex employer.

  7. Mattie Buchanan

    Actually, I did an alternative on the virus. I planted a “virus” with the head of an account we had been “smoozing” with when I was fired without cause. When the account found out what was going on company-wise with regards to ethics, (and were on the fence anyway about putting all their eggs in one basket with my old company), they decided not to contract after all with my old company, but to go with someone else. This cost my old company well over a billion dollars in business, stock value and customers. SWEET REVENGE.

  8. Reminds me of what Germany did to Russia in WWI (will give credit to Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History Podcast).

    The Germans gave a Russian political exile nicknamed Lenin a free ticket back home. We all know how that turned out for Russia!

  9. I was just fired this morning. My (former) boss, is the CEO (Or Trust/Estate Manager) of a 10 BILLION trust. When I interviewed with my boss, we got along so well that I KNEW I would be offered the job. Indeed, I was offered the position and accepted it. I started working exactly one week ago today. That Monday, I had a new employee orientation meeting. Once that was finished (around 12:00-1:00) I went straight to my office to start the job I knew I was going to love. I worked my butt off. I hit the ground running on day one. I worked OFF the clock because I wasn’t authorized to do overtime. However, I wasn’t told NOT to do any overtime. But all this is beside the point…circumstances change. I decided to email HR and and give them the dates I worked and how many hours I put in. Had I not been fired, I would not have added the extra hours I worked on my own time. I worked those extra hours as a way to prove my reliability, dedication, work ethic, etc. Besides, I cannot stand leaving my office with an unfinished project/task.

    I did every single thing she asked me to do, including sharpening pencils. The bottom line? I worked with my boss (she and I shared an office) as follows:

    – [ ] 1st day (Monday) I worked with my boss for 4 – 4.5

    – [ ] 2nd day (Tuesday) She had meetings outside the office and spent about five hours with her.

    – [ ] 3rd day (Wednesday) I worked 5 hours with her as again, she was in a meeting outside of the office and left around 1:30 – 2:00.

    – [ ] 4th day (Thursday) I worked with her all day.

    – [ ] 5th day (Friday) I did not work with her at all as she was at a conference and won’t be back until tomorrow.

    So, I worked WITH her for about 22-22.5 hours. Calculating those hours doesn’t even add up to two full days of the two of us working together. I was unceremoniously fired by two of her minions for the reason, “[bosses name] said that we did not “click”. I wasn’t even given the time to prove myself and certainly not enough time had passed for either one of us to say for certain that we didn’t “click” or whatever.

    My abrupt termination was like a slap in the face. I truly loved the work I was doing. She never, as far as I can tell, had ANY problem with me. I had even told her that if I did or said something in a way she didn’t like, to please let me know.

    I quit a lucrative career for this job, now I have NOTHING! I want answers. I don’t think her reasons for letting me go were actually reasons, but simply an excuse. And she’s a coward. She sent her minions to fire me. So yeah…I want revenge.

  10. These suggestions are so “lay-in-wait” revenge, I mean seriously who has the patience and/or time? Color me uninspired by your suggestions and ideas.

  11. I am fairly passive aggressive. Six years ago, I quit a job I absolutely hated and it was torturous working there. I gave my 4 weeks notice (turns out I only needed to give two), and started leaving at 5pm. If this sounds rebellious, trust me, it was at this company in that department. No one left until 6. Second thing I did was to assure everyone who kept asking me to do things, that they were done. For some reason, no one checked any of this. When I left, I am sure they weren’t happy when they found out how much didn’t get done.

  12. This is a long term sabotage operation. I would just focus on getting back on my feet, landing a better opportunity, and laughing at my previous employer for losing moi!

    On a different note, what’s up with the repetition of “She”? Are viruses Feminine or the story teller used a female employee for this twisted plot? :)

  13. My revenge was walking away with big package and not looking back. I didn’t call or talk to anyone back at the company (indifference) and but over the years through people I bumped into let it be known how well I was doing (successful, happy, FIRE). Another thing was how my very successful department, highest rated by our customers for products and service, fell apart totally with the “new way” of doing things. Now, through lucky investments I am way better off than I would have been taking abuse for that pension. Sam, your post on not letting people walk over me hit home, I used to let that happen way too often.

  14. Too much work for so little reward. If they are enticing prospective employees with bonuses paid out after a year, and then booting them after 11 months, they’ve already got a virus in management.

    Reputation speaks volumes and qualified candidates don’t go to toxic companies like that.

  15. I don’t need to plant a virus. My old employer does it on their own. There are a bunch of toxic people there due to bad corporate policy. I wouldn’t want to do anything bad anyway. I still have a bunch of stocks there.
    Wow, the Atheist story sucks. I’m glad I live in a tolerant city. Nobody care about your religion in Portland.

  16. Sorry Sam but this is your worst post ever. You are all about wealth and growth. Suggesting readers spend time bringing down the company is very petty. Why not take that same energy and determination and create an income stream.

    1. Thank you Shawn. I really enjoy listening and highlighting different perspectives. Keeping an open mind helps see things more clearly I’ve found. It’s the reason why I like to travel and speak several languages. The world is full of interesting things.

      1. I agree with you, It’s just not where I would like to spend my energy and I think too many people are self absorbed and think the world/employers owe them something. Then when it doesn’t work out they waste the rest of their lives plotting revenge or feeling sorry for themselves, and always tell you how they got the raw deal. I’d rather think about what I want, go for it and make it happen. Which is what 99% of your blog is about. :)

  17. Nice title. Bad article. I was really hoping to find something Useful here…

    Let me put it this way: “How To Get Revenge On Your Snobbish Neighbor” – Easy! Just go out and buy a Bigger yacht than he owns. Simple!

    Where am I supposed to find such a…puppet…to not only apply for a job at this company but inadvertently destroy it as well? I’m not a human resources worker or anything of the sort…and, besides, nobody listens to me.

    Let me tell you briefly about the job that destroyed my life, or at least my confidence in humanity… Word got out in a certain electronics company (more like a factory) of my religious non-religion (being an Atheist)… My small circle of pseudo-friends quickly shrunk to 0. People I worked with were Uneasy around me… They Talked about me behind my back, to the point of (perhaps jokingly) saying I was a serial killer… I was never promoted and was stuck at the same bench job while everyone else around me advanced. It was a crappy company but only got worse when one day I came to work and found two or three cops waiting at my bench–they promptly escorted me out of the building and to the police station stating that Someone Said they heard me say I had a gun and was going to shoot the place up! When I tried to return to my job on Monday I wasn’t let beyond the doors and told I was fired for this vague “breaking company rules” and that was that!

    No great loss for me though as shortly thereafter I became financially independent. But this shit HURT, and more to the point I couldn’t nail down which scumbag put the knife in my back, except, possibly the chief engineer.

    But do I crave Revenge!

    1. Sorry to disappoint you. I will try harder next time to share someone’s perspective better.

      Great job becoming financially independent soon after getting fired. How did you do it?

    2. This sounds like the same company I worked for lol. Chief engineer is a totally made up position, our Chief engineer was a complete idiot with a couple of community college classes. The jokes on them when they realize that their products violate several safety standards and the engineer they treated like shit might just make sure they are recalled due to a little thing called code of conduct.

  18. The Professor

    Ironically it was four years ago my employer tried to fire me. The short version: We went to court and a panel ruled unanimously in my favor, thus they’ve had to keep me on paid leave continually. They’ve appealed it once and didn’t win and now it is sitting, waiting for a decision from the court of appeals. It may be close to a million dollars they’ve spent when all is said and done. Ironically they refused to listen to a possible settlement when it began.
    Sorry for the name, the Professor, but I don’t want to use my real name here. The case is still ongoing.

    1. Kudos to you! I am presently in the process of court proceeding concerning an employer not honoring the employment contract. I took the employer to court because I wanted to protect my reputation. The employer has refused to settle or mediate. In the process, I have accumulated a large legal bill. As you now know, even if you win your case the employer will appeal,appeal and appeal. I hope you realize that you may never receive any financial compensation. I have decided to put a limit on the time and money that I can devote to the lawsuit. Most employers know you will have a limit and therefore they appeal.

        1. The Professor

          In regards to your question about representing themselves in court it really depends on your situation but for me I would not advise it. Perhaps in traffic court is one thing but with Superior court and court of appeals, etc. there is too many chances you could unknowingly miss a technical procedure, format, deadline, etc and you are stuck with no resolve. I’ve gotten a good crash course in the legal procedure out of this.
          I was fortunate my state union covered a lot of my original costs. I actually wrote them a letter asking for some additional help and they reimbursed me $40k. (best letter I ever wrote- not an e-mail btw.)
          Trial is the most expensive but it was worth it. Now it’s just ongoing occasional costs. My lawyer is also not charging his “corporate rate.” Though should we win he will go after them for legal costs. I don’t think my employer expected that I could last but they’ve been wrong on all accounts.
          It also helped that the amount of money I saved on child care, (two kids), costs of commuting, etc. was significant that I just put it towards legal costs. It’s also interesting that with the amount of more free time I had I was able to find other ways to cut additional costs so as not to have to find another job and stay home and be a full time dad.
          In addition to my employer having to keep me on paid leave, I’ve had full benefits which include health, etc. for my family. Even if I eventually lose I have a decent pension and have now already reached FI. So I feel I’ve already won.

          1. I agree. I do not believe in the DIY legal recourse. I would like to mention that I have a lawyer. If you are receiving paid leave and your union is paying your legal fees you are essentially being paid for not working. Again I say kudos to you.

  19. I think we had a virus in our department last year. Person came “highly recommended” from someone in senior management, supposedly had “extensive” project management experience, and had intentions of moving into a management position once past formality of lower rank. The catch? Turns out, they couldn’t craft an email if their life depended on it. Had to ask for help formulating the simplest email addresses. And this person was a perfectly healthy and unhandicapped 30-something. Literally the least intelligent person I have met in my lifetime. Almost feel sorry that they played into the hand of whomever recommended them. Needless to say their performance was so awful that they were terminated after only 6 months.

  20. Go to another job. Steal all the old clients. Take their mailing lists and send advertising to every single one. Offer better quotes than you know your old job can provide.


  21. PatientWealthBuilder

    Wait are you describing someone I was recently working with? How could you know them?

    LOL! But I actually think seeking revenge is horrible. 1) its morally wrong 2) it doesn’t hurt them as bad as you’d hope 3) it takes too much of your own emotional time and energy 4) the virus may end up actually succeeding and thereby making the whole endeavor more frustrating 5) can you really control that much?

    The best revenge is to simply do your best and succeed elsewhere. Then its like “oh yeah that guy we fired – he’s over at this other company and got promoted two times and is making like 50% more than we paid him – we made a big mistake letting him get away.” To me: THAT is revenge.

    1. Tell him I said hello!

      Revenge is interesting in that it seldom feels good after you get it, for some reason. Often times, you feel numb or no better. One of the key messages in this post is to prove yourself. I see the human virus as simply a worse version of your fired self. Make your employer regret firing you.

      Go out there and make a name for yourself at a competitor. Or better yet, start your own business and make something with your own two hands.

  22. I find it interesting that you where able to find a human virus who really cared that you were fired. Most people are so interested in their own career progression that they really don’t care about what happens to you.
    When I have a job, I feel that I am the talent. I spend time in developing my skills so that I can be an excellent employee. When I leave a job, I feel the talent has left. My primary concern is my reputation when I am “let go”. With a good reputation, skill and talent you can find another job.
    Nowadays jobs are not loyal to their employees. As an employee, you should not feel obligated to be loyal to the job. I think you should do your best on a job because it is your job. If you receive a better job offer, most people will take it. I have found however that when a job fires you they try to justify their decision . Employers try to damage your reputation.

  23. Aliyyah @RichAndHappyBlog

    I have never heard of this corporate revenge strategy. You write the most interesting posts that are so “out there”!

  24. A College Student

    Here is a slightly different perspective…

    To set the stage, I’m a third year college student searching for that final internship before I go out into the real world for ones first job. After many hours of job hunting I find a position that I feel way over qualified for, but the job is in my industry (manufacturing) and It would be great experience so I send in my resume. After 3 months of silence I get a reply from them asking for a phone interview with HR. That goes well so they give me more phone interviews with upper management who sound very impressed with my previous work experience (I feel very confident at this point). Finally, I’m offered to come in for a final interview. I show up right on time, meet with the managers, and the interview…. I came out disappointed. One interviewer couldn’t be bothered to wear more than sweatpants and a sweatshirt and everyone simply followed the third grade fill-in-the-blank sheet with questions like”what do you like to do after school”. 3 days later I get a one line email basically saying no offer would be given (not even a proper phone call). I felt ripped off and wanted “revenge” as you stated above. But then things got better.

    I went back to work for my previous employer who I’ve worked with for many years and immediately received a salary increase and a “pseudo promotion” (They make me feel like such a valued employee, I love working for them!). However, The position stated above wasn’t the only position I was looking at. Another position has since taken its place as my dream job out of college. And as I mull it over more and more, I don’t know why this one hasn’t been in first place all along. They pay you while your still at school. Thus, my senior year I will make more money than almost anyone at the company I originally applied to while getting educated. Once I graduate, the pay is higher, than at the previous company. And, they will offer to pay a substantial amount of money to continue my education with a masters degree a few years down the road. Now, I’m not interested in this job for the money, but because I’ve realized (for me) it is the coolest job in the world and would make the best “out of college” job there is. Plus, I can start building my net worth in the next few months (in the positive direction) instead of the next few years.

    So, while I did not get fired, I did get the “revenge” feeling from not getting hired. Looking back, I’m happy I didn’t get that position. It closed one door, but opened up so many more opportunities. Opportunities that are a magnitude better. Sure, a company may make you feel like dirt when they fire you and close that door. But instead of thinking how to burn that door to the ground with the biggest flamethrower you got, I thinks its better to take that time to find doors so much bigger and better than before. Take it as an opportunity to forward yourself.

    ~A College Student

    1. Thanks for your perspective!

      I’m impressed you are so in tune with the internship process. Sounds like this is your 3rd or 4th internship? I only really did one internship, for a consumer electronics goods company overseas b/c I couldn’t get any others!

      You’re right about opportunities. They come up in many different forms. Once you get the opportunity, make the most of it. I got rejected from EVERY SINGLE JOB I applied to as a Senior in college, except for one: Goldman Sachs. It’s funny, b/c at the time, GS was the hardest job to get as well (~55 interviews over 7 rounds and 7 months). It wasn’t a back office or non finance job.. it was a full on front office equities job where 60 students were hired globally.

      I knew I had won the lottery, so I worked my ass off and saved. The only thing I focused on was proving to myself, and to my employers they did not make a mistake hiring a kid from a non-target public school.

      Good luck in your journey! Always remember to show GRATITUDE to everyone. It’s the employees who show none who always get fired.

      1. A College Student

        I’ve worked with this company since I was a junior in high school (June 2012), so I guess I’m still on internship #1. However, its been a great experience and my co-workers are superb. I also agree with you, at this level showing gratitude is probably the best way to succeed in this position. As the company knows your skills are limited, by being committed to the position, working hard, and just being a great co-worker will make you the most successful.

        One observation I have made in the college job search is the importance of internships. Good grades (~3.5+) are no longer enough. I go to a tech school, so we see Ford, GM, CAT, Space X, Kimberly-Clark, ect. looking for prospective seniors. That being said, to get hired by these companies you really need a good GPA and extensive work experience (ie college projects and/or internships). I’d be curious to see if thats true across the board or if thats just the industries that my school caters too.

        Thanks for the reply! Your posts have been very helpful for me as I prepare to enter the workforce. With your advice, and my current job prospects, I now see a way to eradicate the extensive student debt asap and start investing.

        ~A College Student

  25. The scenario you provided in this post was my situation to a T.

    I hate the company that canned me. Loath them. But the worst I’ve been able to do is sign up for their emails under every email address I own, then mark their email as spam whenever I get something from them. muahahaha!

  26. I didn’t intentionally seek revenge on my employer but it was just as sweet as your anecdote.

    My boss fired me and one other guy at the same time.

    He hired a couple people to replace me and paid them waaaay more than me. They were his buddies I think.

    Fast forward a month or two and my boss got fired because he hired his own people. Apparently the Governor (McCrory, the HB2 guy here in NC) had his own people he wanted to stick in my sweet little position.

    I bumped into my former boss at, off all places, the Walmart in the ghetto (not sure why he was there; buying crack maybe??). He seemed a little off it and I couldn’t stop smiling when he asked what I’m up to these days (early retired of course!!).

    1. How much is crack nowadays?

      That’s annoying your boss hired two people to replace you AND paid them way more. Listen up folks. THIS STUFF HAPPENS ALL THE TIME. There are inherent biases people have that make people do irrational things. Recognize!

  27. A very vicious strategy… Never heard off… Could be a great movie to watch…! Let me know when it hits the box office!

    I prefer the strategy you mention: go work with the competition and steal away the business in a graceful way.

  28. Hi Sam!

    Anger, bitterness and resentment…

    I think Charlie Munger recommends getting these things out of the way early on in life.

    I’ve only rarely found any pleasure from taking revenge. I’m sorry, but the example above is a pretty weak way of exacting it. Plus… how would you know what happened if you never speak to ex-colleagues?

    Its much better to harness that anger and direct it to something that will benefit you personally.

    I was slammed in my first grad job (unjustly I thought) on a quarterly review by a boss who had a personal dislike of me… He made it a point to write negative, unsolicited “feedback” on the report, most of which was made up. Subsequently I was given the cold shoulder by colleagues and managers and overlooked twice on promotions.

    Instead of wasting time plotting a way to “get them back” I spent it proving that I was a worthy, valuable employee at another firm. The interview experience I honed was invaluable as I leapt from one company to the next, upping my salary with each move.
    I also used the anger to get myself through CFA, adding qualifications to my CV and knowledge to my skillset.

    Its now been over 10 years since that @£$%hole did what he did. My gross salary is five times what it was then.

    I had never thought about revenge let alone plotting it, but from time to time I do let myself indulge in thinking about how I was wronged and pat myself on the back for deciding to act in my own interests, rather than for the sake of ego.

    1. The person who left the company was the head of the department. He hired the human virus, knowing she was weak before he left. Three people ended up leaving. And the person he hired was fired 2.5 months later. He got his revenge.

  29. You are a vengeful man! ;)

    Personally, I just let it go (yes, something similar has happened to me: ). It’s hard to do because it’s painful and a tough memory, but if you harbor the bitterness inside you, the only person it hurts is you.

    I also believe that you reap what you sow so my former employer will ultimately pay for how they treated me (and others).

    On the practical side, Jim’s right. It’s a ton of work with little chance of succeeding.

    But I appreciate the out-of-the box thinking. I’ve never seen a post like this before. Should send you a very interesting group of search result traffic. :)

    1. Everybody thinks everything is a ton of work, so people tend not to do anything about it. The reality is, people see what they want to see.

      Recognize the egos, temptations, personalities. You can do so much if you improve your awareness skills!

      The person who told me this story planted a virus b/c he hired a completely incompetent person under her, and then left. He had the power b/c he was the hiring manager!

  30. Jack Catchem

    Lol. This reminds me of a “Senior Manager” that came to my Marine Corps Reserve shortly after our return from Afghanistan. I don’t know where it came from but someone “inceptioned” him into thinking the biggest problem our small specialty unit had was all the combat-tested “mid level supervisors” in the unit. He demanded we transfer to new units or face negative repercussions.

    I hadn’t been under contract for the last few years. (I only deployed to Afghanistan out of loyalty to my platoon – I had spent the two years prior to deploying as the senior scout training them and couldn’t imagine them going to combat without me.) Thus instead of switching units I visited the career counselor and left the Corps entirely to focus on my law enforcement career, education, and growing family. It worked out great for me, but that man decimated the unit. The unit suffered a massive brain drain and according to my contacts, it hasn’t been functioning well since due to the lack of leadership and experience. I’ll admit I chuckle everytime I hear it.

    Those viruses are dangerous!

          1. Personal finances is a fun topic and it only gets better when it goes to war!

            The yearly salary of a new military member is fairly minuscule. While serving back in the US, take-home pay is microscopic and military guys often save uneaten rations to ease the financial burden. On the up side, the first thing any soldier, sailor, or marine is assaulted by in a combat zone is a host of financial benefits! All it costs is the exposure to hostile temperatures and the associated temperaments.

            The best money maker is that all money earned is tax-free, social security free, Medicare free. That right there is a 25 to 30% bump to the take-home pay. Next you get flanked by a squad of side benefits: extra pay for being separated from families and friends, and a few extra dollars for the hazardous duty. Interestingly, all items of mail suddenly also become free. Find any flat paper like object you want, and you can turn it into a postcard by simply writing an address and “free” in the upper right-hand corner.

            There’s even a financial sneak attack available to the Casanovas by tying the knot before you leave. Married members of the military receive extra pay to take care of their families and spouses. The additional pay available causes “incentivized” marriages that may or may not last much longer than the deployment. There are many reasons the military divorce rate is sky high, might this be one of the contributing factors?

            Finally, it needs to be stated that your expenses are essentially zero. There is nothing to buy in the middle of the desert! Food, clothes, living places are all provided without charge. There are no utilities, insurance payments, or toll booths. Everything you make is pure income and there are no opportunities for a unit to spend their hard earned money.

            This leads to the returning military members having a sizable amount of money on hand and close to a year to think how to spend it. Did I also mention that most of these warriors are pretty young? I’ll provide three examples (which factually occurred) of how this works out upon return.

            Sergeant B went out in a blaze of glory. A month or two after we returned our Marine Corps Ball (the big bash of the Corps Calendar) was held in Vegas. -Feel free to groan in you already can see this one coming. Sergeant B, like the war hero he is, took it upon himself to have a night of nights and blew eight months of salary in a night. To this day people remember him fondly and mention his name in passing when speaking of legends. The Pyrrhic Victory of it was that Sergeant B simply had too good of a time and cannot remember what happened that night. On the upside he has a lifetime of people telling him how amazing it was.

            Corporal T spent 8 months in the Horn of Africa working out his biceps (I love the guy, but he was ALL arm) and daily checking his credit in preparation for purchasing a CTS. No amount of Sam’s 1/10th rule of car buying or public ridicule could dissuade him from his one true goal (or stop him from spam-checking his credit). Unlike many big talkers, he stood by his guns and purchased that vehicle when he returned, the culmination of his endeavors. Unfortunately two things destroyed his paradise. #1 he had enemies and some foul person keyed his beloved. #2 he failed to secure appropriate income streams upon his return and couldn’t continue to make the payments. His beloved was repossessed.

            As for myself, upon my return from the land of the burning, burning sand, I enacted my own evil plan. I bought a new set of eyes (figuratively: laser eye surgery which took me from almost – blind to beyond 20/20), paid off student loans for my first year of college, and bought 2 laptops with 3 year warranties to take my fiancé and I through college (well, college for me, law school for her). It wasn’t hugely dramatic, but I’ve enjoyed every moment of outstanding eyesight and never had to deal with crushing student loan debt. That’s right, the War on Terror funded my college (and Master’s) degree.

            The opportunities to benefit from saving are there, but military lives are very much focused in the present and it’s hard to have the personal discipline and maturity to think what could be if that money was invested. In recognition of this difficulty, thanks again Sam for all the free, but quality, advice posted here! It’s certainly helped structure my thinking since finding it about 2 years ago.

  31. this sounds like a movie script…i find it a bit odd that the Employer would even consider hiring the fired person’s recommendation…

    but how did the the Revenger gain monetarily from this scenario? i would think that having some insider knowledge would be better if this was a publicly held company…

    i don’t see myself doing this…if this is a close-knit industry i think that people will figure out what happened…

    1. +1

      Perhaps this is the finance industry and expected behavior is different, but if I had treated someone so poorly I would never hire anyone on their recommendation, for just such a reason.

      Revenge may be sweet, but I prefer karma for most situations.

  32. I worked at a place where a higher up was insistent on hiring people who had data analysis/statistics backgrounds. Invariably, she hired someone who had that background and was good at selling ideas but fell short on real analytical skills and more importantly, people skills. He loved to present data and charts to upper management but refused to issue reports that gave conclusive recommendations which left others in the organization out on a limb. Whenever anyone [even those that didn’t report to him] questioned him about his recommendations and the risks they would entail, he would say things like, “that’s your job, you’re not taking ownership in your role.” In addition, whenever others either questioned him or presented data conflicting with one of his theories, he would say things like, “ this doesn’t meet statistical standards.” In short, he created more work/problems than he solved and alienated lots of hard working and experienced employees…a perfect virus.

    1. Indeed. The longer one works, the more one will wonder “WTF was the person thinking hiring this person.” It’s because hiring managers have blind spots or unspoken biases for some people. See: How To Get A Job You Do Not Deserve.

      Then there are some who are devious enough to recognize a hiring manager’s blind spot and push in a human virus to damage or kill the company. I’ve seen it before. It was incredible destruction.

  33. Call me lazy, but this strategy seems like an awful lot of work for a company that I wouldn’t care about after getting treated so horribly. In my personal experience, it’s best not to burn your bridges and to move on and find a better opportunity.

  34. No way. I just fired someone a few months back and he turned into something radioactive. No way anybody is going to touch this guy nor anyone he recommends. He didn’t accept a severance package and is now taking our company to court with a frivolous lawsuit and the company is counter-suing for damages on a conflict of interest case with the person.

    I guess it depends how you go out.


    1. He went out emotionally weak and decided to shoot three holes in each foot to make sure he never walks normally again.

      What I hope this article can accomplish is making employers more empathetic about the way they treat their employees and lay them off. Getting laid off can be very embarrassing. If an employer can show kindness and support, less conflict will occur!

  35. Justsomeguy

    Most people will be too worried, depressed, nervous, and drained of life after being fired. Paying ones bills takes precedence over revenge. Revenge is not an option for most of us, however, if you are financialy secure enough, go for it and serve it cold.

  36. This is too Machiavellian for me. I definitely would not hurt my own reputation by recommending someone who was not at least as good as I am for the task. Discretion is everything, and wasting it on an asshole boss seems counter my goals.

  37. That’s too devious for me. I’ve been in the situation where I’ve been let go and have been really pissed off about it, but I looked at it that I just wanted to be done and move on. I can see the temptation, but the downside is that you’re still emotionally attached to the company throughout this process. I’d rather put my time and energy at that point to finding the next great opportunity for me. It really comes back to the old saying that the best revenge is living well.

  38. Ironically, I think I may have fallen victim to this. Without realizing it, I think I was coached to become a virus and then made to be the fall guy.

    I suppose that kind of thing can happen in a Good Old Boys network. I wonder if it is still too late to exact revenge?

  39. This is something I would never consider….but that’s just me.
    I would just move on. I would never want to waste so much time and energy on something like this. However some people have a need to get revenge, and I guess I can understand that. I’m not saying that is bad, just saying people are different.

    1. Just move on!? You’ve lost your job, for NO FAULT of your own and your advice is to ‘just move on’……..this is terrible advice! How did we evolve so that being mean to somebody has no consequences? A job is sooooo important!! It’s our livelihood, our security in these awful times of so many people not knowing if they can pay the mortgage this month or put enough food on the table or simply buy our children school supplies. What are you going to do when you’re fired and there are no more jobs in your area? You ‘just going to move on’…you just going to let your family become homeless?!

  40. Apathy Ends

    There have been a few directors that “resigned” over the last few months – I guess I should be watching out for the virus.

    Not sure this is a productive use of time for the average X-employee, but it is better than complaining and tarnishing your reputation

    1. The interesting thing about planting the human virus strategy is that you never really know how you got the virus, and once the virus is implanted, it works on it’s own. It’s passive!

  41. Never thought about the term “human virus” before as a way of getting back at an employer. It difinitely makes sense though, the person that successfully acted this out as revenge on their old employer may quite possibly be an “evil” genius.

  42. Clever… but this seems like a lot of work with a small possibility of working. :) You have to know a human virus, get them hired at a company that you were fired from, and then that person has to be so viral that they implode the department. Seems so unlikely… which makes it a perfect strategy — they’ll never expect it!

  43. The Green Swan

    Can’t say I’ve ever seen something quite like this. However now that you mention it and all the symptoms that can come from a human virus… I might question some recent hires. Seems to me this takes a whole lot of effort which I couldn’t see myself wanting to put in after being let go. But also goes to show that you have to always look out for yourself in the work place. Never rely on others to help you advance.

    The Green Swan

    1. Observe everything around you a little more critically next time you go into the office. See who is faking it, who is plotting, who is genuinely happy.

      Having removed myself from corporate America for 4+ years now, it’s so apparent when I observe others in meetings or at a consulting gig, who’s feeling what.

      Being in the corporate world forces you to become an ACTOR. Some act better than others. How good are you?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *