We have all been there before - we have a job that we love but with a boss that we hate. In those situations, it seems like there is nothing you do can please your supervisor. But you don't always have to wallow in your pity as you try to pick yourself back up. No, instead of feeling sorry for yourself, you can do something better. And it's not getting even; that's just not enough in some cases. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
That brings us to David, an IT specialist at a small business consulting firm with an owner so terrible, so awful, that he formulated a plan of sweet, sweet revenge that took years of thought and care before it could be properly executed.
And boy, execute he did.
David worked at the consulting firm under the eye of Richard, the owner of the company, for a few years before he noticed anything was up with the company or the owner's behavior.
"Occasionally, this guy would take things a little too far, he was just passionate about his opinion and always had to be right, so I'd always give him that," David recalled. "I don't have to agree, but I saw his need and left it at that."
But then David's opinion of him began to change after he noticed a trend with the company's turnover rate. It seemed like Richard had a nasty habit of picking out one employee and making their life a living nightmare until they would abruptly quit.
One coworker on their way out explained to David just how much torment Richard was putting them through until they finally made their decision to quit. David initially thought that his coworker was embellishing Richard's behavior, but he soon found out that the coworker was telling the truth. At that point, however, it was too late.
With Richard's human punching bag nothing more than a distant memory, the egotistical 60-year-old man needed a new target, a new victim for his abuse. In comes David.
"[Richard's] sights then narrowed on me," David admitted. "I can take a lot, so for the next five years, I took it. He would insult me pretty much every day, each day more and more colorful. I didn't really care or take it home with me, so it wasn't a problem for me."
Although the abuse didn't bother David, his response, or lack thereof, had the opposite effect on Richard, and so he treated his subordinate like a frog in a pot of water - he slowly began turning up the heat.
It all started when Richard told David that he would be "taken care of" if he obtained some certifications, but every time David would earn one or two or 14 certifications, Richard would pull the carrot a little higher above David's head.
When David threatened to quit, Richard did what an abuser does, he gave him a raise and played the role of the comforting spouse for a few months.
But then Richard gradually went back to his old games of finding ways to get a rise out of David. It started with making sarcastic suggestions before turning into a "fictional" new direction.
The company was rather small, and so they would all either go out for lunch or get delivery on Fridays. A nice gesture, right? Well, it quickly turned into another way for Richard to mess with David.
"He saw me with leftover food and claimed that I was taking home dinner on his dime," David recalled. "Any time there was any leftover, even a single French fry he'd be there with a magnifying glass for inspection to find any conceivable way to yell."
Having enough of Richard's ridiculous obsession with calling people out for taking their leftovers home, David found a way to work around the abuse. The next time the company bought employees lunch, David brought a sandwich from home and ordered a side and a drink from the restaurant. David would finish the beverage and side before digging into the food he would bring from home. If he didn't finish the sandwich, Richard couldn't really say anything about it.
David took joy in seeing the look of disappointment overtake Richard's face each Friday over this little stunt, but that feeling would be shortlived as Richard found another method to abuse his employee - anytime someone would use the restroom, Richard would accuse David of stinking it up. He would do this in front of any and every one no matter if they were colleagues or clients.
"Instead of hello when passing in the hallway, he would say, 'Did you use spray?' or 'Did you light a match?' as hateful as he could, but that was his normal," David said.
David admitted that he let the comments get to him, and when Richard noticed, he continued the neverending onslaught of poop jokes.
So as a middle finger gesture to Richard, David would empty an entire can of Febreze after every time he went to the bathroom, it didn't matter whether he was going number one or number two. After a few weeks of using this tactic, David learned that Richard was tired of buying so much spray and stopped making rude comments about the smell of the restroom, for a little bit...
During a lunch meeting with clients, the topic of favorite meals was brought up. David told the group about his love of hot wings, but Richard being Richard, he took this as an open invitation to poke fun at his employee, saying, 'Just think how bad the bathroom would smell.'
It took everything in David's power not to hit Richard in the face right then and there. As he recalled, "I almost walked out. Then I remembered he drove and it's a long way back. Plus Richard is over 60, what kind of person knocks out a senior? I had to chant that in my mind to keep control. I never get angry but after years this was the last straw! I seriously pleaded with myself all day not to do it because I'd go to jail and he would win."
David later admitted that most of the people at the table didn't get the context of the comment, but David knew, and Richard knew it. And that was it. After all the years and all the abuse David put up with, enough was enough. It was time to exact his revenge.
David took his anger, his resentment, and his frustration and came up with an idea. Through his research about unemployment laws in his state, David learned that the company would be required to pay half of his $65,000 salary if he were fired without good reason.
"Why not make him pay out of his pocket $32,500 for everything he had said and done?" David asked himself. "[Richard] would have to pay this over the course of six months or until I found a new job, so my goal was to make him pay me $32,500 to be exact over six months as restitution for what he said and done."
It was going to be tricky. David knew he needed to get his boss so angry with him that he would fire him, but he couldn't go too far otherwise Richard might have a justifiable reason. With this in mind, David knew just the right buttons to push to set Richard off.
With his mind set on the plan, David slowly began to put it into action. It would take at least a few months before Richard would finally snap and fire David, so he knew that he was in for the slow burn.
David started his plan during meetings. Richard loved to hear himself talk and explain every detail, no matter how small or unimportant, and so David began cutting him off and offering better solutions to the colleagues and clients. This worked very well, as David explained, "He would argue, sometimes red in the face mad. Especially if others in the meeting liked my idea. He knew he was wrong but he would dismiss them and demand it be done his way."
Then David started talking about Richard behind his back knowing that he could hear everything that was being said.
"I'd say things like 'Make sure you perform that [Richard's] way; it takes longer but it's better than him releasing the Kraken.' It would make everyone laugh, but it wasn't a direct insult," David said. "Trust me when I say this guy has a massive ego and I was counting on this for ticking him off. I laid it on thick, and in time, it took its toll."
David was asked by one of the higherups to travel to a client, but having not been reimbursed for previous trips, he wasn't so willing to go further into debt. David thought it over, and then coyly said if the company would repay him for those trips upfront then he would be more than willing to go meet with clients in the future as he knew they desperately needed him to.
So, Richard agreed and the plan was to pay David back over the course of three weeks, at which point David would go back on the road. In the meantime, Richard instructed one of the higherups to drive David around to meet with clients during the payment period so David could still get his job done without incurring more travel expenses. Obviously not putting a lot of thought into what he was doing, Richard unintentionally put a plan into motion where he was paying two people to essentially do one person's work.
"Out of all the things I've done so far, this had made the most significant impact because I outwit him at his own game," David said.
After two weeks of this, Richard finally figured out what he had done, and he wasn't too happy.
On the third week, three days until David was supposed to receive his final repayment, Richard entered his office. With a waving gesture, Richard asked his employee to follow him to his office for a discussion.
"We sit down and he asks me what the problem is," David recalled. "I told him the problem is he needs a new hobby, 'In one hand, you have someone sitting here that busted his butt for the last seven years, and in the other, you have a need to bash someone's face in the dirt with your ego. The problem with me is I won't conform and provide both.'"
David was quick to provide a long list of abuses that had come down from Richard over the course of the previous seven years, but Richard was coy and acted like nothing was wrong with his behavior.
And how did Richard respond? If you guessed that he went on to abuse David even more, you would be correct.
"[Richard] responded by saying that I'm behind the times, my work has been poor, and out of the kindness of his heart, he gave me a raise after I demanded it," David recalled. "I responded with 'Ok.'"
Then David heard Richard say what he had been waiting to hear for years: "You're fired."
Finally, after all of the years of abuse, David won. His hard work, his planning, his punishment had all paid off. He was free. Free from that job. Free from Richard. And free to act out his revenge.
David knew this was coming and had already prepared his unemployment forms, so he rushed home, changed the dates, and immediately submitted them. He called the state to verify all of the details and played the waiting game.
His plan wasn't fully realized until about a week later when Richard received a letter in the mail informing him that he would have to pay David's salary for the next six months or until he found a new job. Again, Richard would have to shell out $32,500 over the course of six months.
As you can imagine, Richard wasn't happy about this and did everything he could to get out of having to pay his former employee, but when the state asked for documentation of David's supposed poor work performance, Richard had nothing. He was forced to pay out.
That sounds like the end of the story, doesn't it? It's not.
David knew that Richard would try to game the system just like he had done in the past, so he came up with a fool-proof plan: he provided the state with pay stubs, examples of the abuse, and a note saying that he fully understood that the company was "losing business and clients" and letting him go was a "business decision."
"I had no doubt that would seal the deal simply on the evaluation on character before the facts even entered into it," David said.
David wanted to beat Richard up and tear him down just like he had done over the past seven years. Once that was done, all that was left for Richard to do was pay David the $32,500 he was owed.
David spent the next six months relaxing, picking up hobbies, and getting back in touch with himself.
What made it even better was that Richard was paying for it all. Every cent of David's enjoyment was coming from Richard's terrible behavior. Every awful comment, every hoop he made David jump through, every game he tried to play added up to this.
He wanted the pain to be long. He didn't want Richard to forget what he did.
Looking back on the day this all started, David admitted that he could have taken the easy way out and punched Richard in the parking lot that fateful day. But then he wouldn't have gotten the sweet taste of revenge.
"It wasn't easy, and it took work, but I'm proud of the way I handled it," David concluded.