Starting a new job comes with learning to roll with the punches. This would really impress the new bosses, right? But how much could one endure before losing it? This is where this story comes in. This employee decided he had enough of being taken advantage of by his bosses and orchestrated a plan that would teach them a lesson they would never forget. Names have been changed.
"Polo" was fresh out of college when he landed a Junior Consultant position at this well-known multi-national firm. He was an intern first, and couldn't have been happier when they offered him the opportunity to continue working there. Even though he knew this firm was known for being nightmares, he thought he could trust them. Then came to signing the firm's contract, he did have an issue about the 'Leave notice.' The firm demanded a three-month leave notice versus the standard two-week notice. He raised his issue with the manager, "Bre" only to get a shrug as a response.
"It's not a big deal, it is just for compliance purposes to the parent firm," said Bre.
Not fully understanding what that meant, he dropped the issue. He thought, 'If management has no concerns, then I don't need to worry about it either.'
What a mistake that was.
In his second month, a senior consultant, "Amanda" messed up big time. She did something by mistake, jeopardizing one of their biggest accounts, and to add to that, one of the biggest banks worldwide. It could have easily been on the news headlines. Just like that, the firm fired her.
Then they offered Polo to manage that account. He was reluctant at first, he was only a junior consultant and had barely any experience to handle one of the firm's biggest clients. But he thought that it could be a great opportunity to prove his worth to the firm so he decided to accept the offer.
This account was an international bank that had branches everywhere, so he had the chance to work with associates all over the world. He did not regret his decision. Neither did his manager, she praised him for exceeding expectations and bringing in more work fees to the firm. The new transition was going smoothly until it came time for the yearly evaluation.
He was expecting a big raise and a bonus, but all he got back was, "You did nothing special."
He thought, 'Did she overlook the fact that I had stepped up to the plate and successfully took on one of our biggest clients in my first year with no preparation?'
But he swallowed his anger and continued to work flawlessly the same as the first year but this time with a different attitude. A big 'shove up yours' attitude to the management team. Let's just say, that didn't sit well with them.
Since the first-year evaluation, he was given more accounts to handle and another team to manage. With his new attitude, he was not going to let this slide easily. Management was not liking this new Polo.
In his second year evaluation, the management team was starting to show their true colors. He realized both his manager, Bre, and HR Director, "Teresa" were trying to dig dirt on him rather than conduct an honest evaluation. It was a waste of time because ultimately they didn't uncover any flaws. Not one. The clients were very pleased with Polo's work and his team loved him.
"He was a great team leader," said one colleague.
Since there wasn't any negative feedback on his performance, the management team had no other choice but to acknowledge Polo deserved a raise and a bonus.
'Finally,' thought Polo.
But then they said, "But we do have a concern that you're not pushing yourself hard enough this year. And this is all we can give you."
Then these cheapskates gave him the lowest raise and bonus, ignoring the 'set objective rules' for it and the defining factor which was the customer satisfaction which they knew was excellent.
At that moment, a lightbulb switched on in his head. It didn't matter how hard he worked, they weren't going to give him his desired compensation. And with that, he knew what he had to do from there.
Due to the firm's strict contract, he knew his plan wasn't going to be easy but he wasn't going to make it easy for them either.
Polo knew the firm needed him for that big bank account. He was the only remaining associate from the old team and because it required a lot of international coordination, not everyone could keep a tab on everything or keep an eye on the account history. The team worked with a lot of high-profile associates around the world and they were a zero mistake tolerance.
One of these high-profile associates requested Polo to visit him in another country and expressed to the management team how much he relied on Polo for the upcoming busy season. That was when Polo knew when exactly to follow through with his plan. His plan to leave the firm.
The busiest season for work was from January to late April, and with a three-month notice, he knew management would have nothing to worry about if he left after the season was done. But not on his watch. He wanted to make sure management regretted the decision to not pay him what he was worth.
It was late December when Polo finally resigned and demanded to only perform a one-month notice. He already knew their game, the HR Director, Teresa would first need to consult with the Managing Partner, "Sue" and she would then get back to him "as soon as possible" with an answer. In the meantime, she wanted him to train someone for his replacement.
He thought, 'That's not going to happen.'
He knew as soon as he trained someone by the end of the month, management was going to reject his one-month proposal and demand he stays for the three months as stated in the contract he signed. Or he would have to pay back the company up to two months if he decided to break the three-month notice. Also stated in the contract he signed.
As he had one year to plan his revenge, he set aside the two months of revenge money and took away their leverage. He waited for a week to follow up with Teresa. She still had no response from Sue.
"Fine," he said and went back to his office.
He then proceeded to cancel his five-day paid vacation for the end of December. Not too long, he received an email from his manager about his cancellation and she was not too happy.
The email went like this:
Bre: “You can’t cancel your paid vacation as there isn’t much work to do at that time. YOU WILL TAKE PAID VACATION LIKE EVERYONE ELSE.
Polo: “I won’t take it. I’m not like everyone else. I’m on resignation notice.”
Bre: “Doesn’t matter, you’ll take it nevertheless."
Polo: "As stated by labor laws, the employee on resignation notice can’t take paid vacation otherwise it will extend their notice by the said vacation. Unless there is an agreement between the two parties on it. WHICH IN OUR CASE, IS NOT."
With nothing left to say, she forwarded the email chain to the Teresa who then sent me an email to come discuss this matter with her.
'Awesome, that's what I've been wanting all along,' he thought and headed to her office.
As Polo entered her door, he said, "I’m being professional. I demanded my notice to be reduced and a person to train. One week has passed and no replacement and I’m still waiting for your feedback."
Teresa said, "We didn’t find the right person to replace you, but we are still looking."
He said (frustrated), "I don’t care that much. Management said in the evaluation I did nothing special and I don't have what it takes to climb."
She noticed how mad Polo was getting and said, "Sure. It was brutal how we treated you. But you can’t leave. You have to stay three months so we have plenty of time to find someone to replace you and for you to train them."
He firmly said, "That’s not going to happen. At the end of the month, I’m leaving and you can’t stop me."
She replied, "In this case, you will have to pay a two-month salary which is a lot."
He said, "No problem! I was prepared for that. My check is ready when you are."
She panicked and called in Bre and the Operations Director, "Matt" to the meeting.
They came to the agreement that Polo couldn't leave EVEN if he paid the set amount because they, the management team would first need to accept the payment which they weren't going to do.
Polo said, "As stated by law, section X paragraph Y, I can in fact leave. I don’t need your approval."
Matt was a poker champion and was only there to call Polo out on his bluffs. But he was not bluffing and to prove it, he leaned over the meeting table and finally said, "I’m leaving at the end of the month. You have two options. Option One: I pay you for the two months, but I will not be training anyone. Or option two: I’ll train somebody to replace me but I won’t pay you. Choose wisely.
Teresa said, "This is blackmail."
Polo replied, "You call it whatever you want, that’s my offer. Take it or leave it. You have less than three weeks to decide."
There was a moment of silence until the poker champion decided to speak up.
Matt said, "How can we make sure you will train him well?"
Polo responded, "You don’t! If you want the second option, I need a written agreement before I start the training."
They all agreed to give up on the two-month pay in exchange for Polo to train someone. They quickly found a junior consultant, "Izzy" with zero experience as his replacement. And on purpose, Polo gave her a lousy training. He knew what he was doing, but he didn't care. That was how he was first trained in the beginning. He did however felt bad for the poor girl.
He apologized to Izzy in advance and told her, "Whatever happens, do not blame yourself for the outcome. You did all you could."
And left with no remorse for the firm.
Two months later, he got a text from a friend, "Lu" who still worked at the firm. He found out that their big client wasn't happy anymore and dropped the firm. Management basically gave up over 300k annually from that client because they thought it was wise to take advantage of a junior consultant.
He thought, 'This all could have been avoided if they would have paid me better.' Then he headed out to his new place of employment.
May this be a lesson to employers. Treating employees with respect is a two-way street and it can quickly turn to a dead-end if there is no respect given. Polo invested all he had for the firm, but the firm was not willing to do the same for Polo. And in the end, the firm not only lost an excellent worker but also a 300k client.