In the realm of the modern workplace, toxic coworkers can cast a dark shadow, poisoning the atmosphere and hindering personal growth. However, amidst the struggles, tales exist of individuals who have fought back against the toxicity, refusing to let it define their professional lives. From messy managers to cranky coworkers, these individuals share how they got revenge on their whiny workplace associates once and for all. All content has been edited for clarity.
The Cruel Karen
“In the early 2000’s I worked at a CD Store. I liked my job aside from one coworker, ‘Karen.’ We just didn’t get along. I made the best of it, but she was a borderline bully. Of course, she got promoted to keyholder and proceeded to turn into a full-blown power trip bully. She made my life hell. The job I had previously loved I couldn’t stand anymore.
I made a formal complaint about Karen, and the complaint was moved up to human resources, but I was done working there. Getting me to quit was Karen’s goal all along. Of course, when human resources investigated my claims, they found Karen and the assistant manager were dating. Karen was moved to another store since fraternizing was against policy. She didn’t like the store and quit.
A few months later I was happily working at a bookstore chain. Guess who got a job at the same bookstore at another mall? Karen! Over the next few months, she proceeded to do little things to annoy me, like hanging up when I would call their store for a customer, or leave me on hold forever. Of course, I would get in trouble for ‘not effectively handling the customer with their needs.’
About 6 months into the job, I heard through the grapevine of store gossip about how Karen had been injured in a car accident. She had hurt her back and went on medical leave. She said couldn’t stand for more than 10 minutes at a time without excruciating pain. She was on indefinite leave, and her store could not hire anyone to replace her while on medical leave, leaving them short-handed. I knew her manager was annoyed after a few months.
Two months later a few friends of mine and I decided to go play pool. A former coworker, ‘Ron,’ from the CD Store was there.
Ron said, ‘Man, too bad you weren’t here last night! It would have been a reunion! Karen and the assistant manager were here playing pool!’
‘Karen was playing pool?’ I asked, intrigued.
‘Oh yeah. They come in every Wednesday night,’ Ron replied.
I shook my head and said, ‘Really? Interesting. Every Wednesday, huh? How long has this been going on?’
‘A few months now,’ Rick explained.
Yes, for the entire time she was on medical leave, Karen was out playing pool once a week, not at home in debilitating pain like she claimed.
The next day, I went to her work and asked to speak to the manager. I told him all about her weekly pool sessions, and I encouraged him to be at the pool hall the next Wednesday night to catch her in action.
The next Thursday, Karen was fired.
The last time I saw her, she and her friend were attempting to follow me home from work. I called the police and lead them into the police station. The cops told her to leave me alone or be arrested. She stayed away from me afterward!”
The Tattle Tale Coworker
“I worked at a chain salon in the United States for minimum wage plus tips. We got paid on a sliding scale, the more you added services, the more your hourly pay. For back-to-school, we started offering $10 haircuts.
To advertise the sale, we had to stand on a rickety step stool and hang a 10-foot long by 3-foot wide banner off the roof of our store. The step stool alone made it a dangerous task, but on top of it, the sidewalk was uneven. Our manager insisted we do this twice a day, open and close, ‘In case someone steals the banner.’ Because certainly, someone would want to steal a banner with our logo saying, ‘$10 Haircuts.’
It was annoying, but I was looking forward to my next paycheck. I had a high service dollar per hour which should’ve meant a bigger hourly pay and paycheck. Except it didn’t. The $7 haircut discount? It was coming out of our final service dollar calculations. We ended up making significantly less than usual! I’d worked there for years and this was the smallest back-to-school paycheck I’d ever seen.
I went in the next day livid. The same morning, a coworker and I were outside setting up the banner. This coworker was notorious for gossiping and being a suck-up to the manager.
It was my turn to stand on the rickety step stool and I joked, ‘Glad this will be the last time I ever do this!’
I was fully prepared to make a joke about how I was going to fall and crack my head open when the petty revenge idea came into my mind and I swiftly executed it.
The coworker asked, ‘Wait, why is it your last time?’
I smirked and replied, ‘Don’t tell anymore, but I accepted a job at another salon. I will get a set schedule, higher commission, and better hourly pay. I planned on putting my two weeks in, but I’m just not going to show up anymore.’
I wasn’t leaving. But if I were, it would have made the salon short-staffed for the back-to-school sale. After reiterating she couldn’t tell ANYONE, especially not our boss, she agreed.
I left early this day, and on my next shift, my boss pulled me into her office.
My boss explained, ‘I heard a rumor you’re leaving to work somewhere else.’
I nodded and replied, ‘I found a much better offer at another salon. If you could match it, I’d love to stay.’
My manager had to put in a call to our district leader about the raise, but she said I could work with a set schedule the following week. Luckily, the district leader approved the raise. This meant I got an additional $39,000 in pay for ‘accidentally’ telling my gossiping coworker my ‘secret.’
As for revenge, I started printing out my service sales slips from the previous day at the beginning of each shift. This way, when the payroll ‘readjusted’ to the paychecks to include coupons, I could pull up my record and dispute it. According to payroll, there was nothing they could do about it. I stayed for another five years, raising the issue sporadically until they brought back the $10 haircut sale and I quit.
A few months later, I was made aware of how another employee filed a class action lawsuit, and I received a letter asking if I wanted to be a part of it. I accepted, and the lawyer loved receiving five years’ worth of documentation, emails from corporate and payroll, and my other evidence. They had to go back through my paychecks and compensate me for the difference. I ended up getting another $10,000 from this, in addition to my adjusted pay, which was half of the settlement amount.
I knew I would never regret standing up for myself.”
The Grocery Store Grump
“I worked at a grocery store. I was known as the person everyone could count on, and I was well-liked and respected.
My coworker, ‘Sandra,’ worked there longer than me. She went to college and considered herself better and smarter than everyone else. Sandra constantly acted like she was the boss of the place, and was always telling me what to do. If anyone made any kind of mistake, she made a huge deal about it. She had to go around telling every single person. If someone messed up something in production, she brought it around and showed it to everyone. Sandra also constantly complained about the way people do things, even things not relevant to her job at all.
For example, at night, the closers had to go and get the packaging we used to package what we made. I liked to wait until something was getting low and grab a whole box of the item from the supplies area in the back of the store, rather than grabbing a tiny bit of everything every night because I thought it wasted time. To most people, it didn’t matter what way you did it, because either way it got done. Not Sandra. She constantly complained about me doing it this way and said, ‘I never filled the packaging,’ and ‘I didn’t do anything but sit around when I closed.’
She constantly went to the managers about this issue, and they ignored her because it didn’t matter. So, Sandra complained loudly and often about how our managers were idiots who didn’t know how to run anything.
I used to just ignore her, but I finally snapped. I came in the other day, and she had gone around telling everyone and all of the managers I hadn’t pulled the icing out of the fridge the night before. Because of this, the icing wouldn’t be soft for cake decorating in the morning. Sandra gave me a lecture when I walked in, and I informed her I DID pull the icing, several buckets worth.
She then responded, ‘Oops, I thought you didn’t. I didn’t know the date yesterday.’
I was done. This happened so often. So done, I proceeded to go on social media and print out every instance of her insulting a customer for the last few months. This was easy because she never shut up and posted long, angry tirades often. When I was done, I had 10 different posts at least a paragraph long. Sandra’s page was completely public, so anyone could see these.
In the posts, Sandra called customers various things. She called customers disgusting pigs and said she wished she could, ‘Slap them silly.’ She called them idiots with terrible taste, mocked customers’ names, called customers crazy, and even called a customer lazy because they left a loose cart in the parking lot.
I gave the posts to my manager who took them straight to Human Resources. The next day, it turned out they had taken my coworkers to HR and told her they knew about the comments.
The coworker angrily demanded, ‘I need to see the screenshots!’ but HR denied her requests.
When Sandra came back, she was angry and whispered to everyone about how unfair the situation was. It seemed like nothing happened to rectify the situation at first, so I was pretty bummed. However, another coworker gleefully told me otherwise.
Right after the situation, Sandra took a ‘vacation’ to Texas. This vacation was sudden, considering we required three weeks’ notice for vacation. I found out the reason for her sudden vacation was because she was suspended for a little over a week, but used the excuse of a ‘vacation’ to cover it up. She didn’t tell a soul, but my coworker who hated her was very good friends with one of the higher-up managers and found out.
Sandra didn’t suspect I ratted on her at all because I was such a sweet person outwardly, even to her. She was nicer to me after the situation than ever. Maybe she learned her lesson? I wasn’t too sure, but it was a happy ending in my book.”
Family Business Fumbles
“This happened several years ago. I worked for a small medical supply company as an IT manager. Business was bad, and eventually, the IT department had to downsize to just me. During this time they brought in a new Chief Financial Officer who I had to report directly to. Let’s call her, ‘Pam.’
Pam had zero knowledge of IT and how things worked. Her motto was, ‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.’
To Pam, computer lifecycles didn’t exist. She thought we didn’t have to pay for licensing to keep our firewall updated because it was working just fine as is. I went from having an annual budget to a ‘wish list,’ for which she would deny everything I asked for.
The owners of the company were real pieces of work too. One time, we had a quarterly meeting. During the meeting, employees asked about how secure their jobs were.
The owners replied, ‘We can assure you nobody is getting laid off. All of your jobs are secure.’
The meeting happened at five in the afternoon on a Wednesday. The very next day at eight in the morning, the owners laid six people off. At noon, one of the owners arrived to show off the new car he’d purchased the same morning.
During the first six months of Pam’s reign, she started firing everyone working for the old CFO and replaced them with her friends and family. Three of her bridesmaids from her wedding a few years prior got hired and replaced those she fired. I knew I was on borrowed time.
After she had been there for nine months, I was the only one left out of what was about a dozen people that worked for the old CFO. I knew my time was running out. I had been looking for work, but the 2009 crash just happened and the job market in my area went south quickly. Sure enough, she called me into Human Resources and blindsided me with an entirely trumped-up charge she claimed happened the day before. I was working with the Vice President of sales on a project the entire day, so I had a witness.
I asked HR, ‘Can I bring in the VP? He has been with me all day and can vouch for what I’ve been doing.’
HR replied, ‘This isn’t about him. This situation is about you.’
Needless to say, my days were numbered.
The next morning, I got introduced to an IT expert who just happened to be Pam’s 21-year-old nephew. He was to shadow me and evaluate everything I did to see if we could streamline any processes. In other words, they wanted me to train him to do my job. I quickly learned this kid had no knowledge of IT. He was the kid people thought was an IT expert because he could hook up a PlayStation to a TV. He didn’t even know how to join a PC to a domain. So, I knew what had to be done. The inventory, billing and shipping, and receiving were all run by scripts I created on the server. They were all run using the domain admin account.
I raised quite a fuss about giving him the domain admin account in front of Pam and him.
I loudly proclaimed, ‘I am going to change the password! It is wrong for people not working here to have admin access to the network!’
I was overruled and was told to give him access. I complied, but I also showed him multiple times how to change passwords on the domain. I even had him write it down to make sure he could do it. I stressed the importance of changing the admin password and deleting his local account the second he is no longer ‘consulting’ with us to him. I showed him a few things, but nothing regarding what really made the company run. There wasn’t enough time in a year to bring this kid up to speed on how to run the place due to his complete ignorance of IT.
I come into work the next day, and sure enough, I was let go because her nephew had found ‘my skills lacking in many areas.’ I collected my last paycheck and went home. The next morning, I got a call from the CFO and owners. Her nephew wasn’t quite up to speed on everything we did there and she was graciously offering to pay me my regular salary to come in as a consultant and get her nephew up to speed on the IT infrastructure.
I replied, ‘Well, I’m an independent contractor now. If you need my services, I am going to charge $200 per hour with a 250-hour minimum.’
Pam replied, ‘I am going to call the police and have you arrested if you don’t come and fix everything!’
‘Just to be clear, you’re threatening to call the cops on me if I don’t come and fix what he did? I’ll hold, let me know what the police say,’ I laughed and replied.
Pam started cursing and then hung up the phone. It turned out her nephew did learn something from me. He changed the admin password after I had left. The one running all of the scripts for inventory, billing, shipping, and ordering. According to some of my coworkers, the place was dead in the water for several days until they could get a real consultant to go in and go through the documentation I had created and fix the issue.
The nephew was immediately fired and Pam was going within a month. Revenge had never been so sweet.”
Scamming Coworker Stacy
“I had a terrible coworker who thought she could push the store around. She constantly tried to change her schedule so she could get the hours she wanted, even though it made things hard for the store. This coworker’s name was ‘Stacy,’ and she had a history of doing this for over the past year.
Well, this year Stacy decided to tell the boss that she couldn’t open the store anymore. Plus, Stacy claimed she was only available from eight in the morning to three in the afternoon. Furthermore, she tried to blame other employees for work she didn’t complete. Last year, she decided to cause an issue with another employee and that employee turned her in for food stamp fraud.
To give you a little background, Stacy lived with her boyfriend, and he happened to work for a government contractor making over $20 an hour plus overtime. Her boyfriend went out of the way to buy her a brand-new car to go back and forth to work. In this regard, Stacy lied to Social Services by not telling them about how he lived in the same household. After the report was filed, Stacy and her boyfriend came into the store to buy groceries. However, she paid in cash which prompted me to ask her why she didn’t use her EBT card.
Stacy rolled her eyes and replied, ‘Somebody turned me in. My EBT card got shut off.’
She continued telling me about how to get her benefits back, she planned on moving out and reapplying for food stamps. Once she was approved, and got her benefits back, she would break her lease and move back in with her boyfriend.
Fast forward to this year, our store was having attendance and cooperation issues. As a result, there was a store meeting where corporate got involved and every store employee had to be present. During the meeting, corporate explained how all of the applications for the current employees had an agreement regarding open availability for any day and any shift.
To rectify the problems our store had, corporate decided all employees would get scheduled for different shifts, including opening and closing. Stacy decided she didn’t like this, and over the weekend, decided to send a message over social media stating how the schedule had better be changed.
Stacy threatened, ‘I REFUSE to work nights, and I will NOT be coming in for those shifts.’
The next day, I received a phone call from the store manager.
The manager explained, ‘Stacy called out today. We don’t have any other coverage, so I need you to come in.’
Keep in mind, I already had plans to go out to dinner for my birthday with my parents. While I didn’t mind overtime, I was not happy I had to cancel my reservations and blow off my family. As a result, I made a call to the Social Services building in my county and made a report detailing how Stacy was committing EBT fraud. Moreover, if they checked the address they had on file for Stacy, they would find out she was no longer living in the same place. The owner of the property would be able to verify how she broke her lease. It would be the second time Social Services would catch Stacy lying to them about her living situation.
Since Stacy lied in more than one instance, it was very likely she would be charged with welfare fraud. At least maybe she would be looking at more days off, even though it would be from a cell waiting to be arraigned.”
“Revenge Was Always Sweeter Playing The Long Game”
“I worked for a great company. The atmosphere was great, and most of my coworkers were awesome. I was a nice person and got along with almost anybody, except one coworker, ‘Mike.’ I never knew what it was about him, we just didn’t see eye to eye. I was mature about it and would still work with him regardless of any personal feelings. I was up for a promotion at work, and it was only between me and another guy. The other guy was really good friends with Mike. When I didn’t get the promotion, another friend told me about how Mike had personally gone to the hiring manager and bad-mouthed me, likely costing me the job.
I had to play the long game when plotting my revenge against Mike. Mike was an avid drinker, and he would brag about knowing how to drive home avoiding sobriety checkpoints and getting pulled over. One night, we had a staff party and of course, Mike got drunk. I stayed until he was leaving and called the cops, gave them his plate number, and where to find him. He got caught and lost his license. Since he lived out of town, he almost couldn’t get to work. Since he was leaving a work event, his manager got in hot water for letting it happen. Plus, Mike got scolded by his manager for it, too. I almost cost him his job, he got fined and lost his license. All for messing with my career.
Revenge was always sweeter playing the long game.”