People Get Vulnerable While Telling Their Revenge Stories
12. Block My Promotion? I'll Ruin Your Entire Life
“I (OP, then 35M) was working in a major wholesale company in Belgium. I was second in command at a large branch of this company. The branch manager (then 40M) was a complete jerk, let’s call him STALIN from now on. He also responds well to ANTICHRIST or SATAN, but let’s keep it at STALIN. Other characters in this story are my SIGNIFICANT OTHER (then 27F), STALIN’s wife CINDERELLA (then 30+F), the big boss of the entire company BIG BOSS (then 60+M), and one of the heads of a department at our branch (then 28F).
Let’s call her NAIVE GIRL.
I was working for this company for quite a while at this point in time. I always got along with my direct superiors and was now second in command, well on my way to becoming branch manager myself one day. But then – out of the blue – my old manager got promoted to headquarters and was replaced by a new manager: introducing… STALIN.
The guy was a few years older than me and introduced himself to the team as someone who gets things done and that we would grow into the most successful branch of the company under his wings. He also didn’t like the word ‘Can’t.’ He was ‘a winner’ and ‘only surrounds himself with other winners’. Rolls eyes. Everyone immediately knew we had a character on our hands.
From week one it was clear to everyone that STALIN didn’t know the first thing about the company and what we were selling, and he did not know anything about leading a team and working with people. He always knew everything better than others and had the annoying tendency to let other people do most of HIS work. So yeah… as second in command I suddenly had a lot on my plate.
I’m not gonna bore you guys with the details but my full-time job just became two full-time jobs because I had to do most of STALIN’s work too. As in ‘here you go!’ and never expect a ‘thank you’ or ‘good job’.
So STALIN was a terrible boss. Surely things couldn’t get any worse than this? Now, could they? Spoiler alert, but yes, yes they could. One day I was working and I got a telephone call.
The person on the other side of the line introduced himself as ‘an important manager of our biggest competitor’. For such an important manager his French was really bad, so I already figured something was fishy. And why would a competitor call me and introduce himself as being ‘an important person’. Turns out this ‘manager’ was offering me a job at their company if I was willing to share any company secrets of my current employer and maybe try and steal some customers away to the competitor’s company.
I didn’t buy into this absurd conversation, but I remained friendly and respectfully declined his ‘offer’.
One hour later I get called into STALIN’s office. He then confronted me with the phone call and told me he was ‘testing’ me to see if I was loyal to the company and him. He ended this baffling conversation with the words ‘and I will continue to test you from time to time in the future’.
WHAT??? The guy ‘prank called’ me himself, to test my loyalty?? While I was drowning in work because I had to do most of his work as well. And jerk over here was spending his newly acquired free time by doing stuff like this? Who does this? This is the stuff you see in bad comedies, not in real life.
Things got even worse in the weeks to come.
STALIN began to do less and less of his work. There were times when I came into his office to ask for some help, only to find him reading the newspaper or even playing online poker. He didn’t even try to hide it. After all, why should he? He was so superior, remember? When we didn’t hit our mark and the results were not as good as anticipated he would round everybody up and yell at us.
He was ‘expecting results from now on’ and he wouldn’t hesitate to ‘fire people if they didn’t have what it took’, all the while without doing anything himself. To make things worse he fired some people who were easily fired (new workers without a long-term contract) to ‘set an example’ and he didn’t replace them to lower the costs. So, now everybody was working 40+ hours on a 35-hour contract, just to keep the branch up and running.
Well, almost everybody… NAIVEGIRL, the head of a small, yet important department, stopped working at noon every single Friday. And STALIN himself sure didn’t do 40+ hours. Nah-ah.
Every Tuesday he was gone by 2 pm (his weekly Thai massage and relaxing spa), every Thursday he’d come in later and later. Turns out Wednesday evening was soccer training (he was the coach of a team in the lowest amateur division), so after training, he was busy drinking beer like there was no tomorrow! On top of this: every Friday afternoon he was gone as well.
He told us that he always went to headquarters in Brussels then. Meetings with the board and the BIGBOSS. I recognize nonsense when I see it. My former managers never had to do this. Also very mysterious, but he’s gone every Friday, just like NAIVE GIRL. You already know where I’m heading with this, but that’s for later. Some juicy stuff coming up.
STALIN also got a lot of pleasure from calling certain people into his office and yelling at them in person, threatening them with their job if they didn’t start working harder and more.
He especially seemed to target the youngest and newest employees and if possible the females. I don’t recall him ever treating more mature male coworkers like this. But we – as a team – made things work and we hit our target a few months in a row. It helped that a local competitor went out of business of course, but still: we did very well compared to the other branches in Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg.
So at the new year’s reception (a company tradition, all the major branch managers and second managers are there), STALIN got called on stage, where the BIG BOSS, the head of the entire company handed him over an award: manager of the year. Instead of thanking his employees, this sack of turds started thanking the BIG BOSS for the faith he had given him, thanked his pregnant wife, and then he started complimenting himself.
He was a good manager, with a nose for good business and he knows how to get the best out of people, blah blah blah. I nearly vomited. It was disgusting to watch. And then the applause he received… this was his moment and he wanted everybody to know. The next day the trophy he received (a cheap piece of metal) was on an especially designed piece of furniture in the middle of his office.
Honestly, STALIN reminded me a bit of Steve Carell of The Office at this point. But the evil version with an even bigger ego.
A few weeks later, I was working late (again) and by sheer luck, I glanced over at the security camera and I was in shock! I witnessed STALIN kissing one of our heads of a department (more or less a third person in command) on the parking lot.
NAIVE GIRL and STALIN?? She was a bit of an odd girl. A pretty girl, but I always had the feeling she didn’t really have all of her marbles in place. She actually went to the same high school and university as my SIGNIFICANT OTHER, so the two know each other without being friends. Small world (this will be important later). So NAIVE GIRL was going out with STALIN? I thought she was smarter than this.
And wait a minute?? Didn’t STALIN thank his wife during that terrible speech at new year?? His pregnant wife?! Oh what a jerk! He’s lying to his pregnant wife. Just when I thought this guy couldn’t get any worse?
Because I knew he was the worst of the worst. To show off his power to anyone (and especially me who he couldn’t control or threaten in a face-to-face conversation) he had this annoying habit of controlling everyone’s vacation days like a Roman emperor who’s controlling the faith of the fallen gladiators.
In his first year as a manager, I requested a vacation in October (somewhere in April) and he denied me that week, only to grant me the leave of absence two weeks before I was supposed to go on holiday. I was planning on going to Greece with my significant other and her family, but because I didn’t get my holiday approved in time my SIGNIFICANT OTHER’S family decided to postpone and go another time.
My SIGNIFICANT OTHER and her father didn’t apply for a vacation because of this. STALIN didn’t just screw me over, he screwed my in-laws and SIGNIFICANT OTHER over as well. He refused to give me that holiday, only to grant it to me afterward to show me he’s the boss. And it cost me my trip to Athens. He truly was a major jerk. The guy’s ego had gotten so large it deserved its own national flag by this point! I swear to God if it got any bigger astronauts would easily spot it from space, just like the Chinese Wall.
I… hated… that… jerk!
The next year came and because I witnessed him doing this to other employees (and myself) I figured I needed a plan. I proceeded in requesting to have my holiday approved and surprise surprise… STALIN denied me my vacation again. He claimed he needed me at work that month because of an inventory (which is done by other people, not myself). But this time I had a plan.
He needed me because I did my job and on top of that, I did most of HIS job as well. Everything he didn’t like about his job (basically everything with numbers, accountancy, paperwork, etc): I had to do it. He couldn’t afford to lose me. So I decided to try one of his own tricks on him. I called in and pretended I was the manager of another company, I told STALIN that I had received the resume of OP and was informed to know what kind of employee he is.
I can do different accents and voices, so this was a piece of cake for me. The plan was for STALIN to know that I was looking for another job and that he could lose me, forcing him to do HIS job HIMSELF. Scary thing, so the plan was for him to give me my days off, just to please me.
STALIN believed I was another manager because he put on his ‘important person’ voice and started to trash talk me as an employee.
I was unreliable, always late for work, sloppy, forgot things that were important, etc. You get the picture. It wasn’t pretty. In order to prevent me from getting another job, captain jerk over here decided to talk bad about me to potential new employers. What a jerk! What a horrible waste of oxygen this guy was!
But at least it gave him a scare because the next day my request for a holiday got magically approved.
He never confronted me with my applying for jobs elsewhere though. Mission accomplished: I got to plan that trip to Greece with my significant other and her family (they are Greek Belgians). I was finally going!
Fun fact but no, I wasn’t going. After I booked and paid for everything he came back on his word. One month before I was supposed to go on holiday he called me into his office and told me he had to go to an important business meeting in Prague (Czech Republic) and because one of us two had to be at work he had no choice but to cancel my holiday.
I was speechless for a moment but started thinking really quickly, so I demanded that he put this on paper because ‘my SIGNIFICANT OTHER would not be amused’. He laughed, agreed, and sent me an email confirming my holiday got canceled because he had to go to Prague. Little did he know I was building a case against him and I needed this on paper. The moron actually believed it was just to show my SIGNIFICANT OTHER I had no choice but to cancel our plans.
Now, if this were true, then yeah, I would understand. But I knew he was lying. I just knew it, but I couldn’t prove a thing. I had enough though. I really had enough. Working for this man was impossible and he was standing in my way. I had heard through the grapevine that he had blocked my internal promotions. See, I know a lot of people at headquarters and someone had told me how he branded me as ‘incompetent’ for seeking a better paid, higher-up job within the company.
He wanted me where I was at that moment: as a second in command who would do all of his work. This meant he was blocking my promotions AND was preventing me from getting a nice job elsewhere. I heard firsthand how he down-talked my abilities. Sure, I have flaws like everybody else, but I’m not the screw-up he painted me to be to potential employers.
I wanted, no, I NEEDED to find a new job, but mister STALIN over here was blocking every good opportunity. As long as he was in charge of the branch I was basically his serf. Bound to the company and bound to him as my lord. I needed a way out but didn’t know how to do it…
But then Lady Luck walked into the room…
The week I was supposed to go to Greece, STALIN went on his business trip.
Or so he told me. My SIGNIFICANT OTHER went to Athens with her family and saw something on social media. She called me and told me to open my WhatsApp. SIGNIFICANT OTHER had sent me some screenshots from her social media. Turns out NAIVE GIRL was posting pictures of her with STALIN… in Switzerland. He went skiing with her!! There was no business trip!! That absolute disgrace of a human being had canceled my holiday for the second year in a row, so he could fool his wife with a younger woman.
Oh, how I hated this dude. He did not expect my SIGNIFICANT OTHER and me to see these pictures though. Little did he know that SIGNIFICANT OTHER and NAIVE GIRL knew each other and were ‘social media friends’. No contact in real life whatsoever, so STALIN really had no idea.
It gave me the fuel I needed. I had proof he was fooling his wife. Not just that… you see… Now here’s where things got REALLY INTERESTING.
Only two weeks before this I was networking at a company after drinks and I started talking to the manager of another branch (a direct equal to STALIN). I already had a few drinks, so I was a bit loose and therefore did little to hide the fact that I disliked STALIN and what do you know.. that other manager didn’t like STALIN either. Turned out STALIN only got his job because his wife is the daughter of the owner (BIG BOSS).
This explained everything! The guy was so unqualified for the job. He only got the job because daddy-in-law threw him a bone. So not only was he fooling his wife. He.. was… lying… to the big boss’s pregnant daughter! Oh, snap! Can I get a hallelujah?? The universe was smiling upon me at last!
And now I had proof! Pictures of him kissing another woman. Time to set things in motion…
So my significant other was in Athens without me and STALIN was in Switzerland getting it on.
I was stuck at work and things were difficult because we were understaffed. I decided to send an email to all branch managers (plus the big boss who never responds) asking for extra help and that I couldn’t ask my manager because he is on a business trip and asked not to be disturbed.
I knew he told the big boss he was on a holiday because he had to hand in a request to get that holiday.
So him being on a business trip made no sense and I knew that. I wanted BIGBOSS to know that STALIN told us a lie. I didn’t have a direct line to the BIG BOSS. Heck, I only talked to the guy 2-3 times during my time at the company. So I needed to draw his attention in a sneaky way. This email caught his attention all right…
The big boss immediately replied to me, telling me STALIN is on a holiday and that he will inform him that the request for backup was granted.
I made subtle contact with the BIG BOSS. Now I had an email conversation going.
me: no he told us he’s on a business trip, that’s why he canceled my holiday.
BIG BOSS: he’s visiting an old school friend in Switzerland. I will get you some extra workforce myself.
me: Here’s the email in which he canceled my holiday (I forward BIG BOSS the e-mail STALIN sent me at my request).
He clearly wrote he had to go on a business trip.
BIG BOSS: I will talk to him about this. That’s odd. Maybe he wasn’t paying attention. I will call him this afternoon and sort this out. Thank you and keep up the good work.
The day after STALIN calls me from Switzerland. BIG BOSS did call him and this took STALIN by surprise. And STALIN doesn’t like surprises.
Little did he know this was just the beginning… I was prepared and decided to record the phone call.
He went berserk on the phone, a little paraphrasing: You are nothing. I can squash you like a fly. If I decide to take your holiday, there’s nothing you can do about it. You gonna sit there like a little girl and take it all like the witch that you are (yes, he was very female-friendly).
The BIG BOSS doesn’t need to know I told you I was on a business trip. I don’t owe anyone an explanation. You leave that senile old fart out of this, you hear me?
At that moment a light shined down on me from the heavens. I got him! It was just one sentence but it was pure gold. Senile old fart… I bet rich daddy-in-law will have a field day with this one.
I wanted more proof. I was like Sherlock or Colombo at this point. If he was having an affair, maybe those pictures wouldn’t do. He could claim those were old pictures or something. I dunno. Didn’t wanna take the chance he’d talk his way out of it. So I needed more proof. Where was he going every Friday afternoon? Surely he was meeting NAIVE GIRL somewhere.
I needed to know where. Then a lightbulb started glowing above my head. His emails! He once gave me his password to the company email address, so I could access his work emails. Because this way I could do more of his work, you know? His password was the name of his favorite Belgian soccer team (Anderlecht). It’s actually the biggest rival of my team!!! You can’t make this stuff up.
The guy was my antagonist in everything he touched. Would this password work on his personal email address as well? Surely he can’t be that big of an idiot?
But he was of course. Mister idiot had the exact same password for everything. I found out he was on a mingling site! I found out he was emailing with a chick from the Philippines (he must have met her there) and I found ALL the emails he sent with NAIVE GIRL.
Apparently, it started way in the beginning, so they’d been seeing each other even before he got his CINDERELLA pregnant.
As the Mission Impossible tune started playing I began to unfold my plan.
STALIN was now back from his little trip and acted as if nothing happened. I could still access his email, so I checked every few days or so. On Wednesday I struck gold again. He received an email confirmation of a visit to the spa wellness for two people at 3 pm and a confirmation of a visit to a certain restaurant at 6 pm, also for two people.
Both were for Friday. Hm. I wonder who he was going with? Checkmate, idiot! Gotcha again. The timing was right for the next and final phase of my execution plan.
I had printed out the pictures from NAIVE GIRL’s social media. STALIN kissing NAIVE GIRL, them skiing, them having drinks together, and STALIN in front of the Swiss Flag in front of a cabin. Classic stuff. He was such a grateful model! I had put these pictures in an envelope and put a little note in it.
It said something along the lines of:
‘Hey, we don’t know each other but I felt you needed to see this and know that your husband is having an affair. He did not go to Switzerland to visit some old school friends. No, he went there with this chick. Her name is NAIVE GIRL. This is her address, this is her email and this is her social media and phone number.
She isn’t a bad person. I don’t even know if she knows he is married and has a kid. He told his boss he was in Switzerland to visit an old friend and told his co-workers he was on a business trip in Prague. Both are lies. He is having an affair with a girl from his work.
I have hacked your husband’s e-mail and found some interesting stuff.
You can read it for yourself, his password is ‘Anderlecht’. Please, take your time in reading these emails and check the last mails he received. They’re meeting up at (name of the restaurant) at 6 pm today, before this they are going to the spa resort at 3 pm. I am sorry to throw this in your face. I know it’s a lot, but you deserve better than this idiot.
I had some reservations as to including this poor girl (CINDERELLA) in my revenge. I was about to destroy her world too and she didn’t deserve this. But my SIGNIFICANT OTHER convinced me. She said: ‘If it were you and you were lying to my pregnant face, I’d wanna know sooner rather than later. She needs to know OP!’
That particular Friday I called work to say I’d be a little late that day because I had car problems (the first time I was late in years).
Instead, I drove to STALIN’s and CINDERELLA’s place, dropped the envelope in their front door mailbox, and rang the doorbell, after which I quickly went away. I knew CINDERELLA was home alone (her car was in the driveway and she was still home with a newborn). STALIN was at work.
I then went to work where I sent an email to the BIG BOSS. I told the BIG BOSS that STALIN was skipping work a lot and that it was too much for my team and myself to keep dealing with this.
I told the BIGBOSS that I was going to resign because of this. I ended the email with the following…
‘And I included a voice recording you’d find very interesting to hear for yourself. It’s STALIN calling me, right after you called him in Switzerland.’
It only took like 15 minutes and my phone rang. It was BIG BOSS himself. Call me on my company phone. Even better than I hoped for! BIG BOSS told me he was amazed by how STALIN talked to me and about him and thanked me for sending this to him.
He told me he would talk to STALIN about this and asked me to wait for my resignation for the time being. He would straighten things out.
Me: He’ll just deny everything and as soon as you end the phone conversation with him he’ll project his anger on me.
BIG BOSS: No no, I’m visiting my daughter and grandson this afternoon and I’ll swing by at work before that.
It’s not that far apart.
ding ding ding… did he just say he was visiting his daughter? The daughter I just nuked to smithereens with the news of her husband lying to her?? The same husband BIG BOSS wants to talk with before visiting his daughter?
Maybe I should play the national lottery this afternoon because everything felt like it was going my way! I decided to keep my mouth shut about the affair (well duh), but also about him being absent this afternoon.
I was originally planning on complaining to the BIG BOSS that STALIN was never in on a Friday afternoon, luring the BIG BOSS to that restaurant at 6 pm, but this was even better!!! No, let the BIG BOSS come in and see for himself that STALIN just wasn’t there!
12 pm: NAIVE GIRL said bye-bye to everyone and off she went.
12:15 pm: STALIN shut down his computer and left the office as well (without saying goodbye, of course, emperors don’t talk to the peasants and plebs)
4 pm: the BIG BOSS entered the building.
It was showtime! BIG BOSS was clearly and visibly upset with something. Could it be his daughter showed him some naughty, naughty pictures already?? Did he visit her first?? He asked me where STALIN was and I swear to god… Leonardo Di Caprio should hand me over his oscar immediately… I acted all surprised and said: oh? You were coming here to talk to STALIN? I must have misunderstood on the phone.
Why didn’t you talk to him in Brussels? At headquarters? He’s there every Friday, no?
The BIG BOSS looked surprised (I deserve that Oscar, I really, really do) and went like: ‘What do you mean?’
me: He always leaves at noon, every Friday, because he’s meeting you every week in Brussels. Or at least, that’s what he told us.
I could see the dominoes inside BIG BOSS’s head start falling as BIG BOSS’s face went blank.
He took his phone and called someone. He took a few steps back, but I overheard some parts of the conversation. I think he was calling his daughter because he said: ‘No, he’s not here. Apparently, he went somewhere.’ I can only imagine his daughter telling him about the emails and the information I gave her about the restaurant and spa resort. Looked like she hadn’t told him that part yet.
BIG BOSS: ‘Oh really? I know that place. ok. ok. I’ll come over.’
BIG BOSS then thanked me and said he’d take care of this and ended it with his classical ‘Keep up the good work’ as he left the room.
I was full of questions that entire weekend. What had happened?? All I know is that when I came in at work that Monday morning, STALIN was nowhere to be seen.
Instead, there was some guy from headquarters telling us STALIN won’t be in that week and that he’d be replacing him temporarily. STALIN never came back though, and after a month or so they appointed a new manager.
Years later, I was working in Brussels at headquarters (I got that promotion! Ha!) and I befriended a member of the board. During a business meal, we started talking, and when I mentioned I used to be second in command under STALIN, the guy started laughing.
‘That guy?’ he said ‘Man, let me tell you a story.’
The board member then filled in all the blanks I had for all of these years, not knowing I was the one who talked STALIN into the gallows of course. Apparently, STALIN really did get the manager job because of his relationship with the BIG BOSS (being son-in-law). He was the golden kid and BIG BOSS had big plans for STALIN.
He was supposed to take over the company when BIG BOSS retired. But it turned out he was two-timing BIG BOSS’s daughter with a few women and was also stealing time from the company by not being at work when he was supposed to be there. All stuff I already knew of course, but hey… I was still an A-list Hollywood actor so I acted all surprised and stuff.
Apparently, BIGBOSS and his daughter CINDERELLA walked in on him when he was in a restaurant with one of his mistresses. Oh, how I wanted to be a fly on the wall when that went down. I’d give anything to see this whole event unfold before my eyes.
He then told me CINDERELLA divorced him, threw him out of the house and BIGBOSS didn’t fire him (they were afraid of legal implications) but instead demoted him to a meaningless position in the southern part of Belgium where people speak french.
STALIN did not speak french. He only spoke West-Flemish which is like the hardest Dutch dialect known to man, so most native Dutch speakers (especially those from the Netherlands) didn’t understand him either. Seriously, love people from West-Flanders but they speak a different language than other mortals out there. Klingon is easier to understand. Needless to say.. STALIN was lost over there! He did not fit in, had no friends, no connections, no more power, and on top of it all: he did not understand the language! He quit the company after a few months and was now working in a low-wage job.
As for NAIVE GIRL. She walked away unharmed. We never talked about it though. She met someone else and even married the dude a year later. SIGNIFICANT OTHER and I were invited to the wedding.
BIG BOSS retired a few years later and sold the company to a foreigner. He didn’t have anyone to succeed him but the millions he received did miracles to soften that. His daughter apparently went back to the guy she was seeing before STALIN.
They were still a couple the last time I heard.
I do not feel bad for STALIN. Not one bit! I’m not the kind of person who enjoys other people’s misery, nor am I a sociopath, but this guy… this guy really boiled my kidneys if you know what I mean. I never met such a narcissistic, self-centered jerk in my entire life and he wanted to destroy my life and the lives of many other people. As far as I’m concerned, I stopped him before he could do any more damage and saved my own career in the process. His wife is better off without him, the company is better off without him, my colleagues are better off without him and I am better off without him.”
11. Expect A Woman To Iron Your Shirt? Okay, But I Can't Promise I'll Do It Well
“My father-in-law had traveled down to attend my and my fiancé’s engagement party, he was getting ready and staying at my house.
I had my hair half curled and my makeup half done, with not much time left. I was visibly rushing. He handed me his shirt and said ‘iron this for me.’ Apparently, my being a woman gave me the necessary qualifications for being the Chief Ironer.
I took it off him with a smile and ironed the vinyl (I think?) print on the highest setting and ruined his shirt. Melted the logo and got scorch marks on the shirt. Oops. ‘Sorry FIL, I don’t know why you thought I’d be good at ironing but I’m terrible at it! I tried my best though.’
He had to wear an ill-fitting replacement from my fiancé, he ironed that one himself.
For some background: My FIL is a terrible, misogynistic man who was terrible to my MIL until she fled with her then-young children to a women’s refuge center. There is absolutely no question that he was demanding I iron his shirt because I am a woman and ‘that is what women do.’ No, I didn’t feel like politely declining. No, it’s not my responsibility to teach him how to be less misogynistic.”
10. Think You Have Me Fooled? You'll Fall Right Into My Trap
“So, I am a cancer researcher and a guest professor at a university’s school of medicine, teaching my specialty: Imaging. Besides the usual acquisitions of medical images using MRI, CT, etc., Imaging has a lot to do with image processing. Some days I am just a glorified programmer/IT guy. And as anyone who has ever programmed anything will tell you, coding is a very personal activity.
With enough experience, you can tell who wrote what just by looking at the lines.
I am also in my late 20s and I am not native to this country and it’s my first year as a guest professor. So, some students look at me as this inexperienced, gullible, foreign guy.
As part of my module’s grading, the students have to submit 2 reports that weigh 10% each of their final grade.
These reports are about image processing and they have to code a fair bit.
As usual, there are students that make an effort, some do minimal work and then some copy. As I was grading the reports I notice a small group of students who found reports from previous years online and literally copy and pasted those reports, changing only their names. It was a facepalm moment, because those reports were not even good, and had a lot of errors.
(You see, in order to establish a baseline for my grading, I browsed previous years’ reports so I knew what to expect from the students of this module). Naturally, I graded them all with 0 and kept working my way through grading the reports I had left.
Meanwhile, the students ‘casually’ asked me in the halls how were the reports. Of course, I can’t comment on that until I release the grades.
One time, this dude, who has copied from another report (98% match on plagiarism checker), asks me when I will release the grades and comes with this story that he worked really hard on his reports. That his exam hasn’t gone so well and he is hoping that the grade on his reports is enough to get a pass.
I mean, submitting another person’s work as your own is very wrong, but it was an online submission and impersonal.
Right now he was just lying through his teeth and to my FACE. I could feel my blood boiling, but I didn’t lose my composure and decided to come up with a plan:
I knew that my exam was the last exam of the semester and that after that the students usually go home or on family vacations while they wait for their grades to be posted online.
So I graded the exams and input their grades into my excel with their report grades. 4 students had zero due to copying on their reports and if I graded their reports with 50% of the max grade they would BARELY FAIL the module. But they would fail nonetheless. So, it was on!
(In order to be fair I bumped everyone else’s grades, a bunch of people with miserable reports ended up barely passing because of my grade bump.
But, even though their reports were bad, it was their own work and not copied from anywhere).
You see, students are entitled to make an appointment to review their grades after publishing and before the grades are locked for the year. Basically, they sit with me, we go through their exam and reports and their goal is to convince me to ‘give’ them extra points in hopes that they pass the module.
I knew the copiers would come. After all, they think they fooled me once already, and they still have half the report’s points to bargain for. So I just waited for their emails.
Lo and behold, they write me the same day the grades go online, saying how hard they have worked on their reports and that they don’t understand how they only got 50%. And that they wanted an appointment.
I was ecstatic! Sure, let’s review your grades!
Do you remember that my exam was the last one? Well, they were already on vacation… some very far away… and begged me for an online appointment. No can do… university policy. Moreover, you have 3 days to show up for your appointment, otherwise, the grades are locked, also university policy.
So here they come, cutting their vacations short and catching planes, some spent hours in buses and trains to make it on time.
I know what many of you are thinking: they come, I show them the plagiarism checker results and reveal that I know that is not their work and send them on their way… well, I considered it but I had something better in mind. Those appointments usually take 10 min, I show them their work with my notes on what’s wrong or right and they try to find some inconsistencies in my grading and bargain for more points.
I am not giving you the opportunity. Ha, ha!
So, one by one they sit with me individually. And I go through their exam and reports…remember that they copied the reports? And copied bad ones, with a lot of errors… I ask questions, lots of them: ‘Why did you do this?’, ‘What is your reasoning for this?’
They don’t know… it’s not their work… they mumble random stuff because they don’t know what to answer.
Point by point, mistake by mistake, I explain why it was wrong, how it should be done, lecturing the same material that they had already been lectured on during class… I make it long, I make it boring… I make it painful. I spent hours with each one of them throughout those 3 days. They always came with the same, ‘I worked so hard on this,’ and a little smirk on their face because they thought that it should be really easy to fool me, the gullible foreign again…
as the hours go by and I am walking through the errors one by one I could see their expression change… little by little, their hopes of passing being slowly crushed… and when they realized that I KNEW they copied and I wasn’t going to give up any extra points. At this point, they tried to cut short their appointment and leave but I wouldn’t let them.
‘We need to finish the review of your grades, it’s university policy,’ and I just kept going, extending their misery for one more hour or two… it was legal torture, plain and simple!
IT WAS GLORIOUS!
In the end, every single one of them left with a ‘crushed soul’ look in their eyes and a FAIL in my class… they knew that I caught them, that I baited them and they fell for it… they ruined their vacation and their family vacations, spent money to travel back and forth, wasted precious summertime, got bored to death and have nothing to show for it. And… next year they will have to repeat the module… WITH ME!
‘I hope you enjoy your summer! See you next year!'”
9. Need Me To Copy You On Every Email? If You Say So
“Part of my job involves managing a ton of scholarships – this includes setting up applications, coordinating faculty committees to score/interview people, coordinating with administrators to make sure funds are distributed, setting up interview slots, resending requests for letters of recommendation, fixing mistakes on applications – there are a ton of steps and a ton of emails that fly back and forth.
Nobody trained me on how to do this; I was thrown into the role and told to figure it out based on any documentation I could find.
Pretty soon I start getting nastygrams from my colleague ‘Ann’ in another department (not accounting). ‘I didn’t know about this update,’ she would complain. ‘Why was this student’s scholarship changed?’ ‘Nobody told me about this,’ ‘Why didn’t you tell me that so-and-so left?’ ‘You didn’t copy me.’ It’s hard to describe, but there’s just a nasty, mean tone to everything she says. Ann had zero sympathy for the fact that I was new in this role and I received no training.
‘I shouldn’t have to explain to you how to do your job,’ she said. And it’s true – she wasn’t my boss. But apparently, she was affected by what I did, so I would think that she’d be motivated to, you know, be nice and explain what she wanted.
She was just so cranky and mean all the time, it got to the point where I didn’t ever want to talk to her because I knew I could do nothing right and every time I emailed her she would attack me.
Eventually, Ann lost her mind and demanded that I copy her on EVERY email related to the scholarships.
Cue malicious compliance.
- Email to student to schedule interview? Copy Ann.
- ‘Thanks for sending me that update, student’? Copy Ann.
- Question from student about eligibility? Copy Ann.
- Question from faculty about scoring? Copy Ann.
- Question from an administrator? Copy Ann.
- Email blast to students announcing a new scholarship? BCC students; CC Ann.
- Every mundane inquiry, every routine question, every error correction? Copy Ann.
I made it my mission in life to overwhelm her inbox.
I wanted to fight her nastiness with spam. I couldn’t tell her to go screw off, but I could honor her request to be copied on everything.
After a few months, she called me. She started crying. ‘It feels like you’re being mean to me,’ she whined. ‘What? Did I misunderstand when you said you wanted to be copied on all emails related to scholarships?’ ‘You knew what I meant!’ she sobbed.
‘You deliberately misunderstood me!’ she cried.
‘How am I supposed to know when to copy you and when not to?’ I asked. ‘You said to copy you on everything.’ And now the truth comes out: it turns out that in addition to her regular duties in her own department, about 1% of Ann’s job is to check, on a monthly basis, that the amounts of the scholarships being given out match the amounts we’re expecting to see given out.
Which is a perfectly reasonable business practice. But here’s the rub: until she told me that that was part of her job, I had no idea it was her job. And because she’s such a jerk, it never occurred to her to let me know why she wanted to be in the loop. Further, it turned out that in our horrendously disorganized shared drive, one of the hundreds of random files was a file named ‘Scholarships,’ which was a spreadsheet she used on a monthly basis to track amounts allocated against amounts actually charged.
But did she think to mention that to me? No. Because it’s not her job to explain things to me.
So: now that I actually understand what she wants, I can provide it to her. Heck, I can even edit her moronically-named spreadsheet and keep it updated. I can actively make her job easier, now that I know what she does. Moral of the story: you can’t treat your colleagues like trash and expect them to read your mind. Moral II: Tell people what you want, and if you’re not getting it, consider explaining why you want it.”
8. Neighbors Spying On Us? They Won't Be For Long
“This is a story from my childhood. My best friend had some really weird neighbors, they were constantly walking through the woods on the edge of their 20-acre property to spy on what all their neighbors were doing. The edge of their property that was by my friend’s house was a good 3-minute walk from their house, but they would routinely go out of their way to walk over at near dark hours to make sure nothing had changed on my friend’s property during the day.
There was a small chicken wire fence that separated the property so the dogs couldn’t wander off but it provided no visibility blockage at all. One day I was playing in the yard with my friend after dinner and we heard some snapping branches in the woods. We hid behind a tree in my friend’s yard and watched to see what kind of critter was making the noise (we have bobcats, coyotes, bears, and deer) just to eventually see both of her neighbors come out of a large bush they had been hiding in.
They had to have been there the whole time we were out there because we would have heard them come out and enter the bush. So they were squatting in there watching us for nearly an hour.
We ran in and told my friend’s dad about it. He was obviously livid, and the next day all the dads from our school in the grade we were in came out and put a tall fence up along the whole property line.
However, instead of building it upright against the existing chicken wire, which was technically on my friend’s property, they left a 3-foot gap between the two fences.
In this gap, they dumped a bunch of blackberry vines that they had cut back from elsewhere on the property. Now if you’ve ever dealt with blackberry bushes, you know they grow fast, tall, and entwine themselves in everything in their path.
Not to mention they are prickly as heck and a pain in the rear to get rid of. So in a couple of years, these blackberry bushes were as tall as the fence and created a prickly barrier that was constantly trying to take hold in the spying neighbors’ yard.
The neighbors complained many times and even offered to remove the bushes themselves, but since the bushes weren’t on their property they couldn’t do anything about them. My friend’s dad expressly forbade any damage to the bushes that were on his property. So for the last 20 years, these neighbors have been battling to keep the bushes off of their property every spring, and are still paying the price of being jerks to children.”
7. Changed Your Mind About Keeping Your Stuff? Good Luck Getting Them Back Now
“So this happened several years back, say about 1997. My then-husband John (not his real name) and I had been married almost 5 years. I was finishing my last semester of college as well as working full time so I was gone a good bit. I thought as soon as these last classes were finished, we’d have so much time together to get started on our happily ever after.
A couple of months after graduation, I learned the lying jerk hadn’t been as lonely at home as I had thought. Not only that but his ‘mistress’ was pregnant.
So, I threw him out and called in a divorce attorney! John proposed that I could have ‘all the contents’ if he could keep the house. We’d only lived there less than a year so the stuff in the house was worth more than our equity so of course, I’ll go for that.
So, we had the paperwork drawn up and filed. (In our state, a hearing date is set 30 days after the filing for the judge to review everything, hear any testimony if needed and basically finalize everything.)
The day after the papers were filed, I came home to a message from John on my answering machine, saying that X was his before we got married and he thinks he should be allowed to keep it.
I called, left a message that ‘the contents’ idea was his and since he knew X was in the house when he proposed the idea, it was mine. I responded to him the one time but over the next couple of weeks, I’d come home to 2-3 messages per day about different things—an answering machine/phone that he’d gotten at some conference, some collector’s items (he had quite a large collection of sports memorabilia), his HS yearbooks, a huge rag doll his aunt made him (yeah, a 31-year-old man with a rag doll), I don’t remember what else but he kept thinking of more and more stuff to call about.
Now obviously I had no use for his dolls or baseball cards or most of the stuff he’d mentioned, but I was flat out angry about the lying, two-timing, pregnancy situation, plus he was getting all over my nerves with his daily calls. Anyway, I packed up all the stuff I wanted—including his prized phone—and I packed all the stuff I didn’t want separately. My dad and brother came down with a moving van to help me get my stuff.
The boxes of stuff I’d left for him were in the corner of the dining room.
A few days after that was our court hearing. The judge read over our forms and asked if either of us wanted to say anything. John went on this tangent about all the things in the house that were his and I didn’t have any right to, blah, blah, blah. The judge listened for a minute but then interrupted to ask if all those items had been in the house when John signed the papers.
John said yes. Judge asked if John wanted to withdraw his divorce filing and renegotiate. John said no. Judge asked if I had the aforementioned items and would I be willing to let John keep them. I said sure, that had been my intention all along and the stuff was in boxes in the corner of the dining room. Judge said divorce was finalized as per agreement.
After all that, I was angry, hurt, betrayed, tired, disgusted, and just wanted to hurt him back. So my best friend, Jane, who’d come to court with me, and I went back down to the house, and moved all his boxes up to the attic crawl space. The only way up there was one of those ladders that fold up into the ceiling. It was at one end of the house, maybe 1/4 of the way from the end wall.
We dragged those boxes up the ladder and all the way over the ceiling joists and insulation to the far end of the house. The only light up there was one bulb above the ladder so the boxes couldn’t be seen without a flashlight.
A couple of days later, when he took possession of the house, he called and asked where his stuff was. I said it was right there in the corner the last time I saw it.
He said it’s not there now. I said I didn’t know then. It was there when I left. Maybe somebody noticed nobody had been there for a couple of weeks and broke in. I told him to call my dad and Jane if he didn’t believe me. He did. My dad confirmed they’d been in the corner of the dining room when we left with the last of my stuff.
Jane confirmed they were ‘in the corner.’
About 5-6 years later, I ran into one of his cousins, Joe, who told me that John had married and later divorced his baby mama and that he was now living in another state. I asked if he’d ever found his ball cards and stuff. Joe said not as far as he knew but John had been mad about it for years.
John just KNEW I had them but couldn’t prove anything.
I told Joe to tell John to see if he could get back into that house and check the attic. It turns out he’d sold it to another cousin so he was able to get in. And then, OH MY GOD! My phone blew up like dynamite! John called but I hung up on him as soon as I realized who it was.
He called back and called me every name in the book on my voicemail. I think he even made up a few. His mother called and blessed me out. His sister called. It was hilarious. It had taken several years but it was worth it. He kept saying I lied in court and Jane lied and my dad lied for me on the phone. I told him that nobody lied.
The last time my dad was there and the day we were in court, the stuff was in the dining room but he’d ticked me off so much that day, Jane and I went and moved them. After that, we were very careful to only say ‘in the corner’ so technically nobody lied.
He. Was. LIVID!
I still sometimes laugh about it until I literally can’t breathe. That lying jerk had it coming though!”
6. Try To Stiff Me? You'll Get A Mechanic's Lien
“I was starting my side business doing IT work for businesses and had some successful jobs for a few companies. I found word of mouth was the best way to gain new clients because entrepreneurs tend to network with other business owners. Tony was one such client who had heard I had done some work for a client and called to see if I could help.
His company’s needs were to stop using a semi-accounting service that they had been paying a percentage of their profit to process payments, purchase orders, and billings/receivables. He brought in an accountant to work on a new product (pretty well known). They wanted a server to be accessed remotely, and had already paid their ISP for a static IP for the server but needed the actual server, redundancy UPS, and firewall device.
I explained that for the product they had we could probably set up a workstation and not a server and it would run approximately $3500 total and would be easy but no the owner wanted a full-blown server system with all the bells and whistles. He explained that he would likely be using the server for a CRM and a few other systems later on.
Overall the entire cost for the system would be $8000 not including a few other services that needed annual billing (VPN/Remote service).
The equipment cost was $7500, my labor charge was $500. UPS was $1500, Server was $3800, and ‘refurbed’ firewall (CISCO ASA) with programming by a 3rd party specialist was $1800, and a spare rack was $400. I got my contract signed, put an order with my distributor (I have net 45 setups with them) and the firewall specialist, and got to work 1.5 weeks later when the firewall came in last.
I finished the job on a single weekend, and got everything up and going after a call to the ISP who did not like the firewall appliance I installed. For some reason, they had to tweak things on their end and finally allowed the traffic to go through once more. I confirmed the function with the owner who verbally approved and was happy.
I sent my invoice promptly on Monday.
Left it as in, they had 1 week to pay. When I saw no reply, or payment after 4 days I messaged Tony and asked if they had received my invoice. To my surprise, he replied the server was not working and proceeded to call me and tell me that the whole thing was a total waste and I should have never done the job. I of course apologized and informed him I would be on the way to fix whatever the problem was.
When I got there, they refused to let me in to see the server claiming they had someone coming over to fix my mishaps. At that point, I informed them they still needed to pay for the equipment, and we could maybe discuss my labor after I figure out what’s going on. Tony refused to let me in and was pretty upset.
At this time I was pretty upset.
2.5 weeks had passed since I ordered my equipment and my distributor was needing to get paid within 45 days. I was getting very nervous and was thinking of taking it to small claims court until talking with a friend. He informed me I could pull a mechanics lien. I informed him this was for IT, and he stated that mechanics lien where I live can be pulled on various industries and IT was one of them.
So I started the process to fill out and file a mechanics lien on Tony’s company. Much to my surprise, there was no court date. All I needed to do was provide considerable proof to clerks, and later to the constable.
After filling out the mechanic’s lien and serving him notice, I once again allowed him to pay the $8000 owed. By this time I had spoken with my distributor and he switched my account from Net 45 to Net 90.
He refused via phone call and got him on text. I took the information I had and went to the local constables who after seeing the mechanic’s lien and proof set up an appointment to meet me at the place of business to take back my server, ups, and firewall. I went in on Tuesday which I had learned was the day the accountant came in to start the week00.
Constable and I arrived at 7:30, right on opening time. At first, they refused entry until Tony came by and was informed I was enforcing my mechanics lien and would be taking back my equipment. He immediately got riled up and claimed I could not take the equipment because a new person had replaced it all.
The constable asked if I had serial numbers and models for the equipment which I did.
We go in and find my server, UPS, and firewall all in the same way I left it. The server showed it had been online for the entire time, no real changes were noticed, and as far as I could tell no one had worked on it. Tony began to chuckle when I shut the server down and said, ‘how are you going to take the system when it’s BOLTED TO THE GROUND?! Bet you didn’t think about that did you, you idiot!’ He did not realize that rack-mounted equipment is not permanently attached to the mount.
I guess he thought he had me beat because it was all one system that you cannot take apart and not something that was put together. His jaw dropped the moment I removed the server and loaded it onto the cart after removing a couple of bolts. He started panicking and started telling the constable that he would sue him if he didn’t stop me, the constable simply stayed calm and ignored the owner.
I guess after a bit he informed Tony that he needed to get out of his face and step back but when Tony refused to back down the constable undid his holster’s safety harness and put his hand on his firearm. Tony’s face was exquisite. Full of fear, and eventually a dawning sensation that this was going to happen one way or another. At first, I did not understand why he was so riled up and now had a panicked face like his world just collapsed until a bit later.
I wrapped up my server/ups/firewall and left the rack. True to Tony’s word undoing the bolts proved difficult to impossible with the tools I had, so I told Tony he could keep IT for the new server he tries to set up.
It didn’t take more than 2 hours before I got a call from him stating that he had talked to his attorney and he would be suing me for damages and I would be going to jail for trespassing.
I informed him he did not pay for the equipment, his equipment was repoed thus there was nothing to sue for. As far as trespassing, I was servicing a mechanics lien with a law enforcement officer thus it is not trespassing. He then starts hemming and hawing about how he needs to bill clients because he hasn’t had revenue in a week but his accountant can’t do anything because she has no access to the accounting software and they have no copies.
I informed him it was not my problem, I would NOT be giving access to the server or data contained and he should have paid for the equipment instead of trying to screw me over for $8,000. He then offered to pay me if I could install the server back the same day, but that ONLY if I did it that same day otherwise he’d find someone else.
I informed him that our original contract was null and void. I would be returning the equipment to my distributor but first I had to wipe the storage by DOD standards, which means 0% chance of recovering files unless he somehow had NSA-level funds. He starts freaking out and resorts back to what he usually did: threaten me with a lawsuit, make my life miserable, etc.
So I hang up and text him I am going to proceed to delete his data that evening and that I was NO longer interested in working with him.
He called me at least 50 times, I just silenced my phone and talked to my friend later that night, the friend who had given me the advice. He then tells me why I was returning the equipment if I had the ONLY copy that has EVERYTHING from client names, contacts, phone numbers, billings, receivables, etc.
He asked me how much revenue did the company generate, I informed him I was taking a wild guess but it was somewhere in the ballpark of $58,678.21 for the last month. He laughs and tells me, why don’t you charge them double the price to get his equipment back, and have him pay you before you start? He was right, I was taking my petty revenge and walking out with $1800 in a firewall I had to pay in advance, and a $500 unpaid labor charge.
Why not take it a step further to get sweeter revenge and get paid a ton.
The following day I messaged Tony, I apologize for the way I behaved yesterday, it was not professional. Unfortunately, your trash attitude and attempts to screw me over got the better of me. The server has not been wiped yet. I would like to reconsider a new arrangement so we can salvage this sour experience and turn it into sweet honey.
Are you interested in working with me to get your equipment back, I must warn you it will be extra since I would be doing double the work. Let me know.
Tony immediately called me and immediately his jerk ways came up. ‘I knew you would change your mind and come crawling back, yes I want everything back but I am only paying $8050 and not a dime more.
The $50 is me being generous to give you a 2nd chance to do things right.’
I immediately informed him that I still have all the equipment, and it would only take maybe 20 minutes to complete the job however I had a different idea in terms of the price. The new price was $15000 to be paid in full. He immediately starts yelling and hollering. I keep talking and inform him he has 2 weeks to decide if being able to get paid by his clients was worth it if not the equipment was going back and that would be that.
No hard feelings. I hang up.
About 2 days later I get a call from Tony informing me he agreed to a new arrangement to please set it up and install it asap. I tell him I can go Friday but I would need to be paid $15,000 before I even unload a single bolt from my vehicle. He agreed. I could hear a lady talking tell him he needs to get this resolved because they had not had revenue in nearly 2 weeks.
This was on Wednesday. On Thursday I get a call from his daughter, who is the accountant, and the lady who was telling him to resolve it! She is cutting a check and needs to know my name. I inform her I would not be accepting checks, and I had told Tony specifically it would be in full. She says ok and tells me if the amount of $12,000 was correct.
I once again correct her and inform her the correct amount was $15,000. She said in satire ‘Of course, it’s $15,000, I will go make the withdrawal and have it ready tomorrow.’
Sure enough Friday morning true to her words she and Tony were there with $15,000. I counted it in front of her and Tony. She makes a comment saying that I was a lifesaver because they could not go back to the service they used before to get paid, and they urgently needed to get some PO’s sent out.
I placed it in my vehicle, locked the glovebox, and unloaded the equipment. True to my word it took me 20 minutes to place the server, firewall, and UPS inside the rack mount. Connect the cables. Power on the server and ask them to test it out when they get a chance. If anything was wrong, do not contact me and have a good day. (I had tested it out already before I left their ‘server’ room, despite my pettiness at times I am still a professional).”
5. You Think I'm Not A Good Fit? You Won't Be A Good Fit For Me Either
“In my young 20s, I moved to a new city to try to start my career and life. Money was VERY tight but I was confident I would get things up and running.
In my job search, I came across a promising opportunity at a small firm (The Firm). Instead of offering me the job, the owner (The Owner) said he would like me to come in for two days and work.
If it was a fit they would hire me and if not they would pay for the two days.
Money was so tight at the time that, I figured taking the bus to and from the job was a luxury I could not afford, and walked an hour each way to get there. Money was very tight!
I did good work on both days and worked very hard, but it was not a fit.
The Owner then tells me, ‘I know we said we would pay you, but it just is too complicated to set you up for just two days, so you will just have to be happy you got the experience with us.’
The way he acted really rubbed me the wrong way. I was mad as I really needed the income, but as I was trying to find a job, I figured it was not in my best interest to make waves as word may get around I was ‘difficult’.
I did however decide that someday, someway I would get my revenge on the owner.
I did find a good job that would lead to a great career. But I always kept tabs on the owner looking for the time and place to get some revenge and even a few times considered some more juvenile methods.
Just short of twenty years passed… and now I was very senior in my chosen profession, but instead of working for a small firm I was a leader in a very large national company that hired firms.
As it turns out we had a large contract come up that I was the lead executive on the procurement team in the area The Firm operated. Things have changed a bit over the years but bidding on these contracts was at the firm’s expense at the time back in the early 2000s. However, to safeguard them from wasting too many funds the bidding would be in stages.
Well, sure enough, The Owner and his firm put in an exploratory bid. They were not perfect for the job, but they could actually do it so I assisted in them moving to the next stage, and the next stage, and then the final stage. The easiest thing I could have done was shut them down right away and got a bit of revenge, but they were qualified so I did not do that.
There was some risk to letting them go through to the end though. Though I was the lead, it was a team decision, and to be honest, if they had the best proposal despite my thirst for revenge I would vote for them. The proposals and presentation came in and luckily the other firm was a bit better and we went with them. Normally the executive lead didn’t deliver the bad news in the bid process, but I volunteered to take on the call and that was my little dose of revenge.
It was fun to call The Owner (who had no idea we met 20 years ago) and tell him, ‘We were impressed with your proposal, but it is just not the right fit. I know you must be disappointed to not get the contract, but at least you got great exposure to our process.’ (I know I should have used his own words from 20 years ago but I could not bring myself to do it).
The Firm must have done about 200 hours of work on their proposal, so I figured that was payback for my 16 hours with 20 years of interest.”
4. Our Coworker Was Stealing Our Lunches, So We Caught Him CSI Style
“This took place when I was still a teen fresh out of university working directly under an engineer. The office I was doing my 4000 hours in was fairly large 5 floors of a large office building (a Toronto construction firm).
Well, I was lazy and always picked up lunch from Wholefoods—usually sushi—on my way to work. My floor had its own break room and fridge. And for the first 6 months, nothing ever went missing until we got a batch of university office interns in (paid interns).
Then wouldn’t you know, lunches would go missing and it wasn’t just mine. Any lunch in store packaging was gone if there was a name on it or not. Well, after two weeks of our lunches just walking away, we’re all getting annoyed (don’t mess with my salmon sashimi).
One of the engineers comes up with an idea and asks everyone to throw in a couple of dollars to solve this problem.
The following week he sends a text to the store-bought lunch people to meet in the break room before work and sent a text to everyone in the office to not touch any of the packaged lunches. We meet up and he hands us this little spray bottle to spray the packaging. It was this blacklight reactive spray (glows from a black light) and is completely undetectable.
Lunch rolls around and guess what? Every single packaged lunch is gone.
And this guy brings out a black light and starts looking for fingerprints. He found them on the door down the hall to the elevator. Now imagine 5 of the nerdiest engineers you have ever seen going down a hallway with a black light like something from a discount CSI.
Well, there are fingerprints everywhere, right up to the elevator on the buttons down to the 2nd floor.
At this time, I figured some of the interns are stealing our lunches. But I was wrong.
We followed it right to the head of the sales department’s desk. And well, we demand to see his hands, and they were glowing like crazy. Not to mention he had touched his face so there was this glowing mess covering his face.
The guy knew he was caught and we made an agreement not to go to HR but to get a picture and pizza for our floor every Friday for two months.
We stayed overtime that day to print out the glowing mess that was his face. We printed at least a hundred of them with the caption dirty, dirty lunch thief. Those things went up everywhere. The bathrooms, all the entryways of the building, and every office door and desk in sight.
Needles to say, the lunches stopped going missing and I was able to eat my sushi in peace.”
3. My Roommate Was Lousy, So I Trained His Brain To Sleep Through His Alarms
“I was in college, senior. My roommate was a sophomore but it was his first time living in a dorm. He’d been a pretty lousy roommate, constantly left the room a mess, left his stuff on my side of the room and on my bed, stole my booze, used my stuff without permission, never cleaned up my dishes after he used them, and a bunch of other stuff.
I confronted him about all these issues on several occasions and got the Resident Advisor involved with the booze stealing issue because, at the time, he was under 21. Things still continued anyways.
He asked me once if it was okay if his girl spent the night, to which I said no. We were in the middle of a health crisis, plus that’s especially weird if I was there.
I also had to wake up every day at 8 for work, which he knew, and he would stay up until 2 am playing video games some nights.
Not to mention, he would set like 10 alarms in the morning with a bunch of different alarm tones.
I hit a breaking point and decided to do something cruel. Every morning when I woke up, I’d observe his alarm pattern and how he’d respond.
He had several alarms that he’d ignore, all with the same sound. He had a couple of half-hour alarms that had a unique sound (also ignored), and then the final alarm had its own sound too. All of them were default iPhone sounds.
So his brain had been trained to this alarm pattern for a while, I’d assumed. So I started step one of the punishment: set up a sequence of alarms on my phone, identical to his sequence, but an hour early.
He responded to my alarms the exact same way he’d respond to his own. I kept this up for a week, and his brain was eventually re-trained to sleep through double the number of alarms as before.
Then, phase two kicked in: random inconsistencies in my alarm pattern. Some days I’d play all the alarms, while other days I’d only play one that his brain was trained to ignore. That way, his brain expects to sleep through like 20 alarms and only ever hears 11. He slept through his alarm at least 4 times in two weeks.
Eventually, he finally changed his alarm pattern so he’d only have one alarm and he no longer had the energy to stay up until 2 AM.”
2. Still Got That Zit On Your Face? I Do, But Your Face Is On Camera
“When I worked retail, I was masked all day. My skin freaked out and I’d get sporadic deep, cystic acne. I did my best, kept changing my cloth masks every hour, handwashing them in sensitive detergents and rinsing them like crazy, washing my face regularly, etc. It sucked but I’m not the only one.
I got an office job and left retail. Six weeks of bull crap ensued with my boss ignoring me when she wasn’t sidling into my office to threaten me, and I let them fire me so I could collect unemployment.
Yay. I had a scarred over zit on my cheek which people could see if they saw me in my office with my mask down and nobody ever said anything until this morning.
I was up early and went to the gas station. My former boss was also there and caught a look at me outside as I was putting on my mask. I came in and when she spotted me she said, ‘Still got that same zit on your face?’
I saw red and replied, ‘Still got a head full of crap where your brains should be?’
She turned to the girl behind the register and yelled, ‘You just lost a customer!’
Except she’d filled up with gas and was waiting to pay.
So we both had to explain to her how she still needed to pay for her gas no matter how ticked off she is. The clerk politely explained that she had to pay for her gas, she’s on camera, and if she didn’t pay the clerk would call the police. My former boss was flustered and mad and ripped off her mask and kept saying, ‘SMILE! SMILE!’ as she cheese grinned at the cameras.
I rubbed a bit of salt in the wound by saying, ‘I’m sorry if I got your day off to a bad start. How about you pay for your gas since you’re ahead of me in line? You’re going to be late.’ She slapped the debit machine a few times with her hand when her card tap was rejected and finally left. The clerk and I had a good laugh about it when I explained what went on.
That felt amazing. I might try this more often, to be honest.”
1. Ruin My Summer? Enjoy Not Going To University
“As a teenager, I got a part-time job as a lifeguard at the biggest pool in the city, if not the province. I was a hard worker, and over the years I had every certification I could get. Over the summers I’d often work on nearby beaches. One year these rural beaches had a really hard time keeping staff, so they’d ask people from my pool to work there.
It just so happened my parents had a cottage on one of the beaches and I said, ‘Hey, I’d be interested in working at Middle-of-Nowhere beach! It’d be peaceful, and I can come home on weekends if I want!’
I took the job, about 4 hours away from home for a 10-week contract. I was a lifeguard instructor trainer, I certify people to teach other people how to train lifeguards.
At the time of this story, I was one of the youngest to have this certification. Most of my co-workers were going into their second year of working on this beach and frankly second year of being a lifeguard… It was going to be my first year working in this area. Basically, the head manager told me:
‘Look, it’s your first time working out here, we need someone with your experience.
We can’t give you Beach Captain position (management) on paper… BUT we are willing to pay you at a beach captain rate plus extra for your certifications. AND you can fill in as beach captain on days when the others can’t. As far as we’re concerned you’re an alternate. We just don’t want to upset the locals more than we need to… be advised though you may need to work at a few other beaches out around there.’
Hm, more pay, fewer responsibilities? Yeah, I guess I can take this one for the team!
Here’s what you need to know about this place.
The area is a naturally BEAUTIFUL place, this is one of the best drives on the continent, one of the top 10 islands in the world. Mountains to the left, endless ocean to the right, beaches everywhere. It’s also one of the poorest parts of the country, and some communities have a mob mentality when outsiders come to work here… For the most part, my co-workers liked me and appreciated my experience, except for the one beach captain we’ll call ‘Maggie’.
Everyone employed goes to a training camp retreat. District managers go for 5 days. Beach captains go for 4 days, and general staff goes for 3 days.
I was only asked to show up for the general staff, did my thing, met my new co-workers, Maggie rubs me the wrong way, and starts calling me ‘Rookie,’ and then she left. Turns out she was graduating high school and had prom to attend.
She didn’t want to do the rest of the training because of all the after-prom parties! Okay, that’s weird, I’m waking up at 7 AM to do a 10km run with everyone before breakfast and you’re passed out after a night of drinking… I’m annoyed, but if I could pull it off, I might do the same, no biggie.
How could she pull off getting out of mandatory training, you ask? She’s a family legacy.
Once upon a time, her mom was the beach captain and now runs the local pool in the middle of nowhere town. If you were certified as a lifeguard around there you had to go through her. Maggie’s sister was the beach captain, then district manager, and recently ‘retired’ from the service and went to nursing school. Maggie was the next in line to do this, she was going to be awarded a scholarship through the Lifeguard Service for her school of choice! At the end of the summer, there’s an AGM where they make all these announcements, but it was a well-known secret.
Day one of the summer on the beach starts. We’re setting up the beach, it’s a half-day, not many patrons around. We organize first aid kits, equipment, set up our hut, test the phones, etc. District manager (a local) arrives to inspect everything, he’s happy, he’s a buddy of mine, and as we were the last stop of his beaches to inspect he hangs out with us.
Day’s up and Maggie’s mother shows up and tells her to start packing for the swimming instructors symposium. Turns out Maggie is leaving tomorrow for the Dominican Republic (on her pool’s dime) for THREE WEEKS! That’s 30% of the lifeguard season. She actually tells me, ‘See you in three weeks Rookie!’ and leaves.
The district manager and I drop our jaws and wonder, ‘What the heck! Why is this only coming out now?’
I help him out, we sit down and come up with a new schedule for the next 3 weeks.
My supervisor filled in some of her shifts and, we even worked together a few times. Now, looks like I have to be a beach captain with the actual new guards, for at least three weeks.
It was more work for me but honestly, Maggie’s departure was a blessing. I’ve hardly met her but I doubt we’re going to get along, she rubs me the wrong way.
Those three weeks without her I got a great Feng Shui, Zen groove, and inner harmony thing going on. It was the healthiest mentally and physically I’ve been in my life. Of course, the lack of negative emotions directed toward me would not last. It ended the day Maggie returned literally within the first hour of us working together.
Maggie, my ‘beach captain’ started our day together by berating me in front of her friends.
‘Hey Rookie! Do you even know how to do CPR? I was watching you at training camp and you were doing it wrong! I need you to show me how to do it RIGHT NOW!’
You want me to show you how to do CPR? Sure no problem, could ask nicer, but whatever, I’ll put up with this, we have to practice so much every day anyway.
Then she drops this bit of information while I practice ‘incorrectly’.
‘If you don’t have anything under them you’ll dig a hole in the sand!’
Maggie, this doesn’t make sense but whatever, it’s not like I’m an instructor in this or anything, or have basic knowledge of physics that pushing on sand isn’t the same thing as digging. The whole day consisted of Maggie calling me Rookie and being pointlessly rude in her critiques of my lifesaving skills.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a good work story unless someone stole someone’s lunch.
‘Hey Maggie, is that my lunch in your mouth right now?’
‘Oh was that your lunchbox?’
‘Well… it wasn’t YOUR lunchbox was it?’
‘Umm… I’m the beach captain, you can’t talk to me like that!’
This would become our daily routine on our shifts together. I began packing a decoy lunch with half-eaten items or empty wrappers.
This gave me the opportunity to hide or eat my real lunch without her bothering me.
By week four it’s our mid-season evaluation, there are two parts, physical evaluation, and professional evaluation. District manager does the physical and it’s straightforward, all employees show up at the beach before it opens. You run 4k, swim 600m, paddle 2k, etc. Apparently, I embarrassed Maggie. I was the most improved from the start of the season to the end of the season.
I was already in the top 25%, but now I was physically one of the top 5%. Maggie, however, got worse… a LOT worse. She was mediocre, but in the general top 50%, but was now one of the worst physical guards, bottom 10%. Her times all were substantially lower. But luckily for her, it’s not all physical, there’s still the professional evaluation! The beach captain who works with you the most writes up your evaluation.
You get a score out of 50. Ten 5 point characteristics, Punctual, Customer Service, Safety, etc… get graded and short notes are written to explain your score. At the bottom, there’s a recommendation section on what to do or work on.
One of the other beach captains who tolerated Maggie wrote her evaluation and it wasn’t all bad. Of course, Maggie was the one who wrote my evaluation despite only working with me a few times.
I don’t get to see it, which is normal, and when it’s done she passes it to the boss. Once it’s handed in, the district manager pulls Maggie and me aside. He rips it up in front of us and says:
‘Maggie, this isn’t a real evaluation, you gave him all ZEROS! Your notes are incoherent and, in the recommendation section you told him to ‘Leave and never come back!’ This is not acceptable! I’ve worked with him more than you did and I’m going to write up the mid-season evaluation!’
Maggie breaks down in tears, plays the victim that the outsider is taking her job and she’s protecting herself.
Manager’s not buying it but ultimately goes easier on her. Temper’s cool, I get a modest review with things to improve on.
Right away I knew this would happen again and I’d need to make notes to defend myself, I have a reputation in the lifesaving community I’d like to keep.
Things got weirder after this, aside from umpteen mentions of calling me ‘Rookie’ against my wishes, my notebook was getting filled with some highlights including:
- She stole my ‘Rooster Ketchup with a green top’ and lathered her hot dog, only to get upset with me.
She wrote me up for ‘Poisoning her with hot sauce’ though really she stole my Sriracha.
- She took her top off in front of me and in full view of the kids cause she had to ‘air out the girls.’
- Went on a ‘walking patrol’ down the beach for two hours only to end up hanging out with her friends drinking on the beach and having a fire (double no-no).
- Called her dealer to deliver to her while on guard, not even discretely.
- I taught the Junior guards some basic stuff.
Once the class is over she goes up to the parents and tells them I taught all the wrong things and it’s actually done ‘this way’ instead.
- On a particularly bad day, she berated the middle-aged gentleman with Down Syndrome who normally brings treats to her because he didn’t bring any treats on this day!
Things were cartoonishly stupid… Why would someone act this way? Turns out she was also bashing me to the other guards.
They’d regularly inform me of stuff like this.
‘Hey, just so you know Maggie told me you hit someone’s car with a hammer… obviously you didn’t but heads up, she’s telling locals about it.’
What did I get myself into? This is ridiculous, my summer paradise at the most beautiful place on Earth is ruined by a succubus leeching off of inner peace. I was at my end, this isn’t worth it, I want to go home, I’m belittled by an entitled brat and I don’t need this as much as they need me.
I’m going to sleep it off and think with a clear head in the morning.
Please note, this place is a sleepy beach town, it’s heavily wooded and not many cell towers, reception isn’t great. Also, it’s a hot summer, I live alone, I hate pants, when I’m home I’m probably not wearing anything! And the lock on the door isn’t great, it works but with a bit of effort, you can get past it.
We basically put an exterior padlock on the door when we’re away for extended periods. But hey, no one knows anyone’s living here right? Who’s going to come bother me in the middle of nowhere?
It’s 5:30 AM.
BAM! BAM! BAM!
‘Huh? What’s happening?’
BAM! BAM! BAM!
‘Ugh! Answer your phone! I’ve been calling you all night! Ugh why are you not wearing anything? That’s gross! You have to work at the beach further away today! I’ve got an appointment I’ve had scheduled for months and can’t change it.
You need to go there or I won’t be back in time.’
‘Wait, what’s going on, why is SHE in my house right now?’ I thought to myself as I startled and jumped up covering myself with whatever I could find.
I raised my temper and got her out of my home as quickly as possible and said to myself, ‘That’s it, I’m done, this isn’t worth it!’
I call my district manager and tell him the rundown of what’s been happening lately.
Initially, he thought I might be embellishing the truth a bit because it’s all so ridiculous. He tells me if I go to work, there’s two weeks left in the contract, he’ll make sure Maggie and I don’t work together anymore as long as I can stick around.
Later on, I’m begrudgingly working at the further away beach and we get a call, it’s the district manager!
‘I owe you an apology.
I thought you were making this stuff up… Maggie just called to report you for not wearing anything and yelling at her. As she explained this she admitted to walking into your home. What do you want to do about this?’
‘District Manager, which beach captain or alternate has worked with Maggie the most this summer?’
‘Oh hm, looks like it’s you by a fair bit.’
‘Is she allowed to do my end-of-season evaluation?’
‘No, because of what she did with your midseason we’ve decided that I would do it personally again.’
‘Okay great, who gets to do hers then?”
Well, you can guess where this ended up.
As ‘luck’ would have it Maggie and I got to work together once more due to someone being sick. The whole time she’s telling me ‘I’m going to make your review so bad! You’re going to wish you never came here rookie!’ At that point, I just smiled with a big grin. The summer may have its last dawn, but this will be the end of you, Maggie.
Writing up Maggie’s end-of-season evaluation was between the supervisor and me. The rest of the staff were unaware of this. So I used the final days talking to the staff, ‘What’s the weirdest thing Maggie did to you this summer?’
Here are the highlights:
- Stole the pretty boy guard’s car keys at the end of the day to keep him around because she was flirting with him. He had to go right to the hospital to visit his mom.
- Gradually over the course of a day, she spiked the 16 guard’s work water bottle with booze.
He’d never been intoxicated before and had to drive home.
- After hours she went to a lifeguard-girls-night-out and skipped out on the bill (no she wasn’t invited again after that).
I’m composing her end-of-season evaluation. I’m smart about it, I grade reasonably well with things, to her credit she was good at, and she improved her swimming skills which is something after all. But everything else I avoid grading a 1 as much as possible to avoid looking like I’m purposely out to get her.
More than just grading I’m providing written documentation to back this up. I’ve got my journal of horrible Maggie moments, my co-workers’ experiences with her, and I’ve been smart enough to make copies of our notes from patrons with her mentioned. But the coup-de-gras, recommendations for next season:
‘Recommend not to re-offer Beach Captain or Alternate Beach Captain Position next season. Recommend awarding scholarship to someone else in the service.’
Not long after this gets submitted I get a call from the head boss/senior manager who hasn’t been made privy to Maggie and me’s situation.
‘Look, I’ve known you for a few years, I’m reading Maggie’s end-of-season evaluation and there are some serious allegations here. Her family will likely rebuke this and make it a problem for my office. Not giving her this scholarship sounds harsh… Do you have any documentation to back up any of this, and do you really think she deserves this?’
‘Well sir, that’s ultimately up to you.
Here are notes and times from the entire team, feel free to call any of them. Here’s the footage from my trail cam of her breaking into my home at 5:30 in the morning. Here’s the contact info for the Down Syndrome gentleman whom she berated. Here’s the reports patrons have made about her.’
‘Oh… hm… This is bad, well thanks for being so thorough with this.’
Well, word got to her she wouldn’t be receiving her scholarship, instead, it went to an incredibly nice and hard worker in another district.
Maggie’s mom complained for a while about ‘come-from-aways’ taking all the jobs… But then she heard how Maggie treated the gentleman with Down Syndrome, she may have been the town’s princess but that man was the salt of the Earth and immune to any harsh treatment. Needless to say, Maggie didn’t come to the AGM.
The next year I was knee-deep in my actual career and didn’t re-enroll in the lifeguard service, but offered my services as a substitute.
One of the guards I liked last year calls me to see if I can sub for them for a weekend. I decided I’ll do it as long as Maggie isn’t working. He laughs and says no, but she’s on staff as a regular lifeguard.
Well, Maggie wasn’t working, but her cousin was! Uh oh, this can’t be good. Our first interaction was kind of amazing.
‘Wait, are you THE (insert my name here)?’
yes…’ I prepare myself for a day of harassment.
‘Oh man! You are AWESOME! Maggie and her mom HATE YOU! They’re so mean, our family hates them, she’s so entitled and makes us look bad, you’re like a legend around here!’
Well, this is a change of pace from what I was expecting. We become friends over the course of the day and she explains to me that Maggie thought her scholarship was a sure thing, her mom pulled strings for her to get it and it fell through, so she never saved any money for school.
Maggie’s plans of getting into nursing didn’t work out.
Maggie’s mom took a lateral promotion in the lifesaving world, that new position didn’t last and she was laid off only to go back to her old pool as the assistant to the person who took over her job, she wasn’t able to pull any more strings after that.
Last time I checked Maggie went to community college and took a less expensive Continuing Care Attendant course with the plan of eventually jumping over to nursing when she saves some money. Unfortunately for her, the instructors weren’t crazy about her ‘better-than-you’ attitude and she was kicked out of the course sometime in second year. Last time I saw her, she was working at the summer ice cream stand by the beach I visited on a lovely vacation to one of the most beautiful places in the world.”