Don’t Beat up your Boss

Nicholas astonishes Mr Squeers and family by "Phiz"

Nicholas astonishes Mr Squeers and family by “Phiz”

Remember our old friend Dick Fuld, ex CEO of Lehman Brothers? The one who got his snoot punched by an irate ex employee?

Well, here’s a picture of another disgruntled employee taking out his frustrations on his boss!

This is a scene from Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens, the picture was drawn by the marvellous Hablot K Browne, commonly known as Phiz.

 I used to loathe Dickens when I was at school, but recently I’ve had another go at him and have been surprised to find that I actually enjoy his stories.

How Nicholas Nickleby Beat up his Boss OR: How Wackford Squeers got Whacked!

Nicholas Nickleby and his family are left penniless on the death of his father, who lost his money in a speculation that went horribly wrong. The family move from the countryside to London, to seek the help of Nicholas’ wealthy uncle Ralph. Ralph proves to be the meanest, miserly, unscrupulous rascal who ever lived. He arranges for Nicholas to be assistant at Dotheboys Hall, a boarding school for young boys, where the inmates are treated brutally by Mr Wackford Squeers the headmaster (apt name!). Disgusted by what he sees, Nicholas runs away, taking with him an orphan boy by the mane of Smike. And so the adventures begin.

The above picture is Nicholas handing in his notice before leaving for pastures new. Oh, how I enjoyed this scene immensely. What is particularly enjoyable – indeed, what makes “revenge” so enjoyable – is the sheer surprise on Squeers’ face when he realises just what’s happening to him.

It’s always the case in real life – “Why – how is this happening? But he can’t do this to me? I’m in charge, I’m the boss…how DARE he?!!!”

But no matter what happens in fiction, in real life, violence isn’t the answer.

My advice to those who are unhappy at work, please don’t beat up your boss. He won’t be happy about it, and you might not get a good reference when you leave.

My advice to those who are in management positions: please don’t behave in such a way that your employees want to beat the living daylights out of you. Because not every employee is going to follow the advice I’ve just given.

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