Don’t kill your boss!

“Don’t ever forget, this job is VERY big on payback!” – Kevin Spacey Swimming with Sharks

Payback. How many of us have dreamed about this moment. When we have the boss completely at our mercy – the chance of paying him back for all the horrible things he’s done to us.

I have to admit the thought of it is appealing – but when I once read about an actual real life situation, it did make me shudder. A disgruntled employee arranged for her boss to be kidnapped, tortured and murdered – what made it more pathetic is that they didn’t intend to kill him, only to beat him up a bit lot. Unfortunately, they beat him up too badly, panicked and tried to send him anonymously to hospital, but he died of his injuries. A really pathetic case.

Hang’em high! -  How I didn’t kill my boss 

Having said that, I must admit I still have visions of hanging the three monkeys that were behind my being made redundant from a City law firm.

Three Monkeys by KLW NFC on Flickr

Three Monkeys by KLW NFC on Flickr

I used to dream about it at night, to make me sleep better. I’d picture the three of them, nonchalantly walking around the office, and then a vision of a noose, dangling above them, slowly, but surely lowering around their necks, without their being aware…and all of a sudden…yikes!

And then I’d picture the three of them kicking and screaming, trying to untighten the noose, getting redder and hotter…and all of a sudden, the noose would break and down they’d drop, still alive, but very shaken and very stirred.

Dear Reader, don’t think I actually wanted to kill them. Oh no. What’s the point of killing your boss, or anyone else for that matter? A man dies only once in his life. What I have in mind is an eternity of torment…

Violence is not the answer

Actually I don’t believe in torturing people in real life. It’s not legal for one thing, though it can be highly satisfying in theory. Does anyone remember a bank called Lehman Brothers, and how it collapsed as a result of the subprime mortgage crisis? (Subprime mortgage – fancy phrase for making a dodgy loan).

This man, Dick Fuld, was the CEO at the time, and was widely vilified by almost everybody, including his employees, who not only lost their jobs, but also lost a considerable portion of their investments.

Richard Fuld Jnr by CODEPINK on Flickr

Richard Fuld Jnr by CODEPINK on Flickr

A lot of employees actually held stock in the back – please note, this is one of the few instances where bankers really did pay for their mistakes!

Some employees decided to relieve their frustration by sending Dick a big thank you card.

But this wasn’t enough for one enterprising employee. Oh no. This one wanted his pound of flesh. Early one morning, while at the office gym he spotted Richard Fuld Junior also at said gym on the treadmill (how ironic). Said employee walks over to Dick and punches his lights out. Floored him completely.

Now this is totally wrong. Absolutely unacceptable. But I am not ashamed to say I laughed my head off when I heard about it.

How to get revenge on your boss – use the rapier not the bludgeon

But, as I’ve said before, revenge should be more subtle than that.

I don’t know if you’ve head of the story of The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas? Set during the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars, it is a masterful tale of revenge and lost love.

The hero Edmond Dantes is wrongfully imprisoned through the jealousy of four “friends” – and when I say, wrongfully imprisoned, I mean locked up without trial or any other due process. Our hero eventually escapes and finds hidden treasure which makes him fabulously wealthy, and then returns as the mysterious Count of Monte Cristo, to deliver payback to his erstwhile buddies.

What is remarkable is the way in which he plays on each one of them, using their particular weaknesses. Only one of them is killed outright. The others are all ruined – humiliated even – thoroughly, cruelly and without mercy. One man is sent to the madhouse, another has his reputation destroyed and a third is financially broken. Coolly, efficiently and mercilessly.

When I was younger, I used to think to myself: “How very satisfying! If only I could do the same to all those who’ve wronged me…hee hee hee” (rubbing his hands with malicious glee…)


Well, we all know – or should know – that revenge for it’s own sake isn’t the answer either. Indeed, for all his success in achieving his goal, it didn’t fill the hole left in Edmond Dantes’ heart. We have to move on, or else we are consumed by our need to simply get even. Just listen to the words of Richard Nixon, explaining to the world, the reason for his downfall after having to resign the US presidency in disgrace:

“…others may hate you, but those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself.”


No. Don’t kill your boss. Don’t even beat him up. The best revenge by far, is to leave your awful job and your awful boss and go somewhere else, and most important of all, to be happy. “They” can’t win then.

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