Workplace Revenge

USA Today is reporting that nearly half of 1,000 Americans sampled in a survey — 44 percent, to be precise — have admitted to seeking “workplace revenge” against a fellow employee.

57ced8b263393bfcc559fc398afcf4a7-office-space-meme-office-humorThe definition of “workplace revenge” used by the survey is pretty broad, and the results suggest that people who participate in such antics aren’t exactly deep thinkers, either.  For example, the most popular form of “workplace revenge” found by the survey is workers “causing a purposeful decline in the quality or quantity” of their own work — apparently in an effort to get back at a supervisor.   Even if you were a vengeful type, this seems like a poorly considered strategy if you want to actually keep your job.  Another popular form of workplace revenge is “quitting in an unconventional way” — and all of the survey respondents who followed this course probably did so convinced that their loud, “unconventional,” no doubt public departure from their job would teach their mean bosses a lesson that they would remember forever.  Of course, anyone who’s got much workplace experience would realize that temper tantrums by departing employees are pretty common and that many co-workers who witness the “unconventional” resignation will be inwardly thrilled that the vengeful co-worker is hitting the road.

Hey, do employees who want to inflict “workplace revenge” grasp the concept of a self-inflicted wound?

According to the survey, other popular forms of revenge are “spreading unflattering rumors” and “hiding a co-worker’s possessions” (starting, perhaps, with staplers?), as well as eating a co-worker’s lunch, sabotaging a co-worker’s work, and getting a co-worker fired.  And, interestingly, the likelihood that an employee will try to take “workplace revenge” increases with rank, with “senior managers” and “general managers” more likely to engage in these tactics than entry-level employees.

The survey really makes you wonder how many toxic workplaces exist, and makes me grateful that I’ve never been the target — at least, not to my knowledge — of a “workplace revenge” scenario.  Is it really that bad out there?  And if supervisors are regularly taking part in the vengeance, then we’re definitely into truly dysfunctional territory.

Jobs are hard enough without worrying that your fellow employees might be trying to stab you in the back or get you fired because of some perceived slight.  No wonder so many Americans want to retire early!

Good Luck, Holly!

Today was the last day at work for one of my colleagues whose desk is right outside the door to my office.  She’s moving on to a new job, one that she hopes will bring her fresh challenges and a chance to continue to grow and develop in her professional career.

I’ll call her Holly Hockey, because she is one of the most rabid hockey fans you can possibly imagine.  When the NHL had one of its recent strikes and time passed without a resolution, she became increasingly agitated at the thought of a winter without hockey, and you could hear her spluttering about how it was high time to settle this thing and drop the damned puck!  Ask her about how she thought the Columbus Blue Jackets were doing, and you’d get a thoughtful and comprehensive analysis of the rising stars, the disappointments, and some likely personnel changes.  But hockey is just one of the things that HH is passionate about:  other key interests included her family, Dropkick Murphys, Irish heritage, avoiding painful sunburns, and a nice glass of Jameson’s to help reflect on a week of work well done.

She is one of those “glue guys” — people who help to make any workplace work just a bit better, by being willing to pitch in and help even when it wasn’t technically her duty to do so, by being a friendly face when you got off the elevator, and by laughing at your lame attempt at humor or sharing her ditty about the perils of drinking tequila (“One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor.”)  Over the years we got to know each other and could share a chuckle on a tough work day.  She put up with my guff, and I appreciated it.  You don’t quite fully realize the value and impact of such people until they are gone.

We all touch each other in different ways, without really thinking much about it.  HH was one of those people who touched her lucky co-workers in a good way.  We’ll miss her, but we can’t help but wish her the best as she moves on to tackle a new job.

Now if only the Blue Jackets would start hitting and playing some old-fashioned hockey!