Volume 35, Number 7, July 2000



“They Will Never Change”

why revenge is not so sweet

by Lyle R. Hill


“I need some advice and I think you are the one that can help me,” the early morning caller stated.

I really don’t like to give advice. There’s very little good that can come from doing so. If you give them good advice, they quickly forget that it came from you and usually assume that whatever good fortune came their way was due to their own quick thinking and good judgement. On the other hand, if you offer what turns out to be bad advice, you are quickly to blame for any woe that comes their way. So it’s a bad situation to get yourself in. But, then there’s this thing called “ego.” You see, we all like to think that we are wise in all things and that our advice is sought-after because of our ability to see things just a little more clearly than the next guy. I was hooked.

“Sure, no problem. Give me the details and I’ll see what I can do,” I replied.

“Well,” he said, “I’m really fed up with the people I’m working for and I want to quit as soon as possible.”

“I see, and I suppose that you’d like to apply for a job with us. Is that it?”

“Oh heavens no,” the caller quipped. “I’ve talked with some of the people who work with you and there’s no way in the world I’d ever consider doing that. I mean, after all, how long could a normal person survive working around people like Koziac the Polish Accountant, Jeanine the Queen, or Meathooks Thomas? And now I hear you’ve got the Bibbiano brothers … Chuckles and Smiley … working for you.”

“Yes, we have picked up the ‘Bibbiano brothers’, and I do admit that some of our people are a bit strange, but they grow on you after awhile. Let’s get back to you and the advice you supposedly called to get. What’s your story and why do you feel that I can help?”

“Oh, I know you can help,” he began. “You see I’ve been reading your articles for a few years now and I know that underneath that calm, nice-guy appearance you try so hard to project, there is a twisted, sinister, evil, diabolical, scheming, sneaky,
cynical … ”

“Hey, that’s enough,” I interrupted. “You’re gonna give the readers the wrong impression. Now do you want my help or not?”

“Yeah, I do … sorry. So here’s my story,” he began once more. “I came to work for my current employer about two years ago. At the time I was hired, I was told that I would advance in the company as fast as my talents and performance would take me, that my future was in my own hands and that all I had to do was prove myself. But none of that was true. All I get is one lousy assignment after another. Nobody appreciates anything I do, and the worst part is they never will change. I am never going to get any respect or the opportunity that I was promised. And even worse, the last two opportunities for advancement went to people who were not even with the company as long as I. All of this has been extremely frustrating to me. I’m not sleeping well and I have a hard time even wanting to go to work each day.”

“And have you told your superiors how you feel?” I asked.

“Not really,” he answered. “They’re impossible to talk to, and like I said, they’ll never change.”

“Ok,” I replied, “I think I get the picture, but what’s all of this got to do with me?”

“Well,” he continued, “I need your advice.”

“About what?” I asked.

“About how to get even with them. You know … how to make them feel sorry about how poorly they have treated me … how they’ve overlooked me for every decent assignment or available promotion. In fact, do you know that it’s now been almost two years since I even got a raise in pay?”

“Personally,” I responded, “I really think you should sit down with your boss and tell him or her how you feel and then try to work something out.”

“Boy Mr. Hill, you’re really starting to disappoint me. I was counting on you to help me think of some way for them to feel bad about my situation and all you can come up with is this peace and harmony stuff. I’m starting to wonder if you’re the same guy that Jungle Jim Bruney told me so much about. You know … about all the stuff that you did when you guys were in college. And besides, these people are not going to change, so why waste my time trying?”

“Exactly how much did Bruney tell you?” I asked hesitantly.

“Quite a bit, but I think I should save the rest of it for when you need another column or two. Now, are you gonna help me or not, Mr. Hill?”

I was starting to worry. How much did this caller really know? And, of bigger concern, how much would he tell? Now, as even the casual reader knows, I am truly a peaceful, easy-going, calm, passive individual. But maybe I’d better help this guy if for no other reason than to continue to mask those dark days of yesteryear when I ran with a tough bunch of people.

“Ok, I’ll help you but you have to do exactly as I tell you. Do you understand?”

“Absolutely,” he quickly replied. “Tell me what to do.”

“Well,” I began, “starting immediately, you have to become a model employee. Everything you’re asked to do, you do to the best of your ability and without any whining or complaining … even the worst and most mundane job. Also, you start coming in a little early and you never leave at the end of the day without asking your boss if anything else needs to be done before you go. Next, no matter how busy you get, you ask the people that work around you if you can be of any help to them. You become the ultimate team player. You help those under you who don’t know as much as you do and when you see a situation or encounter a problem that is new to you, ask for help and then you do whatever is suggested. You never criticize … you encourage. You never ridicule … you become supportive. You learn as much as you can about anything and everything that will make you a better employee and you willingly share what you know in a helpful way to those who can most benefit from what you know. And you accept every new assignment with energy and enthusiasm. And most importantly, you don’t let up for the next 90 days.”

“And then what?” he asked.

“Then you quit,” I replied.

“I don’t get it,” he said.

“What do you mean you don’t get it? It’s perfect. Just about the time they become impressed with you and dependent upon you, you get the revenge you want so badly by telling them you quit. What could be better?”

“Oh, now I get it,” he finally replied. “It’s brilliant … Bruney was right … you’re much smarter than he is … he wanted me to blow the place up … something about pipe bombs … ”

“One last thing, kid,” I said. “Give me your home phone number cause I want to call you in a few months to see how it went.”

Several months passed by and I completely forgot about the caller and his situation until one day Jungle Jim Bruney called me. He wanted to let me know that one of his kids was getting married and that he expected a nice gift from me for the event. While he was pressuring me to identify how much I was going to spend on his daughter, I remembered the incident with the young caller from so many months prior and found his number. I called that same evening to see what had happened.

“So how did it go?” I asked after explaining who I was and why I had called.

“How did what go?” he asked.

“You know … my plan for you to get revenge upon your employer by making yourself so valuable to him and then quitting.”

“Well it was kinda strange,” he replied. “I did exactly as you told me to do and then weird things began to happen. After about three weeks, they gave me a raise and I didn’t even have to ask for one. And then they started giving me more responsibility and once or twice even thanked me for doing such a good job. Sometimes they actually asked me for my opinion about important matters. It was incredible.

“Perfect!” I exclaimed. “You had ’em right where you wanted ’em. So then you quit, right?”

“Quit? Why would I quit? Things were going great.”

“But I thought you couldn’t stand it and you wanted to extract your revenge on them,” I stated somewhat confused by the change of heart I was hearing.

“Oh, I’d never quit now,” he replied quite emphatically. “You see, they’ve changed … they’ve really changed.”

Yes … I guess THEY did !!!

wpe6.jpg (4635 bytes)Lyle Hill is president of MTH Industries-Glass America of Chicago, IL.



Copyright 2000 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.


Copyright Key Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.