How to Get Revenge

1) Don’t pretend you don’t want revenge – you want revenge. You want your enemies, those bastards who thwarted and ridiculed you, to crawl through burning deserts begging for mercy. They deserve to be stacked out, drizzled with honey and slowly devoured by ants as is right and good.

2) Do nothing. God will sort it out (or the Eumenides, which is worse, Darling if you don’t know about the Eumenides, learn.) Either the person will come to their senses, straighten up and fly right; be promoted (no longer your problem); or self-destruct. Don’t try to push the self-destruction along, that will backfire. Remember: “there is…a simple but lucid treaty holding that when one side does something particularly fatheaded and self-destructive the other will respond by shooting itself in the foot within a period of from 17 to 30 days” (A. M. Rosenthal).

Keep smiling, keep working honestly and buy popcorn to munch on which you watch their inevitable, total, messy, assured destruction. If you want to make wax figures, that’s fine, just don’t let anyone find them.

3) Artful dissembling – just because you aren’t going to do the revenge yourself, doesn’t mean you have to aid and abet the soul-sucking sons of cockroaches.

  • Learn, what I call, the martial art of friendly refusal: “Could you please put that in an e-mail?”, “You need to get X’s permission before I can look at that,” “I can’t do anything with a verbal request, can you write me a memo?”, “You need Y’s approval, then I can start work on it”, “I am so sorry, this isn’t clear, could you please submit a detailed plan?” and “I will need Z’s signature on that.” Say it with me, “Of course I will do anything to help you, I am ready to fly to your assistance but the rules don’t allow me to unless I have…”
  • Be “a participant in the doctrine of constructive ambiguity” (Vernon Walters). Say “I am sorry, I don’t know” to all requests from loathsome people. This will whisk them out of your office and off to bother someone else.

I get an occasional “You don’t know?!” in a snide voice, but the choice is

  • demonstrating my knowledge and having to deal with the twit showing up again to pester me with questions


  • having the person think I don’t know what I should know

Practice:  “Gosh, I really don’t know,” “Oh heavens, that’s a good question, maybe Florence would be able to help you,” “My! I’m stumped” , “You know, I used to understand that but I haven’t worked with that application in ages, better if you get Hortensia to help you.”

4) Win brownie points from everyone else. Be helpful to the non-trolls.

  • “Do everything you ask of those you command,” General Patton, i.e. never ask someone to do something that you wouldn’t do / haven’t done
  • “You will neither eat, nor drink, nor smoke, nor sit down, nor lean against a tree until you have personally seen that your men [and women] have first had the chance to do these things. If you will do this for them, they will follow you to the ends of the earth,” Field Marshall William Slim
  • “Superior advantages binds you to larger generosity,” Ralph Waldo Emerson.

5) You get better information for surviving in the corporate world by reading war strategy books than by reading managerial or business strategy books. I recommend Edward Luttwak, anything by an SAS trooper/officer or the classic Art of War.