The concept of “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” has been around for centuries. It’s a principle that compels people to make other people, who have wronged them in some way, suffer in equal measure. Over the top revenge schemes are mostly the stuff of daytime television and movie theater thrillers. But sometimes, people enact vengeance in the real world.
Occasionally, they take their vengeance on coworkers who they believe have wronged them. Well, more than occasionally. According to a recent survey, almost half of Americans have taken revenge on someone at work.
An insurance quote company questioned 1,062 American employees for their survey. The results revealed that 44 percent of the respondents, or 468 individuals, have taken their revenge on someone they work with. Instead of seeking employment mediation services or taking up their complaints with human resource personnel, these people got even with their enemies personally.
The top ten methods these employees have gotten back at their enemies include eating their lunch, spreading hurtful rumors about them, and intentionally performing their jobs badly. Some people have even contrived to get their coworkers fired for their transgressions.
So what are the transgressions that would most likely end up in someone being the target of workplace revenge? According to the survey, 51 percent of those who had taken revenge did so because someone they worked with tried to make them look bad. Other reasons include being rude (revenge-worthy to 50 percent of respondents) and being annoying (47 percent).
Companies and businesses have caught some revenge-driven employees, with “some” being the operative word.
The Price and Worth of Vengeance
A staggering 83 percent of the vengeful employees who took the survey got away with the things they did. And these employees don’t seem to regret their actions, with only 27 percent of those caught and 17 percent of those who got away saying that they regretted what they did for vengeance’s sake.
Not that getting caught had repercussions. Employers only fired 11 percent of employees who they had caught taking revenge on coworkers, and they gave no punishment at all to 55 percent of them.
The large chance of feeling no consequences make people more willing to take matters into their own hand. Psychologists say that people will, more often than not, seek revenge if they have the chance to do so. This is because when someone is offended or hurt by another person, lashing out at the offender can have a positive effect on their emotional state.
However, “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” hails from a harsher time. Businesses today would benefit from mediating any squabbles between their employees, particularly if such incidents lead to low morale or poor quality of work. More modern times require modern methods of dealing with offenses and infractions, as befitting an advanced society. Revenge may be best served cold, but people should question whether it has to be on the menu at all.