Question: Is it bad that I want my co-worker’s new business venture to fail miserably?
Like, I would probably be secretly excited if it burned down.
That’s bad, right?
I try to be a good person. I really do. Usually I think it’s horrible to wish something bad on someone, no matter what they’ve done. But I cannot escape the amazingly satisfying sense of schadenfreude when something bad happens to this guy. Even retroactively. And it’s a problem, because, were it not for his lovely wife and beautiful children, who I’m sure love him and whom I’m sure he loves, I…
…well, I hate that I’m saying this, but…
I wouldn’t care if he got-hit-by-a-bus-tomorrow thereIsaidit.
One of my friends told me that someone beat this guy up in a bar for being a jerk, years before I ever met him. I love that.
Here’s the thing: this guy tried to get me fired, and very nearly succeeded. He spends fully 3/4 of his day at work with his feet up on his desk and earbuds in his ears, surfing the internet.
I’m not kidding.
Then he complains about what other people have done.
He sits in meetings, with between one and four managers present, and spends the whole time screwing around on his iPhone. Never looks up.
One time, he must have left his phone somewhere, so he spent most of the meeting cleaning out his wallet, and the rest of it trying to determine whether he could maneuver a plastic fork to hit himself in the nose using only his mouth.
We used to work with each other directly on projects every day, and he spent every single day treating me like crap. By the time I’d worked with him for about six months, I cried at least two nights a week on the way home. Two times, for a grand total of 14 seconds and using exactly no bad words, I stood up for myself, and that’s how I almost got fired. In actual fact, the choice my managers gave me was:
Choice 1: take a huge demotion and 23% pay cut and change from a normal shift to a crappy life-sacrificing one, by which you also lose benefits and vacation/holiday time…
Choice 2: lose your job.
…Despite the fact that our own bosses had told me several times that they think he’s an ass. (I will supply the caveat here that one of my bosses doesn’t like me and that contributed as well. And I will grant you that when you have two co-workers who don’t like you, it usually means you’re the problem, but after months and months of self-flagellation and struggle, I decided that’s not true. There are lots of other co-workers – past and present – who have problems with these two.)
Sometimes when this guy walks by, I have a really powerful urge to smack him in the back of the head. Or trip him.
So he and his wife have this new business. It opened Saturday, when it was quite literally eleventy-two degrees.
The air conditioner died.
Mwahahahahahahahahahaha! I did a little dance in my head when I overheard that. I might have accidentally smiled a little bit.
But a bunch of people at work asked him all day on Monday, “Oh, how did it go? Was it great? Oh, that’s so great!” And I know for a fact that some of these people hate his breathing guts. And he keeps talking about it, all excited-but-too-cool-for-school. And people keep saying they’re going to stop by and check out the place.
We don’t speak, so I didn’t have to fake any enthusiasm. When you work with a grown man who goes out of his way to give a wide berth on the rare occasion you both populate the same hallway, and who absolutely will not make eye contact or speak if you find yourselves in the break room at the same time, there’s a tacit understanding that you won’t give a flying fig about each other in any other regard.
It’s a shame, because I’veI known his wife since before they got married and I held his oldest child when he was a tiny baby. And then there’s the other reason the whole thing makes me sad – besides my casual friendship with his wife and the complete derailing of my professional life, which was accompanied by a tremendous and sometimes crippling anxiety:
It makes me a lesser person to hate him so much.
Why am I so worried about my karma? This guy is the biggest a-hole I’ve ever known, but I’m worried about being a bad person because I can’t stand him. Stupid conscience. What’s the use of good schadenfreude if my Catholic guilt is constantly getting in the way? I’m not allowed to have one sworn enemy? Just one? I fought it for a long time. The whole time we were working on projects together, I fought the hate. I gave him every bit of credit due to him for being good at his job. I thought I was falling short because he wasn’t happy with my end of things.
And then, at some point, after the near-firing, after all the crying, after a little devilish encouragement from other people who also hate him, I gave in.
But of course, every time I have one of these evil little thoughts, I have to start evaluating myself and asking myself why I’m so hellbent on vengeance. Passive vengeance, mind you; I’d never actually do something to cause harm.
But the fantasies are so powerful…
Is there anybody you hate? Please tell me about them so I don’t feel so bad.
Featured image from gotarant.com