Mean ex-coworkers made my life hell. Now I have a chance to get back at them. Should I take it?

Mean coworkers and how to deal with them.

Q. Three years ago, a group of mean girls in the workplace made up false stories about me and ostracized me. I hadn’t done anything to deserve how they treated me. They hated me because the departing CEO gave me a promotion that one of them felt was rightfully hers. After the CEO resigned, these coworkers made my work life a living hell.

I wisely quit. However, I’ve never been able to let go of what happened and it eats away at me. I’ve dreamed of revenge, of making them pay for how they hurt me. Now, life has handed me an opportunity to get back at these former coworkers. Should I take it?

A. Make your decision based on what you feel to be right. Could you fix a bad situation? Save someone else from experiencing what happened to you? When you’re not able to let something go, taking action can be emotionally satisfying.

On the other hand, when you have a wound that needs healing, do you pull the scab off? Revenge re-opens and aggravates emotional wounds. Further, revenge rarely fully satisfies, because whatever was done to you has happened and revenge can’t undo history.

Further, revenge can backfire. Gov. Chris Christie’s presidential aspirations experienced a potentially fatal blow after his team was alleged to have created a traffic jam that tied up traffic at the George Washington Bridge and turned a half hour commute into a four hour experience for many furious New Jersey residents.

Here’s the more important question. Why have you given these mean girls the power to stay in your mind and thus your life? What exactly eats at you? Is it that you let them run you off?

What if you took that energy you’ve channeled toward revenge and put it into your personal and professional growth? When you mentally move forward, you can make these former mean girls irrelevant. Then, from that perspective, you can answer your own question. Will getting back at these former coworkers make you feel better or worse?


© Dr. Lynne Curry is author of “Beating the Workplace Bully” and “Solutions” as well as Regional Director of Training and Business Consulting for The Growth Company, an Avitus Group Company. Follow her on Twitter @lynnecury10 or at


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