Company Tries to Fire Senior Engineer, He Comes Up With the Ultimate Revenge

Tricky Brick / January, 31, 2024

Landing your dream job is something most of us hope for us but very few of us actually achieve. It’s a joy to be able to spend each day developing skills contributing to society and working for a company you believe in. But what if that company decides you no longer fit the bill?

Alex Ivanov loved his job as a head engineer but he was blindsided when the new management tried to force him out. It wasn’t long before he took matters into his own hands devising a plan that would rock the very foundation of the company.

1 Introducing Alex Ivanov

Alex Ivanov was 63 years old. He lived in a small apartment in New York City. He enjoyed walking in Central Park eating piroshki at Matryoshka his local Russian restaurant and playing chess with his young grandson. But most of all he loved figuring out how things work and solving problems.

Alex was an engineer and he was extremely good at it. He worked as the head engineer at a civil engineering firm in the city and he’d been there for over 25 years gradually working his way to the top. However he had no idea he was about to be betrayed by the one place where he’d been happiest.

2 Tough Childhood

Born in Moscow Alex had a tough childhood. His family fled the USSR in 1970 and the young boy had to adapt to a new way of life in the States learn English and make friends amid Cold War tensions.

Alex’s father Sergei loved American music and had an extensive record collection. It was when 14-year-old Alex took apart Sergei’s record player and put it back together again that his parents realized their son had a special talent.

3 Career Goals

Alex decided there and then that he would become an engineer and help build the country that had given his family refuge. He studied hard at school earning a scholarship to MIT at the age of 17.

In 1980 Alex graduated top of his year and left feeling invigorated and inspired. However it wasn't long before the young Russian man started feeling disillusioned with the treatment he received.

4 Discrimination

During the New Cold War of the early ‘80s Alex struggled to find work. Companies would hear his Slavic accent and barely take the time to say goodbye before slamming down the phone or shutting the door in his face.

Hostility fear and xenophobia were at an all-time high and the talented engineer was bearing the brunt of it. He was forced to take meager jobs repairing radios and struggled to make ends meet. He was always welcomed at Matryoshka. Known to all the staff they always offered him a hot bowl of borscht even if he didn’t have the money to pay for it.

5 Dream Job

Then finally following the collapse of the USSR Alex got his lucky break. He was repairing a radio belonging to the wife of the CEO of one of the biggest civil engineering firms in the state. Pleased with his work the CEO encouraged Alex to apply for an open position.

Wowing the interviewers with his extensive knowledge innovative approach and meticulous attention to detail Alex got the job. Years went by and he continued to flourish working his way up to become the head engineer known all over the country for his superior skill.

6 Noticing the Passage of Time

However Alex was now 63. He’d raised a family his wife had died of a sudden brain tumor when he was 60 and he was starting to feel like his age was catching up with him. He was grateful to have his job to take his mind off his grief.

But he knew he wasn’t as quick as he used to be and it had been difficult for him to keep up with a lot of the technological advances that had happened in the last few years. He felt the company was changing and he hoped he’d be able to change with it.

7 New CEO

One day the CEO who was the son of the previous CEO who’d hired Alex announced he was stepping down. The firm hired a new CEO and they were sure he was going to shake things up and help the company catch up with the times.

The new CEO came from a tech company in Silicon Valley. Instead of a suit and tie he wore expensive athletic gear and he had a mini basketball hoop in his office. He was always saying things like “synergy” and “blue sky thinking” and sent voice notes rather than emails. Alex wasn’t a fan but he had no idea what was going to happen next.

8 HR Discussion

Not long after the new CEO took over Alex received a message from the HR department inviting him in for a “chat”. He’d never been called into HR before and he had no idea what it could be about. Had someone made a complaint about him? He had good relationships with his colleagues so he didn’t think that could be it.

He walked to the new head of HR’s office a feeling of dread in the pit of his stomach. Whatever this was about he didn’t think they would be offering him a pay rise. He was about to be proved right.

9 Checking In

He knocked on the door and a sugar-sweet voice said “Come in.” A woman named Vivian was behind the desk. She was young and pretty with perfectly manicured nails. She smiled at Alex baring her pearly white teeth. “Take a seat Al” she said. He winced at the shortening of his name.

“Now I just wanted to check in with you and see how you’re doing with all this change. I know it can be unsettling for someone with your level of…maturity. But rest assured the company is only going from strength to strength and it’s my job to weed out any little weaknesses we might have” she continued. Alex had no idea where this was going.

10 First Warning

“Something has been brought to our attention and we really can’t have it happening again so I just wanted to make sure we’re all on the same page. Someone noticed that you’ve been allowing unauthorized personnel into the building and we just can’t have that now can we?” Vivian said.

Alex was nonplussed. What did she mean? And then he realized what she was referring to. The week before a group of visiting engineers had arrived from Germany for a conference and he had held the door open for them. He couldn’t believe he was being penalized for an act of common courtesy. But something told him this wasn’t the real reason he’d been called in.

11 Forced Out

Vivian spoke in an unnaturally bright voice “This will be the last time you do something like this okay? We don’t want to have to lose you. You may return to your work now.”

Alex couldn’t believe he was being spoken to this way—he was a senior member of staff. But he started to realize what was happening. This was just a step on the way to him being forced out. Other senior engineers had also started mysteriously taking early retirement and he could only imagine that they’d also had similar encounters with Vivian. Alex felt utterly broken.

12 Despair

He trudged back to his office looking around at the familiar corridors. He’d spent 25 years of his life there dedicated himself to serving the company. And now they wanted to shunt him out the door without so much as a thank you.

Alex went home that night without stopping for a bite at Matryoshka as he normally did. He didn’t want to face anyone. He didn’t think he could explain what happened without breaking down. After all those years of struggling he knew he deserved better than this and he wasn’t ready to retire.

13 Something Changed

When Alex woke up the next morning he felt a huge weight sitting on his chest. He barely had the energy to get out of bed. But then he got a text message from his grandson that read: “Hi Dedushka we have to bring in someone with an awesome job to speak at school next week. Will you come? No other kids will have someone who’s done as many cool things as you. Can’t wait to play chess this weekend! Andrey xxx.”

Tears welled in Alex’s eyes and a fire burned inside him. He DID have an awesome job and he was great at it as he had proved in over a quarter of a century of hard work. He wasn’t going to go down without a fight.

14 Formulating a Plan

At work the next day Alex mulled over his options. The company was no longer the same company he had loved working for and he wanted to punish them for the way they treated him. The only question was how should he get his revenge.

He was an extremely clever man and he knew there were plenty of things he could do to make the new CEO’s life a misery. He wanted to prove that he wasn’t dispensable that experts mattered. By the end of the day he had come up with the perfect plan. All he needed to do now was set it in motion.

15 Working Overtime

For the next two weeks Alex worked overtime putting in extra hours every single day. He came home exhausted but satisfied. He knew he was doing the right thing and he could hardly wait to see what happened once he had finished.

His engineering colleagues noticed a change in their friend but Alex would only grin enigmatically and said they’d find out what he’d done soon enough. Their jobs were also on the line and they only assumed Alex was working extra hard in order to stay on. They couldn’t have been more wrong.

16 Resignation Day

Finally the day had come. Alex had his letter of resignation typed up and ready. He came into work wearing his smartest suit and brought in some special Russian sweets for the staff room.

He strode down the corridor towards Vivian’s office and knocked on the door. She ushered him looking irritated. She was on the phone with a friend talking animatedly about a movie she’d seen. Alex tossed the letter onto her desk with a flourish. She barely looked at him. It wouldn’t be long before she regretted her treatment of this master engineer.

17 Hectic Telephone Conversation

Alex gathered his things and strode out of the office. He had lots of holiday days to use up so there was no need for him to stay and work his two-week notice period. He was done.

He was halfway down the street when his phone started buzzing insistently. It was Vivian and she sounded frantic. “Mr. Ivanov—what have you DONE? Get back here right now and fix it! Alex please! You can’t leave us like this. You owe it to the company” she demanded.

18 Not My Job

“Sorry Vivian. It’s not my job anymore. And I don’t owe the company anything. You guys will just have to figure it out. Good luck” he said coolly.

He hung up the phone leaving Vivian screaming frantically at the dial tone. He could only imagine the chaos that was just beginning back at the office. He felt lighter than he had done in months with a spring in his step. It was a crisp fall day and Alex decided he would head to Central Park for a stroll. His company was about to realize they made a very big mistake when they tried to force out Alex Ivanov.

19 Utilizing His Proficiencies

During those two weeks of overtime Alex had been busy making sure the company would fall apart as soon as he left. As the head engineer he had skills that the new tech-bro CEO could only dream of.

He had put those skills to good use and he knew no one else would be competent enough to pick up the pieces once he had gone. He couldn’t wait to find out the impact of what he had done.

20 Making Changes

Alex had systematically taken each of the company’s plans for bridges buildings and more plans that he himself had created and made small changes to each of them. The changes would be imperceptible to anyone but an expert but they would mean the difference between safe structures and mass casualties. In his letter of resignation he let them know exactly what he’d done.

Not only that Alex had made upgrades to the software system that controlled the office building. Key cards stopped working the wifi went down and all the passwords changed. It was chaos.

21 He Alone Was Aware

He had destroyed the company from the inside. Only he knew exactly what changes he had made and how they could be fixed and he wasn’t going to share the solutions with anyone any time soon.

Alex knew it was harsh but he wanted to prove a point to show the company exactly what it had done in ousting any older employees who didn’t "fit in" anymore no matter their level of expertise. Alex’s takeover had ramifications that even he couldn’t have predicted.

22 Unexpected Impact

Not only could the company not use any of the plans they’d made in the last year but every aspect of the business was affected. The CEO was in trouble. As his team of trendy young posers struggled to get things back in order he realized how little he knew about the industry he was supposed to be leading.

He sat in his office head in his hands. He had a secret that he hadn’t revealed to anyone but now he had no other choice but to come clean.

23 Late Night Visitor

That night Alex heard a knock at the door. He opened it gingerly. He didn’t think what he’d done had been illegal but what if Vivian found a way to report him to the police? But it wasn’t the police. It was Trent the new CEO. He looked pale and desperate.

“Alex I’m so sorry. Please come back to us. I know I haven’t been treating you senior guys well but I’m in way over my head. I’ve never told anyone this but my father paid my way into MIT. I failed the SATs. I’m in way over my head. I don’t know how any of this works. Please man you gotta help me” Trent desperately said.

24 Evaluating His Choices

Alex looked at the young man who had seemed powerful. Now he looked pitiful. He couldn’t believe this swaggering CEO had gone to the very same institution that he had gone to all those years before but this man had bagged his way in. It was eye-opening.

Alex knew the ball was in his court. He could leave them high and dry and he wouldn’t need to think another thing about it. But it wasn’t really in his character. He had been driven by revenge before but now he saw the reality of the pain and stress he was causing. He turned to Trent. “Okay I’ll help you put things right but I have a few conditions…” Alex told the CEO.

25 Correcting Mistakes

In the end Alex came back to the company for one week enough time for him to fix the problems he’d caused. Trent was grovellingly grateful but that wasn’t enough. Alex had other ideas of how the company could be improved for the colleagues he was leaving behind.

He got Trent to sign the company up for an age discrimination seminar and input protocols to protect older staff members from wrongful dismissal. Alex also fought for better severance packages for his colleagues who'd been forced to resign. He wanted a decent amount to put away for his grandson Andrey's college fund.

26 Greener Pastures

After it was all over Alex decided he still wasn’t ready to retire. He felt he was at his professional prime and had more than proved it in the last few weeks. The chaos he caused was a testament to his unique skill and knowledge.

But would he be able to find a new position? He was 63 after all and his experience with his company had taught him that most people saw him as past it. But still he wasn’t going to give up.

27 Interviews

With renewed vigor Alex started applying for any senior engineering position he could find and within days he’d landed three interviews. The first two places wrote him off as soon as they saw his gray hair he could tell. But the third place was different.

The company was made up of a diverse range of ages and backgrounds and it was clear that Alex would fit in well. The young interviewer was extremely impressed with his experience and invited him to start right away. They needed talent like his on the team.

28 Finding Respect

Alex was nervous on his first day but he needn’t have been. His new colleagues welcomed him like an old friend. His new position was a consultant role and the younger engineers looked to him as a kind of oracle.

He was a fantastic teacher slowly and methodically assisting them with their plans and fixing flaws that only he could have seen with his superior level of maturity and competency. Alex finally found the respect he deserved and he couldn’t wait to go into Andrey’s school and get the kids excited about engineering.

29 Envisioning the Future

Alex Ivanov dreamed of being an engineer since he was a young boy. When he finally landed his dream job he dedicated over 25 years of his life to a company he thought valued and respected him. He never expected he would be forced out and forced to teach them a lesson they’d never forget.

We're sure Alex is thriving in his new job and teaching all his younger colleagues to be the best engineers they can be. We just hope he still has time to enjoy piroshki at Matryoshka and play chess with his grandson.