May 2, 2024 at 11:20 pm

New Manager Kept Hearing About How One Employee Was Trouble, But Instead Of Firing Him He Got Him Promoted

by Chris Allen

Source: Reddit/Pexels

As a manager, trusting your employees and your co-workers goes a long way in creating a healthy work environment.

Whereas micro-managing, holding grudges, etc creates a toxic nightmare that fuels nothing but resentment.

That’s the setting for this story of seeing the worth in people, and going that extra mile for them.

Makes you feel good inside.

Not only am I NOT going to fire him

Have you ever worked with someone who you know immediately is really something special?

I’ve had a few opportunities to work with people like this and my first thought is “I want to help this person get wherever it is they’re going.”

I worked for a non-profit for a while after retiring from the Army.

First day on the job, one of my peers on the leadership team pulled me aside and warned me about one of the guys on my team.

I always love a good script in a Reddit story, don’t you?

Jane: You’ll have to keep a close eye on Willie. He’s low-effort, takes a lot of hand-holding, rubs people the wrong way, and honestly we’re considering firing him.

Me: Thanks for the heads up! You never know what you’re getting into at a new position, so I appreciate having the info. <f***, what have I walked into?>

But then he found out more about Willie, and realized he was not what Jane made him out to be.

But then I started working closely with Willie and made some discoveries.

Sure, Willie was an introvert – kept to himself and could be a touch socially awkward – but he knew his job inside and out.

He managed my department’s logistics requirements precisely – we always had what we needed, but never too much excess static stock on hand.

He found innovative ways to work with our community partners.

He built new initiatives that capitalized on existing resources without incurring additional costs – a very important skill to have in a non-profit.

He was even a positive force outside of the company as well with donors.

He impressed donors so much that he actually convinced them to contribute significant sums in support of his additional duty department – and he wasn’t even part of the fundraising team.

Willie was a quiet rock star, and I quickly realized how lucky I was to have him.

Then he found out why they all had their knives out for him.

Despite all this, the rest of the regional leadership team seemed to have it in for him.

I found out later what it was that set them off. Willie had made an off-hand comment to Jane about a year before I joined.

Nothing sexist or bad, just a casual observation about a physical aspect of the office space that Jane interpreted poorly.

She shared it with other leaders in the org, they decided that the comment made their teeth itch, and it became a snowball that quickly rolled over Willie’s reputation.

The comment was relayed to me by a third party a few months after my arrival.

I went and talked to Willie about it directly – I wanted to get his take. Our discussion revealed that it was totally innocuous, but misinterpretation had caused a misunderstanding and the damage was done.

Rather than asking questions of Willie to clarify, they assumed a bunch of s*** and ran with it.

He found out just how insidious this whole operation really was.

The stage was set, and Willie had realized that he didn’t have a future at our location.

Leadership had made up their minds about him and were actively blocking his options when they learned about any moves he was trying to make.

I knew of at least 3 instances where they torpedoed his chances for interviews at other nearby locations in the organization, tripping him before he even got out of the gate.

Willie knew if he was going to advance, it was going to be somewhere else. He started looking for new work and he eventually found something at another branch of our organization in a different state.

He kept it very quiet, got the interview, and the other region was assessing the different candidates.

The only other person in our region who knew about it was me, and that was only because I’d spent months gaining Willie’s trust – he knew he could confide in me and I wouldn’t s*** on him.

Everyone’s noticing Willie has been doing so much better.

Around that time, Jane hit me up again about Willie :

Jane: I’m amazed by the changes in Willie since you came on board – you’ve really done a lot to mentor him and get him up to his full potential!

Me: I have done a lot of work where Willie is concerned. Some of it was helping him with professional development . . . but most of it has been focused on shifting the leadership team’s perspective.

He’s really not that different from when I arrived, but as you just indicated, your perception of him has definitely changed.

I’ve put a lot of effort into just letting him shine, giving him credit for the good things he does, and staying out of his way.

He didn’t need micromanagement, he needed room to run. Every time he achieved something I made a point of highlighting his success and the benefit it brought to our organization.

Then he dropped the bomb on Jane.

The work I did wasn’t on him, it was on you.

Jane: ” . . . ”

Back to Willie: I asked if he wanted me to go to bat for him in the hiring process with the other region. He said he’d appreciate the help so I called the manager at the other location and told her “I don’t want to lose Willie, but all the reasons why I want him to stay here are the same reasons why you need him there.

The problem is, if Willie stays here the organization is going to lose him because they won’t promote him.

I’d rather have him stay with the organization in a different place than lose his commitment and skills entirely.”

And then they go on to talk about all the rigamo – oh wait. That was fast.

She hired him. Of course, it was all him – skills, experience, interview – she knew she was getting someone amazing.

My recommendation was just icing on the cake – made it easier for her to decide what she already knew.

Willie’s taste of sweet, sweet revenge came when the leadership team had to eat crow as they congratulated him on his move.

Willie knew this team of “leaders” had put a lot of effort into making sure he’d never advance. Some of their “congratulations” were less than genuine, including Jane’s.

But that wasn’t the end.

Not yet.

The cherry on top was that the pay and position at the new job was half a step above mine and the rest of the leadership team.

That’s right – he moved on, he moved up, and he outranked us all.

A most excellent “eff you” to the folks who had stood in his way.

He actually let us in on what it was that Willie said that was so outrageous to kick off this entire drama.

eta Willie’s comment to Jane:

Willie: You can hear people’s conversations in other offices because walls only go up to the drop ceiling.


My take: Jane never stopped to think that maybe if Willie was intent on eavesdropping, he probably wouldn’t have highlighted the sound leakage.

Let’s see what folks had to say about this saga.

One person just flat out couldn’t believe it all erupted over that one comment.

Source: Reddit/PettyRevenge

Another person was pointing at the scoreboard.

Source: Reddit/PettyRevenge

While one commenter was just so glad to see it all pan out like that.

Source: Reddit/PettyRevenge

And this Redditor pointed out something worth sharing with the class.

Source: Reddit/PettyRevenge

My how the turntable rotates.

This is a very satisfying story.

If you liked this post, check out this story about an employee who got revenge on a co-worker who kept grading their work suspiciously low.