He’d been working for the company for more than four decades, and as far as he was concerned, a lot of the things he did were the very reason the company was still afloat.
He’d expected the new management to at least acknowledge what he did, but when they went ahead to show him otherwise, he knew he had to teach them a lesson.
Malcolm had worked as an engineer in Cincinnati for years. After finishing college in the early 80s, he was lucky enough to find employment with an upcoming electrical company in the city.
As the company was still young, Malcolm and the owner cum manager quickly became good friends. For Malcolm, working in a field that he was passionate about was vital. But with the company, he’d experience more.
Starting in such a young company wasn’t as easy as Malcolm would’ve wanted it to be. The hours were long, the work too much, and the staff too small.
But such odds pushed him and his colleagues to work harder, hoping that with the onset of the 90’s digital era, they’d be among the biggest companies in the city. They had no idea what the future held for them.
Among the handful of workers in the company, Malcolm showed the most promise in innovation and mastering the company’s existing systems.
His manager quickly noticed this, taking Malcolm under her wing as the months counted by. They would slowly perfect their product, rising through the city’s ranks until they established themselves as a powerhouse in their field.
Malcolm became a huge deal in the company as the years blurred by. He continued to prove himself on each occasion the company would present. He brought in new ideas and constantly reworked the existing ones to make them more robust.
His passion and dedication netted him several awards, and by the end, he’d become the head of the technology unit, a subdivision of the company’s engineering division. But things would only go up from there.
Malcolm continued to apply himself at work. It reached a point where the manager trusted him with some of the most crucial company designs to build and assemble.
And these weren’t your run-of-the-mill products either. Malcolm was dealing with patented company assets that were the main reason they were relevant in the city. He was the lifeblood of the company.
An expert in what he did, Malcolm consistently churned out quality work, and after a while, his manager promoted him to head of engineering.
The new position didn’t dumb down his work ethic or dedication. If anything, it sharpened his focus, ensuring he was more effective at his job. He had no clue that his position would bring its set of issues later down the road.
Being the head of the engineering department was everything to Malcolm. His designs brought in many clients, praising the company’s craftsmanship and attention to detail.
But the only people who knew how to build the parts in question. As expected, one of them was Malcolm and the other his boss, the company owner. But this would soon change.
Forty years later, Malcolm’s boss would make an announcement that would shatter the company morale. She was retiring after decades at the helm and was in talks with an established electronics developer in the city about selling the company.
She promised the new management would be as she was, always welcoming but strict when needed. She’d only wanted the best for what she’d taken years to build. But her retiring would be the first push to the largest domino effect the company would ever see.
Malcolm’s boss retired as she’d promised, and soon enough, the new management came. They were civil at first, ensuring that everyone was comfortable enough to continue working with them.
But a few months later, their true colors began showing. Malcolm didn’t want to believe at first, mainly because he believed his previous boss would leave them in capable hands. But with time, things became clear.
The company’s new management fell on Malcolm and his workmates like a storm in the middle of the ocean. Before, the company’s employees had enjoyed several benefits, including generous amounts of paid vacation that accumulated to ten weeks.
For Malcolm and everybody else in the company, the benefits had been some of the reasons why they loved working with their old boss. She cared for them and was never shy to show it. Then came the new owners.
The first thing the new management did was to strip down the vacation weeks from ten to four. They also started going after anyone close to retirement, firing them without discussion.
Malcolm saw everything that was happening while in the confines of his office. He saw several people who’d spent decades in the company get fired, and he knew he had to step in.
Malcolm went to the new manager to talk the situation out. “Most of these people you are firing were here when this company was a baby,” he said.
“Well,” said the manager as he leaned forward on his desk, “The company is no longer a baby, is it?” Malcolm only smiled at him and left. He didn’t know he’d just shook the hornet’s nest.
Malcolm was sure his position in the company would protect him from the massive layoffs that had plagued the company for a month now. But one day, the new manager walked in with a letter in hand.
In a short conversation with Malcolm, he informed him they were bringing in a younger person for him to train in building the company’s unique equipment. Malcolm’s mouth fell open.
Malcolm sat on his workbench long after working hours were over that day. The new management was bringing in someone for him to train, which could only mean one thing. It was getting rid of him.
Malcolm’s hands formed fists, and fury burned within him. After all he and his fellow workmates had built, they were being hurled out of the company like they meant nothing. He walked back to his desk and sat down. What could he do now?
Throughout Malcolm’s stay in the company, he’d never butted heads with his superiors. And now, less than a year of new management, he was ready to walk into his new manager’s office and give him a piece of his mind.
But Malcolm breathed out the rage. There is always more than one way to skin a fish, he said to himself. A smile spread across his face. He knew what he needed to do.
Malcolm had accumulated ten weeks of vacation that year. The new management had agreed that any week past the fourth week would go unpaid. Malcolm didn’t care.
He showed up the following day with his vacation request but didn’t hand it in yet. He made sure the day he’d leave for vacation coincided with the day the new hire he was to train would come, then handed the request to his boss.
Although his boss seemed infuriated, he couldn’t do anything about the vacation. Malcolm left immediately, knowing a wildfire was about to consume the company.
As he left, Malcolm called his old boss and explained everything. She informed him that she’d gotten several calls from other employees who’d been fired and was sorry that it’d happened. When Malcolm told her what he’d done, she proposed something that made his lips curl.
“Do you plan on going back?” Malcolm’s old boss asked, to which he said no. She told him that the new management would need the parts he used to create, or the company wouldn’t survive past the ten weeks he was on vacation.
“I will teach them a lesson,” Malcolm’s old boss said. She wished Malcolm a good vacation and asked him to call her when he felt like getting back to work.
While spending time with his wife and kids at home, Malcolm’s old boss visited. She informed him that the company had reached out to her, asking if she could come in to train the new hire.
“They ran through all the reserve equipment you left and couldn’t build others,” she said. “I charged them $1.2 million to train their new hire,” she added. But that wasn’t the best thing she said that evening.
“A close friend of mine has a similar business in the city,” she said. “I know you’re soon to retire, but would you mind going in as a consultant? The pay is good, and the job is less demanding than the one you had.”
Seeing that he was a few years from retirement, Malcolm agreed and went to the new job as a consultant. Little did he know the mountain of trouble waiting for him.
Malcolm’s days as a consultant were way different than what he was used to. His new company was making similar products to his previous one.
Although he didn’t make it his life mission to undermine the other company, he couldn’t help but want to create a better product than what he’d been producing for the last four decades. He hadn’t been at the company for a year when his workmates noticed a change in their productivity.
Malcolm’s presence as a consultant became a boon to the company. Together with the young minds of his department, he renovated the formulas he once knew, creating entirely new and better products.
It wasn’t long before his company began racking in considerable numbers in terms of profits. But of course, this success would bring in unwanted eyes to Malcolm and all he’d achieved so far.
Malcolm’s old company kept an eye on his achievements and couldn’t believe he was working for a company that was quickly putting them out of business.
It began a thorough dissection of all the products Malcolm’s company was releasing into the market, looking for any patent infringement. It wouldn’t be long until they found something worth going after.
Malcolm’s position as a consultant ensured he had ample time from work innovating on the systems and products he’d once known.
But what his company was selling was far more than the same product he’d been used to over the years. Still, his previous company was furious after losing so much and still losing after he left. It was out to get him.
Malcolm’s previous company finally amassed enough evidence to prove what he was helping his current company produce was an infringement of its product patent.
It sent out the best of its lawyers after Malcolm, hoping it would muddy his credibility as an engineer and ruin whatever working years he had left before retiring. It had no idea what grave it was digging for itself.
Although relatively young people ran Malcolm’s current company, it had one of the best legal teams on the eastern seaboard. They formed a protective wall around Malcolm, letting the other company doom itself before finally pouncing.
On the other hand, the other company went to court with their list of evidence. They were sure they would win the case when everything started turning sour.
The first thing Malcolm’s company did was prove their products weren’t a copy of the other company’s intellectual property.
They brought out receipts that proved their products existed way before they hired Malcolm as a consultant, stating that the only thing he did was help them streamline their product. But the fight was only beginning.
Malcolm’s company won the case, only to sue the other company for defamation. It claimed damages for its employee’s name being slandered and its reputation being ruined.
Additionally, it stated that it had used many company resources to clear its name from the accusations floating all over the city. Its settlement was playing at upwards of five million dollars.
The other company’s management froze in place as it realized the problems it had brought on itself. The more it tried to prove its case, the more Malcolm’s company dredged up more issues for it.
In the end, it paid seven million dollars in defamation settlement on top of the one million it paid Malcolm’s first boss for training its new hire.