As well they should, Tripp says. "One of the things bosses can do is give lousy assignments," and they can also "reprimand people, give people lousy shifts, dock pay and fire them," he says.
All of us are prone to thoughts of retribution on occasion. (We're people, not puppies, after all.) So in the interest of avenging oneself in the safest possible manner, allow me to make several suggestions:
Kill them with kindness: Rather than take your best potshot, turn on the saccharine and keep your adversaries guessing. "It's more important to just be able to cope with someone," says Julie Jansen, author of "You Want Me to Work With Who? Eleven Keys to a Stress-Free, Satisfying, and Successful Work Life."
"If someone knows they did sometime terrible to you, like stole your idea and presented it as their own, they're always going to be waiting for the other shoe to drop if you're ultra nice to them," she says.
Outshine the competition: Color me petty, but even after talking with Tripp, I remain a fan of the "working harder to show up the competition" tactic, especially if a co-worker has gone out of his way to cut you down in front of clients or management.
If you're predisposed to hard work anyway, and you're not doing anything to countersabotage the initial offender, what's the harm in showing your nemesis who's really boss?
Move on: If the worst happens and you lose your job, don't retaliate. Take a pen from the supply room on your way out if you must, but don't conveniently "forget" to return the $2,500 laptop and don't e-mail a computer virus to the entire company.
"If you think it's not going to come back to haunt you, you're wrong," says Jackie Valent, who is director of human resources in the Milwaukee office of accounting giant Deloitte and has worked in HR for 20 years. "Things get around, especially if you work in a small industry or a small city. You need to weigh the implication on your long-term career."
A better strategy is to "take a hard, introspective look at yourself and see if there's something you can improve," says Jansen, especially if getting the boot is an ongoing occurrence in your work life. If you can't get feedback from your employer (as will frequently be the case), ask a handful of trusted friends and colleagues to weigh in.
After all, the best revenge is moving on to bigger and better, not festering in some jail cell because you took a blow torch to the CEO's Mercedes.
This work is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.
Michelle Goodman is a freelance journalist, author and former cubicle dweller. Her books -- "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide: Practical Career Advice for Women Who Think Outside the Cube" and "My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire" (October 2008) -- offer an irreverent take on the traditional career guide. More tips on career change, flex work and the freelance life can be found on her blog, Anti9to5Guide.com