The Taste of Poetic Justice

Originally published 12/20/10

When I was in school, we defined poetic justice as: "he who lives by the sword, dies by the sword". Its a common literary device, and tends to be very popular with readers or viewers of film.

But how sweet is the taste of a personal villain "getting theirs"? Most people have experienced a shadow of this -- when that sedan overtaking you on the road, clearly going twenty or more miles per hour over the speed limit, is pulled over by a cop a couple miles further down the road.

Yeah! That's what I'm talking about! Gives you a shot of personal moral justification.

Not too long ago, I had the opportunity to experience this on a somewhat grander scale. A former peer whom I felt had undermined me and helped bring about the end of an otherwise successful career, was in turn ousted from his role.

It left me with a kind of odd feeling, overall.

While I admit to a little fist pumping when I first got the word, enough time has passed, and I've moved on far enough to also feel an odd combination of pity and sympathy as well. While it pains me slightly to admit it, my former nemesis is actually a pretty talented guy. And while he might initially tell himself that he pulled the trigger on his departure, I think he'll have to deal with the fact eventually that he was voted off the island. And I know from personal experience, its kind of hard to do.

It's an odd feeling, to not be dancing a jig.

When I reflect on the bigger picture, the same couple of business units that felled me, also caused the demise of no less than eight other senior executives in a span of twelve years. That business is a sausage making machine, with a butcher who keeps trying different cuts of meat when he doesn't like the taste of the sausage. Unfortunately the butcher never checks to see if there's something wrong inside the sausage grinder itself.

Yeah, I do feel some sympathy for the guy.