Dear Former Boss,
This is a letter that is going to explain why I left you, and not the company or industry I worked hard to be part of since 2009. I don’t owe you this explanation. In fact, this isn’t for you at all. I do, however, owe the public the strength I found in my decision to leave you.
It was not a secret that you and I had different personalities from the beginning of our working relationship. I decided to look past those differences because I wanted to advance in our industry. I wanted a challenge, and I was excited to take on the one that you offered me.
My initial thought was that you hired me because you believed in me. I thought you believed I was talented and knowledgable. After a few months, your actions and words showed me that you did not believe in either of these things I brought to our company.
Firstly, my suggestions and opinions were unwelcome. My creative side, however, was exploited. You regularly stole names or themes for contests that I came up with and claimed them as your own. I let this go for a few months, but after a year I called you on out on it to your face privately. Your response was, “Yeah, I know.” It was accompanied by the fakest “sad face” that should’ve won you an academy award. I left the room at that moment because it was obvious that we weren’t going to see eye to eye on that conduct.
When decisions had to be made, I made them. If you didn’t like the decision I made, I heard about it – and felt as though I was being called into a principal’s office. You must’ve forgotten that you were either physically or mentally absent at those times, and I had no other recourse but to solve those issues on my own.
It was rare that we had a positive interaction. Our communication was always off and we never understood each other. When I expressed this concern to you, I was told “I’m sorry you feel that way” and was ignored. Yet in our “team meetings,” you expressed that you wanted us to look at each other as brothers and sisters. How could I do this when I hadn’t even earned your trust? Our “team” ended up becoming so after nurturing and supporting each other privately – after you caused other “team members” hardship as well. Did we vent at work? Yes. We did. We did this because we weren’t getting a response from you – only marching orders. God help us if we tried to work ahead because that was frowned upon. You wanted complete control.
You disrespected our time by abusing it. You were regularly late to your own meetings you’d arranged. We were called into your office randomly (on your time) and expected to be available for you via phone and e-mail twenty-four hours a day. You would actually time how long we’d gone without responding to you if something happened over a weekend. When I explained that my weekends were mine and I didn’t sign a contract saying I had to be so available, I was told, “that’s not how this works.” I was reprimanded for keeping my weekends to myself. We were supposed to view ourselves as “emergency workers” and that’s why we had to be so available in your mind, and yet we couldn’t help listeners struggling with mental health issues because we weren’t “qualified” to do so. So, what were we boss? Your puppets?
After sending myself to suicidal ideation over this, I wanted to return to work to give my career another chance – not you. I lasted three months before I decided to leave you. On the day that I put in my notice, you asked, “is there anything I can do?” I told you, “I don’t know. I don’t feel like I’ve made you happy in two years of working with you.” Your response was, “Oh, I’m sorry.” You then quickly returned to answering emails on your laptop.
While this letter might appear to shame you, again – this letter isn’t for you. This letter is to hopefully inspire all managers to do better, and all workplaces to cultivate a better work environment.