A ‘dangerous’ woman’s letter of resignation

Annie Chalker currently works at an independent pharmacy in upstate New York. She is in the midst of applying for postgraduate studies. In her free time she enjoys reading and hiking.

Dear Boss,

I suppose this letter should really say “Dear Bosses” as it is not really directed towards you, but more of a collective “you.” Perhaps even “Dear Collective Boss.”

I’m not really sure when the divide happened, only that I know it did happen. Our work life is no longer “us,” but “you” and “me.” Maybe it was always supposed to be this way, and I was naïve in thinking that it could be anything else. But I digress; please accept this letter as a sign of my resignation. This is not solely about wanting to explore other opportunities, a change in circumstances, or even a chance for more money. However, I feel our visions for a better work environment are no longer cohesive. What I see as a possibility to reach for something better and more efficient, is something you see as obscene, a break from the status quo, and possibly dangerous. I am afraid that if I am viewed in this manner, it is best we part our professional relationship on as best terms as we are able to manage.

Throughout my adult life, I have worked in service positions. As you all remember, I have put in my tenure as a maid, a waitress, and a pharmacy clerk. You will all be pleased to know that while I may have come home from work absolutely dead tired, I have never woke up the next morning and thought how much my work life sucked. I didn’t mind having to clean the toilet after a busy dinner service or spend hours dusting various knick knacks and their shelves. I wouldn’t even mind if I had to stay later than I had planned. I can pull myself by the bootstraps and get what needs to be done, done. My only request in this is that you ask me like an equal. Here is where I have a bone to pick with you. I’m sorry to say that I don’t feel my request has been met.

Now here is where you may object with a reminder of the roles we play with statements such as “Well, I’m the boss and you are the employee,” or “I own this (insert work establishment here), and I will run it how I like,” or the ever popular “It’s your job.” Thank you. Those are all very true statements. I am well aware of our different roles and the requirements each have and you may operate in the manner you see fit. However, (and brace yourself this is where my “radical” idea is about to insert itself) why can’t we act as equals to one another? I don’t bow to you just as I would not expect you to kick me. Why do you have to bellow for something? Why can’t you just ask nicely? Why do you see me as something lesser than how I see myself?

You know that I am someone who wants to go a little further than where she was before. Albeit, someone who may not have the directions. But once I have the map, I’m someone who climbs higher and higher, constantly. I climb one hill, see another one that is slightly higher, and set my sights on a new target. That’s just how I am. I mean it’s not how I always was. But that is the person I am now. I feel I will keep being this person until there are no more worthwhile hills to climb or the fight is just gone from me.

Now, you may not realize this, but this is a trait that you can use to your advantage. You had someone who is driven forward by searching for “better.” I know that “better” may be suggestive, but “better” can be a way to jumpstart a conversation; a conversation that didn’t have to happen through a letter. Maybe we could have come up with a compromise that didn’t require either of us to sacrifice too much. But we didn’t talk, and now we are where we are.

Perhaps the blame is not one sided and I, too, am responsible for this. I didn’t fight for myself like I should have. Instead, I pushed it aside to ignore and left it to fester. That is my mistake and I will own up to that one. I let myself become this “dangerous” woman as you so nicely put it. I went to school. I read books. I worked hard. I read books. I went to university. I read books. I made time to think. I built myself up to be a person a younger me would want to be, a person I would want to talk to if waiting at an airport, a person whose footprints would not vanish like those on the beach.

I have had a long, hard think about what exactly makes me “dangerous.” I don’t smoke. I don’t drive recklessly. I don’t air my political opinions onto an unsuspecting public. Perhaps you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting other people like me. Pleased to have made your acquaintance. Fear not, my “dangerous” types, or “Fem-Nazi” as you so topically put it, are actually the victims of a misnomer and we are a gentle folk. What you see as danger, is perhaps more unknown.

We have come a long way from the early Homo sapiens who viewed every unknown as dangerous and the source of something that could impair your life. You don’t panic at every algebra equation, even if you aren’t the best at mathematics. You see the unknown variable and you try and understand it. You see how it works with the rest of the equation, until eventually what started as a question reads like a statement of fact. Why yes, x+5x=30. Yes of course, x=5. 5+5(5)=30. That makes perfect sense. We could have all worked this out. We could have had something that reads like an equation. It would have just made sense.

However, we are obviously on very different wavelengths. I have a thought, you find it inconsequential. I stand, you push me down. I speak, you silence me.

Why is it so wrong to think together? To stand together? To speak together?

Well, you are entitled to your opinions, but I’m afraid I will not be part of the plans that involve me being constrained to a limited thought process, one step behind you, or silent at my expense. To my father, future spouse, and other “bosses” – consider this notice to take effect immediately. Because I can no longer expect you to do so, I will be speaking on my own behalf from now on. You can now use this valuable time to learn a new skill. I believe the reason you gave for why I always had to wash dishes was because I was so good at it. Now is your chance to improve.

I hope there are no hard feelings from this separation.

Thank you for your time,