Dear John,

A dreaded phrase representing the end of a relationship. The realization from one party that what had been built to bind two together was now untenable.

There is so much wrapped up in that phrase, a sense of loss, of disappointment, and in some cases, betrayal.

Dear George,

I process my thoughts and emotions on the page. As I have come to appreciate my work situation with less gut-emotion and more critical thinking, I was disappointed that there was not an equivalent type of precedent for the ending of a employee / employer relationship.

I sat down this weekend to craft such a letter, a “Dear George” I am calling it, detailing why I feel my staying with my current employer is untenable.

I have truly valued my time in the George A. Smathers Library, and part of me is genuinely loathe to leave, but the more rational side, the part of me that can predict possible paths forward and the likelihood of certain situations to resolve in a way that I can continue to grow, tells me that this kind of resolution is highly unlikely at this point.

So, I drafted my letter, and worked through the complex thoughts and feelings behind why I cannot foresee a reasonable way to stay an employee of this library system. And though it hurts, I know that my decision is the right one for me.

And maybe the concept of “Dear George” letters will become a thing, and other people will gain value from a breakup letter to their employer even if, like my letter, it is never sent.

Image of Smathers library, with sunrise through windows of grand reading room

George A. Smathers library


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January 2020