A Letter To The Employer Who Almost Broke Me

I am sharing this to help women, and Latinas in particular, to remember that abuse comes in many forms. Abuse happens in personal relationships, intimate relationships, and unfortunately for me, in work relationships. I thought a lot about writing about this; I want it to be a lesson for all of us that we don’t have to allow workplace abuse to continue. I encourage you to stand up for yourself and make yourself (and your mental health) a priority.

Dear Ex-Boss, 

Over the 13.5 years that I dedicated my life to the organization and community, I faithfully executed my duties under three managers and many different co-workers. In those 13.5 years, not once did I experience the workplace hostility, intimidation, and emotional stress I experienced under your management. 

I always considered myself a strong person. But in the three months that I worked for you, you almost managed to break me mentally and emotionally. I’ve worked for managers in previous organizations who had strong personalities. They would get angry and yell in the office. But still, they never disrespected me or treated me as badly as you did. 

In the first three months that you were at our location you managed to create a hostile work environment, where our entire office had anxiety every time we clocked in. You disrespected my dignity, treated me as inferior in front of others, and made me doubt my self-worth. I started to doubt my work and all that I had accomplished under previous management. I had never felt this way, and did not want to accept that you had such a toxic effect on my mental health. 

I went to human resources multiple times, but you would retaliate and make things worse. I realized that human resources was not going to help. After three months of stress, anxiety, and depression, I realized that even the strong need help. So, I went to therapy. My doctor put me on medical leave for three months to work on self-care. I attended group therapy to learn techniques to cope with my mental health, such as mindfulness and letting things go that I can’t control. During those three months, I prayed and meditated daily and put it all in God’s hands to guide me. My relationship with God became stronger than ever, but my faith in the Catholic church started to diminish. 

God helped me to get through that difficult time. And for the sake of my well-being, I decided to resign. I admit I was scared to resign, I didn’t know what was next for me. But I knew that I could not return to the environment you created. I no longer allowed you to disrespect my dignity; I no longer allowed you to yell at me and treat me as inferior to you in front of others. 

It saddens me that the organization allowed this to happen, because I doubt that I was the first employee you treated that way. I honestly never imagined being treated like that by anyone, and it really took an emotional toll on me to acknowledge that this treatment is not acceptable, no matter what position you hold.

It’s been over a year since I resigned and I am in a much better place. I was very angry at first and upset that the organization allowed you to treat employees like you treated me. I have no trust in the organization and it made me doubt their values and teachings. But God continues to help me cope, and I now feel stronger than ever emotionally and mentally. People tell me how you continue to talk badly about me and blame me. At first it made me angry, but I no longer hold a grudge. I will no longer give you power over my mental health. I pray for the community and you. I hope you do not continue to treat others the way you treated me. I am still working on trusting the organization again, but as long as I trust in God, that is all that matters. I leave it in God’s hands, and I know that He will continue to guide and lead me to where He sees fit. 

I used to feel ashamed for admitting that you caused my mental health breakdown, but I no longer feel ashamed. I am no longer ashamed to acknowledge that I needed therapy. I am still strong. God continues to work on and through me. I no longer doubt myself and am proud of the work I did under previous management. Regardless of what you think of me, I know my worth and all the hard work that my team and I accomplished over the years. We did a lot of great things for the community, and that’s truly what matters. 


A Stronger and Wiser Ex-Employee

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Lety Gomez

Lety Gomez

Lety Gómez was born and raised in East San Jose. She is married with three children. She is proud to be the first in her family to attend college and receive a bachelor’s degree. When she was a teenager, Fr. Mateo Sheedy was the pastor of her parish, Sacred Heart of Jesus. She fondly remembers his passion for social justice, especially justice for the immigrant community in San Jose and ensuring that the parish youth had access to high quality education. Fr. Mateo instilled in her his passion for social justice, but for many years it was kept unlit, deep inside of her. It wasn’t until her youngest daughter was enrolled at Rocketship Fuerza Community Prep in 2014 that her passion for social justice lit up. Thanks to the Rocketship parent organizer at that time, Lety received training and the tools to use her voice for social justice and learned about community organizing. She is proud to be one of the many parents who worked hard to open their school, knowing that the kids needed and deserved a better public school. That struggle is why they named their school Rocketship Fuerza Community Prep. “Fuerza” is the Spanish word for force, strength, or power. Her passion for advocating for equity in education has allowed her to be a voice for other parents in her community who seek high quality education options. In 2014, she chaired the first parent-led Mayoral candidates forum in San Jose, where she realized the power parents have to create change in their communities. She wants to share her story with other parents in an effort to motivate them to get involved so they can advocate together, because united, they can make a change in the educational system and in their communities. In 2020 Lety moved to Texas, where she continues to advocate for equity in public education and school choice across our country.

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