to all the garbage library leadership I’ve loathed before

To the male manager who told me I needed to work two nights when everyone else only worked one because I was “single and had no one to go home to”;

To the same male manager who cited my musical ability as a pro when I was hired, but then wrote on my performance evaluation “Julie’s musical ability intimidates her coworkers” ;

To the deputy director who gestured to the buttons on my shirt and told me to “keep an eye on that”;

To the deputy director who treated me in a most condescending, patronizing, and non-constructive manner when I made an honest mistake with something my manager hadn’t fully trained me on;

To all the high level administrators who never posted jobs internally and instead just gave them to staff they favored, most of whom were vastly less qualified than other staff with interest in the positions;

To the manager who gave me a deformed peanut m&m because it reminded her of a gallbladder, and I was going to be out to have surgery to get mine removed, and couched it as a gift to make me feel better about not getting a promotion;

To the unqualified manager whose failings are too numerous and too specific to recount here, but which made me cry in my cubicle at least once a week, to which HR said, “Are you sure you’re not just misunderstanding what [they’re] trying to do?”;

To the many library directors who, instead of firing problem employees, promoted them instead, with huge pay raises;

To the micro-manager who yelled at me for changing a font on a flyer, who wouldn’t let teens use headphones to do homework because it would bother her, who refused to let me buy the Clique books because she found them offensive, who yelled at me for having a water bottle on my work station (“Your desk is such a mess!”), who wanted me to lie on a grant write up by saying teens weren’t interested in weekly gaming programs when they’d have come every day if they could, who yelled at me for reading a Sandra Boynton book in toddler time, who yelled at me for sitting on the floor during storytime because she wasn’t able to, who said I could buy Boy Meets Boy but not promote it;

To the director who said “Isn’t that word a bit harsh?” when I called the micromanager a censor for not letting me buy the Clique books and for cataloging And Tango Makes Three in nonfiction (my reply was “It’s an accurate word”);

I feel sorry for you.

I am sorry you never felt compelled to reflect on your actions and behavior and the impact they had and continue to have on your staff and your community.

I am sorry that you think showing vulnerability is weakness, and that honesty is a fault.

I am sorry that you’ll probably never get your come-uppance, and you’ll continue to apply for and get high level positions where you leave destruction and devastation in your wake.

I am sorry that you are apparently incapable of learning from your mistakes.

I am sorry that you refuse to listen to the people in your organizations who are aware of issues and have the determination to fix them.

I feel sorry that eventually you will drive away all of your high performing, best employees, and you’ll be left with a staff that is either beaten down or full of people just sticking it out for a paycheck or who just don’t care anymore. This is terrible for your organization and your community, both of whom deserve better.

I am sorry that you never learned how to be an effective leader.

But I do thank you for teaching me valuable lessons about how not to lead and manage.

I vow to do better than all of you, and for better or for worse, you’ve made that a pretty low bar to clear.

To the director who said “Isn’t that word a bit harsh?” when I called the micromanager a censor for not letting me buy the Clique books and for cataloging And Tango Makes Three in nonfiction (my reply was “It’s an accurate word”); I feel sorry for you.