Open Letter to a Wealthy Slave Friend
I wrote and published this open letter on LinkedIn two years ago, in the middle of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
I removed it a few days after, not to put anyone in trouble.
Today, I feel it is the right time to post it again.
"The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion."
The message you sent me three days ago in the middle of this abominable outbreak concerned me greatly and made me feel very sad for you.
You say you think you need a new job, this one just brings you pains and you feel you are losing your spirit.
It reminded me the days, not long ago, when we were working together, hard, with a conscience, as a team, side by side, in that crazy place where intelligence was so regularly insulted, responsibility disregarded and integrity considered as a trick of the mind.
We were not talking that much together, but you surely remember how we were exchanging, day after day, our impressions on the impossibility of doing anything consistent in such an environment, rid of any vision and any meaning. We, one after the other, wanted to quit, to resign, humiliated and dragged down by the unethical behavior of our CEO, who was damaging our values and our spirits.
You remember, on your veranda, that evening, when, likely to cry because you were so humiliated by the insinuations of that poor leader, I was so emotional that I would have liked to take you into my arms to comfort and relieve you, but couldn't, not to give you the perception I was taking advantage of your distress.
You remember I was so angry, so frustrated I was ready to quit one day but stayed only not to leave you alone, without any help.
And at the end, I was finally unfairly fired by that CEO, for the reasons you know, without having time to say goodbye to you.
Now, you are still in that place, that is worse than then. Nothing went better, nothing improved and this epidemic that is raging and increasing day after day is giving you so much more work, leaving you without rest and causing you more trouble, more stress, more fatigue, more confusion, more misunderstanding and more frustration than ever.
No one is helping you, the best part of your team has flown away, scared by the disease, the top level management is still uncertain and inconsistent in face of the crisis, the authorities of this poor country are lost, unequipped, and though you gave them advice as well as the best NGOs acting there have done, they don't listen, confusing cultural conservation and up-to-date fighting actions.
You are alone, the communications are disrupted, the economic conditions are not good, the worldwide prices for the product are too low and will not improve soon, you have not enough cash for organizing what you have to achieve, you cannot move, transports are restricted.
You are in sort of a hell, in a country that was already damaged and not really funny before but that is becoming sort of a large and grey graveyard where only zombies are moving around, in a company without a plan but with a bad reputation.
And you are not happy. Your words – my job brings me just pains, I feel I lose my spirit – are terrible. And the previous messages you sent were the same, when you were saying you have no time to think and you are too busy, at any time, to read and reply to messages.
What are you doing there, Fanny? Why are you not moving? Why are you not leaving that crap and find another way through the world and to happiness? How can you live without thinking, without having any spare time? If you don’t think, you don’t live, do you? You are dying, don’t you?
And where has the true Fanny gone? The Queen Fanny who was just promoted two years ago and was shining above her small but admirable kingdom, with her lovely smile and her sparkling eyes?
And together we were already concerned in the people around, running around like headless ducks, without sense and without feelings, with their rudeness and their bad manners, their bad education, that are not yours.
In that time already, you were feeling aggressed, you were feeling despised, you had sorrows for your disliked and spoiled values of integrity, loyalty, courage and intelligence.
You tell me you believe that you will never give up and that to quit is failure. That is your motto. You will add you committed to the big boss, the Chairman and owner, you don't want to betray his trust and that now that the awful CEO was fired too things are getting better. You want to stay loyal.
You tell me the package is good and you will never find the same elsewhere and that you need it to help your family at home.
But Fanny, in that conditions give up is not give up, it's just pass because stay is not worth and stay is not right. And when things become unsustainable, impossible and killing, then, yes, take another way, follow another path becomes a must and it’s not giving up or quit, it’s just do what is right and what is worth… For you, for you alone and for you first, because it’s your own life and your own happiness, not theirs, and God will have mercy for the fools who keep on dying for a cause that is not theirs.
Quit is not quit, quit is just to say "next", and search and find the path that will drive you to a better life, the one that you deserve and to better people, the ones that deserve you.
You committed to the big boss and that is admirable and appreciable, but I don't believe you committed to move into the grave with him and with his company. You’ve been loyal enough, and the price of loyalty is not life.
There is no judgment there and no one will judge you, only fools. You have the right to say I’ve been loyal enough, I paid my debt, I don’t want to be enslaved any longer, I want to leave, I want to quit, I want to live, because it’s you and no one is you-er than you.
Because you're young, you're brilliant, you're talented and you deserve better. And paramount you are free. Never believe, never trust, never let people of any kind tell you that their place, their job, their benefits are the best because the best is you, is what you want, what you believe and what you are looking for and will find along the line. The best is your own happiness and your freedom, not their ideas or the way they decide. You decide. Not them. You make the choice. Not them. You are free.
Do not share the ranks of the zombies that are riding the headless duck, don’t be slave amongst the slaves, the slaves of a cause that is not theirs, the slaves of money that is not worth. Don’t cherish your comfort zone that cuts off your wings, makes you fear the future and throws you down to the crowd of slaves. Rebel instead, with your sparkling eyes, say farewell, with your honey smile. Be free.
Now, it’s late and I must go. This letter is too long and I hope you will dedicate some of your precious time to read it. As my compatriot the philosopher Blaise Pascal said “I wish I’d written you a shorter letter, Madam, but I had not enough time”.
I gave my termination package to the most active NGO acting in the country as a donation, to help you from remote, as much as I am able to. I will continue to help you and I will help you when you will decide to choose freedom. Because I am free and because you deserve to be free.
I am sure I will meet you again on the road to freedom, on that thrilling road where you will meet people that deserve you.
With all my respect and all my love, all the best.
Now, things have surely changed. Ebola is over.
But I don't know if things have really changed that much, because I have no news.
I know Fanny quit and returned to her home country with breast cancer and her treatment is on going reasonably well.
So, let me paraphrase Saint Exupery and the Little Prince:
This is, to me, the loveliest and saddest landscape in the world. (...). It is here that [Fanny] appeared on Earth, and disappeared.
Look at it carefully so that you will be sure to recognize it in case you travel some day to the African [West coast]. And, if you should come upon this spot, please do not hurry on. Wait for a time, exactly under the star. Then, if a little [woman] appears who [smiles], who has [dark] hair and who refuses to answer questions, you will know who [she] is. If this should happen, please comfort me. Send me word that [she] has come back.
Hervé Sabattier - November 2016