So, it’s official. I’ve quit my job at La Quadrature du Net. It was not an easy decision, and it hurts. I’m too stubborn for my own good, and I do not know when to stop, but this is where it must ends. I also tend to believe people when they say things will change, and that everything’s gonna be better. I believe them when they say that they’ve heard me and my pain and are trying to do something about it. Deep down it’s hard for me to not trust someone.
I do not know when to stop, and I tend to burn myself. In spectacular way sometimes. During the four years I worked at LQDN, I’ve spent six month on medical leave and six other on part time due to a burn out. And I think that my biggest mistake was going back there.
Some people are doing a lot of stuff to try to improve the situation there. Some basic questions are asked. Questions such as what is LQDN strategy? How are you supposed to care for your employees (because yes, I was your fucking employee, if you do not like that, stop working with this association) in time of stress ? How are you supposed to work with other collective on an inter-sectional approach of the issues at hand ?
A lot of work on those issues have been done, saying otherwise would be an insult to the few people who are trying to fix thing. And this is the main reason I stayed longer than I should have for my own sake. But those who try to improve the situation, and most if not all of them are the few queers and women volunteering for the association, can only do as much as the group let them do.
During the four year I was there, I’ve seen a team building itself on the ashes of the previous one (we had nearly 70% of turnover, yes it means only two of us stayed there since the Paris attacks in 2015) and trying to figures out way to work together and to care for each other. It’s one of the thing that made the decision to leave hard. But it’s not enough, it’s merely the minimum requirements for a sane working environment.
But you prefer to do the “important” things, because you’re only a volunteer and you do not have enough time to do what you want: talking to the medias, speaking at conferences and arguing online about what LQDN members are allowed to say or not when they’re speaking in public. Arguing to the point where some other members had to left the association because you just didn’t care to understand their pain.
The same non debates are still eating energy there. Should the fights of LQDN encompass identity politics? Or should we only focus on state surveillance? The thing is, those questions have being asked internally for at least four years. I know, I’m one of those who keep asking. And the only answer I got was: we need time to debate.
So, you need time to debate. Fine. But, because you’re too busy to drink the koolaid, you’re not even able to see that your employees are on the verge of burn out and exhaustion, and because you refuse to spend some time trying to understand the situation;, you cannot even starts to change things. And some of those changes might be easy. I don’t know. I don’t know because no one, except the two or three same person, are spending time on this.
And while you’re doing the so important work that you consent to do, we’re left to ourselves. Trying to do things, to work with you and everyone else, to figures out what are the priorities, and all of that without a global strategy. Or consideration for the work being done. We’re doing things reflexively, because this is how it’s been done since today.
So fuck it. I quit. I don’t like it. I’m bitter. Enraged. And sad. When I look at what we could have done if you accepted to actually engaged in Human Resources management and stress reduction, I can only contemplate the waste of energy and people. You are lucky enough to have a tough team of skilled and extremely motivated people who are doing an amazing job regardless the way you consider them or their work to work for you. And you’re not even able to understand that.
I’m too naive. I thought things can change. But as long as you, as a straight male, let all the emotional and care work to the same people (queers and women), to keep feast on koolaid, you’re basically throwing people under the bus. Because you do not consider caring for the people you fight with a good investment of your so precious time, you’re pushing them to their own limits, to the point they’re going to break, and leave in bitterness and anger.
And yet here we are. You forced me to quit. I didn’t want. Fuck, I came back after a burnout on the promise that things were going to be better soon. They’re not. And if you do not get that, then fuck you.
I’m forced, for my sanity, to take steps back from the world. I can’t spend time at party without collapsing. I cannot talk on one on one to people without wishing to rip my skin of my arm. I’m not suicidal now, mostly because I think it’s not worth the hassle, not because I want to live. I don’t. And while I have issues on my own, you did nothing to not add to those issues. So yes, I’m bitter. And I’m worried about the people that I left behind, my coworkers, who still have to deal with your bullshit.
You might say that going public will not help. Well, for four years, I basically tried everything. I used twitter, internal system, one on one talks, informal and formal requests to the general assembly, I’ve tried to solve some issues, or at least to expose them to you, to give you a chance to change things.
And you did not.
You did not tried to build a better world. Because that’s what it is in the end, the community you shape by your actions are supposed to be the reflect of the world you fight for. And I do not want to live in this world of yours. So I cannot condone anything you’re going to do.
In a more pragmatic way, it also means that I have to take steps back, and to try to heal a little bit before going back to try to fix things. Or change them. So yes, you won’t see me again anytime soon. Yes, I’m going to lose friends over it, but this is the extreme this association led me too. I have to chose between seeing my friends, and being reminded of the state of this association, and preserving myself.
I won’t make it to Congress either. Or to most of the conference this year. I won’t see the crowd of crazy and fun and loving people that made going there manageable. And this is on you.