Formal resignation from West Group and the Thomson Corporation

Letter of resignation from Julienne Goins to John Elstad, Jennifer Achterling, Human Resources department, 12 January 1998


12 January 1997 [sic]

To: John Elstad

Cc: Jennifer Achterling
Human Resources

Re: My Resignation with The Thomson Corporation.

When I was asked to join the PLIG migration to Minnesota last May, I was equally nervous and excited at the prospect of making something big succeed with flying colours. What I saw in the opportunity of migration was the chance to learn more about the technological side of electronic publishing operations and the inner workings of the processes involved with building a product, while assimilating this wealth of knowledge into my own repository of technical expertise. This I consider the most invaluable asset of working in modern climates. Without the guarantee of lifelong job security in this workforce, knowledge is my unshakable insurance to flourish and prosper.

What irrevocably altered my perception of optimism within the bounds of Lawyers Cooperative Publishing, The Thomson Corporation, and the more-recent West Group, was the personal attack on my identity by absolute strangers. It was a situation that may have been unavoidable, but the matter was poorly — at best — handled by those who were in charge of managing such affairs and setting good examples. Rather than progressively confronting the matter in the same spirit that Thomson handles new challenges in the marketplace, those who took charge of the issue surrendered to the backwoodsian, “see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, speak-no-evil” manner of discrimination that has proven time immemorial to fail in its own footsteps… and at its own hands.

Not only was I severely hurt by the way I was treated and regarded to by Human Resources, but also I found that I could not help being heavily disappointed by their junior high-level behaviour. Any naive assumption I possessed that individuals in the professional world were generally mature was wantonly shattered by the behaviour of specific higher-level personnel. For this, and the ensuing illegal behaviour these people exhibited, all I can say to them is this: I am very disappointed in you. Your inability and refusal to proactively approach new challenges in our changing world reflects poorly in your capacity to serve as a role model for the entire company and its employees, and for Fortune 500-calibre corporations. My discrimination suit will proceed as scheduled.

While my career with West Group was not intended to be a life-long engagement, as I intend to someday complete my academic goal of earning a BFA in graphic arts and advertising, I had planned on staying with the company until my departure for school. However, the events I began to deal with from October 6, 1997 onward altered those plans.

I have accepted an offer with another company in Minneapolis. This decision was difficult for me to make. It is not an easy thing to let go of established tenure in the company you work with, and I feel that this sacrifice was too great to make in my limited financial standing. Upon weighing in the mistreatment by Human Resources, though, I concluded reluctantly that this choice was necessary for my sanctity as well as relief from undue stress and hostility. I will embark on January 26th.

In closing, I want people within my group to know that I hold high regard for their ability to solve technical and aesthetic challenges under the demanding pressures that have been levied upon them. Tackling Folio overnight is impossible, and doing so in a couple months is only slightly easier; yet, I feel that the CDA team has performed immensely well given their obstacles. I am proud to have worked with this group, and especially with the PLIG and LCP groups in Rochester, whose company, support and dire eleventh-hour help I will terribly miss.

In retrospect, I realise how much I have grown while with Thomson: I went from resisting DOS to teaching it, knowing nothing about Novell Netware to giving tech support for it, knowing only marginal amounts of SGML to practically writing DTDs, being a severely-wounded soul with little self-confidence to realising that another’s prejudice cannot shake my foundation, and going from knowing no one to meeting some amazing people. Given that, I owe Thomson for the experience.

With Sincere Regards,

julienne goins, Conversion Specialist.

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