Letter: The Real Reason I Quit My Job

Dear readers, I’m making this letter public in hopes it will encourage others to do the right thing.

My former boss does not know the reason I quit my job after several years (I didn’t explain the reason in the resignation letter), but I’m writing why here.

When I was first hired several years ago, the office was comprised of many frum men and women. Over the years however, the atmosphere began declining.

I joined the office because I, as a frum girl, was looking for an environment that allowed me to earn a parnassah while not compromising on tznius. And for several years, that worked. But recently, it got to a point where I could no longer accept what was happening.

Lunches, for example, which used to have separate hours for men and women, became mixed. Coffee breaks suddenly became a spot for shmoozing and more. And there are other things which I won’t go in to.

But it hit rock bottom for me a few weeks ago. I was so shocked at first that it took me a minute to realize what was going on.

As I was sitting by my desk, I suddenly hear a male employee call out my first name. At first, after the shock set in, I purposely ignored him because I wanted to make believe I didn’t hear it. But then he called my name again. I reluctantly turned around and answered him. I was truly shocked at the lack of tznius.

That evening, I told my husband I would be quitting my job. When I explained why, he first told me to speak with a rav to see if I’m making the right decision. When I told him there was no question in my mind that it’s the right thing to do because once there’s a breach in tznius there is no longer a shmira or bracha in the place, he agreed.

I didn’t walk out because I had another job offer. I walked out for Hashem’s honor. Parnassah comes from Hashem, and when doing for Hashem, I’m confident I won’t lose out.

I hope my story gives others courage to do the right thing, and not be afraid to worry about their livelihood when faced with challenges pertaining to torah values.

A Lakewood woman.

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    • There was no need for a Rov to respond, since she had no question to ask him. In her mind, it was as clear as day, what Hashem wanted her to do.

    • Ashrecha to this letter writer!

      To all those who are saying in the comments
      “its muttar”, “did you speak to your boss”

      ALL of YOU. Are 100% WRONG.

      The “eitzos” v’toshios you have for her are exactly the issue!

      There MUST be a feral reaction to breaches of tznius, Intellect, reason, and “good intent”, have a HORRIBLE track-record of keeping people in check.

      We already know from thousands of stories r”l that it all starts with “well, its not assur, did you try….”

  1. Over reacting…but if you are not comfortable who am I to judge….the fact that your husband suggested to speak with the Rov shows this isn’t earth shattering occurrence and he wasn’t concerned about it. I am curios what would a rov say. Any rabbonim reading this chat?

    • I was once a Rav until my congregants fired me for posting too many comments in the comments section. So I guess I am no longer a Rav. Just a regular run of the mill commenter.

  2. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    No need to say more!

  3. You absolutely did the right thing and all those involved in the stories you told should be ashamed of themselves! And once we are on the topic, for all those women going out in public with shaitlach down to the floor and lace caps, you are chotei umachti es harabim!! Men get attracted to women, that’s how Hashem created them, but to stick it in their faces with a teritz of “who asked you to look at me?”!! Ma yaaseh adam v’loh yechetah! R”L Hashem yishmeram!

    • A person who makes up a phoney issur on lace caps is choti umachti es harabim.

      Lacetops are muttar! Learn the Mishna Berura! Men need to control themselves, not women.

  4. the letter makes it seem that if only the office protocol does not allow first names then all is ok and that is far far from the truth – yes first names is the sign of a problem but not the problem itself – the real problem is shemiras einayim and this can be from a coworker or even a client and can also actually be the fault of the victim who is not adorned with the aura of modesty

  5. Kudos to you for doing the right thing. and Thank you for raising this awareness and giving others the courage to do the right thing.
    May Hashem bless you

  6. Sounds like this is the first time this happened.

    Could you not have respectfully said “As a geder for tznius, I would really appreciate and prefer if you refer to me as “Mrs. X” rather than use my first name. Now, what can I help you with, “Mr Y”?

    • I agree she could have stayed there and made a difference by being vocal and serving as a good example just leaving she lost the opportunity to make a change

    • Or as the Lakewood minhag atik yomin, that all married males are addressed as “Rabbi” X. Which is sometimes a totally ridiculous title for someone who isn’t a musmach or Talmid Chochom, or part of a Kollel. (Or sometimes, not even frum!as one not yet frum person shared with me). So you see, titles can be very tricky. Stick to gedarim of tznius. No mixed lunch rooms, no mixed events or meetings beyond what’s purely professional and needed for the office. But if for practical purposes, first names work , use them with caution and respect. I personally resented being addressed as Miss when I was single. It was a constant, uncomfortable reminder of my status. And that was in a place where many younger than me “Mrs”s worked. First names for all of us made it much more pleasant .

  7. I am a male and speaking from long experience in the workplace, I’m surprised that some other commenters (presumably from the frum Jewish community) feel this “isn’t a big deal.” A workplace inherently has a certain closeness & camaraderie, since all are working “for the same team” and goals. Not calling co-workers of the opposite gender directly by their first name and rather calling them Mrs. or Ms. or Mr. or Rabbi automatically creates a healthy barrier of tznius- modesty – and reminds one another that they are off-limits personally and that their relationship is limited to business and only as as needed. It is a known psychological fact that calling someone by their first name opens up a feeling of connection, even if not an inappropriate connection (at first). In fact, a tactic used by groups like J for J when engaging in conversation and trying to convince the other person to accept what they are saying is to call them by their first name. It breaks a barrier and makes the conversation more personal. The same is true with (frum) dating – once the couple gets to know each other after a few dates and progresses positively, calling each other by their first name helps the relationship move forward to the next level. The fact that some commenters are so shocked at this writer’s sensitivity is in and of itself proof of the infiltration of the yetzer horah in our lives, desensitizing us to standards that not too long ago were a given. Any male who is honest with himself knows that the women who he directly calls by their first name feels even just a bit more “friend”-like than those who remain Mrs. or even Ms. I commend the writer for sticking so strongly to her principles. I do wonder if her former workplace has an official policy against it but that it just weakened over time, in which case perhaps approaching the boss and asking him or her to please reinforce and remind all of the policy would have been a better first step but nevertheless her standards are commendable.

    • You said: “… The same is true with (frum) dating …”
      Are you suggesting that initially, the Bochur should address the Maidel as Ms./Miss/Dr. X and the Maidel addresses the Bochur as Mr./Dr./Rabbi Y?
      If I understood you correctly, this seems absurd.

  8. I am a working man, and yes I do not call my female coworkers by the first name .however let’s be clear it is permissible yes permissible as many other things are ,but maybe not recommended. Forbidding what is permissible is just as bad as permitting what is forbidden let’s keep this in perspective.

    • Reb Burech,
      You are 100% correct, General speaking chazal teach us kol hamosif gorea!
      However there is one exception, arayos rch”l which the Rambam says is an exception to the rule and the more zehirus the better!

      • You missed the point the question was not whether to do it or not the question is you must realize that it is mutar and a very good minhag not to. Perspective!

      • There is no such Rambam Mr Exception. None at all.
        This case is the same as all others אל תצדק הרבה

        Reb Chaim Volozhiner is on the record that extremism in this matter causes people to do more averos

        • @The peaked cap

          Quoting Reb Chaim Volozhiner as saying such a thing without any context whatsover sounds like an amazing way to lead the life I choose instead of what G-d wants of me.

          Speak to a Rabbi. There is no right to use a quote like that to allow one to make any questionable decision without Da’as Torah

  9. Funny… this comes on the heels of another woman writing a letter elsewhere, criticizing a boss for firing someone without enough communication and possible second chance. And this employee wants validation because she walked out cause someone used her first name? Huh? No. Sorry. This doesn’t qualify for the martyrdom validation she was looking for.

    She doesn’t have to join the lunches and coffee breaks if she chooses to. And she can mention that she prefers to be called by her last name. There… problem solved.

    I wonder how she would have felt if her boss summarily dismissed her for such a reason. Bosses are people too. Shocking as it may be to some. And this boss now has to invest time and money into getting a new employee because this one walked out for a very minor and fixable issue.

    Let’s not let fanaticism overtake our integrity. Part of being a responsible employee is being able to resolve workplace issues ethically and professionally. Let’s not glorify someone who was unwilling or unable to do so.

      • Reb Ahron is crying in shomayim because a young woman quit because she wasn’t able to verbalize her religious preferences to someone who wasn’t on her madreigah?

        Reb Aaron would cry because someone wasn’t able to tolerate another yid who isn’t on her level? Or because one can only maintain their level of frunkeit if they are in a coddled environment where everyone is exactly the same?

        Or would he cry because we raised a generation of coddled snowflake academics that can’t tolerate anyone who isn’t exactly like them? Or because when confronted with a minor challenge they run instead of solving the issue?

        Or would he cry because they don’t have a solid hashkafa backbone that allows them to remain secure and steadfast in their convictions and beliefs when faced with others who aren’t on their madreigah and have to resort to running away.

  10. I have a few comments to make:
    1. In my business, we insist on not using first names in order to keep professional and at ‘arm’s length.’ There are offices where they don’t. The red line here is that apparently it was always customary to use last names, and there was a DOWNGRADE. That is truly alarming, and a true pirtzah. It means that consciously or subconsciously, someone is getting closer emotionally. Run for the hills!

    2. Did you discuss this with your boss? From the letter it seemed that the guilty party wasn’t the boss.

    3. Let’s all subscribe to the free daily emails from Do’ehu, which bring awareness and sensitivity to this issue.

  11. Noticeably absent from this story, is any mention of bringing this up to the employer. In sorry to say, but keeping it yourself and not giving your employer an opportunity to correct the problem, smacks of someone with a “holier than thou” complex – not someone seriously concerned about tznius.

  12. I agree with you dear writer. Don’t mind any negative comments written here, they are not on your level. Wait, I’m about to get attacked too. You be who you are and believe in what you believe, and may Hashem send you a better job with a better pay, and a good environment to work in as well, in every single way!! This is coming from a girl who was far from tznius, and today I advocate for it!! Changed my life around! Bracha and hatzlacha!

  13. For all the people who are cheerleading this on and dismissing all other opinions… please realize that those questioning the actions of this individual aren’t saying there shouldn’t be gedarim and professionalism in the workplace. There totally should!!!

    The issue is that this person could have attempted to solve the issues. By reminding coworkers how she prefers to be addressed and not attending the lunches and coffee breaks she deemed problematic, she could have remained at her job and at the level of tznius she prefers. But to leave and make a public spectacle of it as such is not solving anything.

  14. As a small business owner myself, I feel we are missing some info here. Is your boss aware of the decline in tznius in the office? If he is aware and doesn’t either have the guts or care enough to take care of it, then i beleive you were correct to have left, however you should have made it clear in your resignation letter that the overall decline in tznius is what made you leave. If however, your boss is unaware (I for example eat lunch in my office and wouldn’t know what is happening in the cafeteria) then I believe it is your obligation as both a yid and an employee to let him know! just leaving him out in the cold really isn’t right, i know how hard it is to find good employees. So, which is it?

  15. It seems that the letter writer has a communication problem.
    1) Never spoke to her boss about it
    2) Had the opportunity to correct a co-worker and went the ‘ignoring’ route.
    I agree that the tznius has been compromised in your office, but had you spoke up, you may have actually inspired your office toward positive change! Hence another opportunity lost! A letter to the Scoop = ZERO inspiration.
    Hatzlochoh on your next job.

  16. She quit because another employee called out her name? What should he done, call out “Hey, woman!”? Perhaps, “You, woman there”?

    At any normal business, employees need to work together and cooperate. What had they been doing until that point? Surely this was not the first time that someone had to ask her to do something. What had male employees been calling her up until this point?

    • how about a respectful title like Mr. Klein or Mrs. Schwartz like our parents and grandparents behaved towards their neighbors and friends and enjoyed enduring relationships with family and acquaintance

  17. I have had issues in the past, all I had to do was place the book ‘9 to 5’ very visibly on my desk…. it did the job.

  18. If this lady was annoyed by the the declining atmosphere at the office and felt she had to quit to get away from it, then of course she could. She is not obligated to discuss it with the boss or the rov. She’s not a shifchoh.

  19. Huh – if she is leaving over this why not at least tell him so that at least something could be accomplished. Hiding the reason is pure silliness as nothing gets accomplished.

  20. i am proud that this tznius woman took a stand for her tznius and quit. hopefully more women too will follow her lead. no frum women should be subjected to a compromising tznius environment at a job

  21. For all those who are so quick to criticize this letter writer for not giving tochacha, how about trying to judge favorably, especially when you don’t know the details? What it there is no one to talk you?!
    I came up with the following scenario.
    Let’s say that this woman’s place of employment had been under frum management and all of the employees were frum men and women who were only too happy to abide by all the gedarim of tznius. Then there is a management takeover by a goy or a non-frum Jew who has zero interest in or understanding of tznius at the workplace. He feels that it takes away team spirit and does not like it at all. Some frum people decide to leave and goyim are hired in their stead who naturally initiate the workplace norms of their culture as described such as eating together, schmoozing and so on. The frum people who remained to their best to keep separate and retain the former proper work atmosphere but some co-worker goy feels that these prim, Puritan women need to keep up with the times and deliberately calls the letter writer by her first name. He knows what he’s doing and there is no one to give tochacha to and no boss who will understand the problem because he is only too happy with the changing standards.
    Until that point, the letter writer tried to maintain her dignity and separateness, noted the changes and erected a wall around herself. But then when a co-worker attempted to break down the barrier, she realized that she cannot maintain her standards and quit.
    There is no nevu’ah these days and I have no way of knowing if the above is the true circumstance, but it very well could be, so WHY BE SO JUDGEMENTAL?!! Know that you don’t know!
    Remember that the way you judge others is how Hashem will judge you in just a very few short weeks’ time…

  22. Why didn’t you tell your boss why you were quitting? My daughter was in the same situation- and told her boss why she was quitting. He was floored and it was a big kiddush Hashem. Btw, she has a great job now. I”yH by you

  23. This is a joke, right? A parody?
    The sure giveaway (aside from the ridiculous story) is the name she signed with: “A Lakewood woman”. No true bas Yisroel, with even a modicum of tznius to her name, would ever use the “w” word. The proper term, of course, is “lady”.

  24. Reb Ahron is crying in shomayim because women are working in offices altogether.
    A woman should be at home.
    Since it is common place today for women to be working together with men, women should unequivocally state their preference in tsnius to any man whom they feel might be is crossing a line. We are all adults and most men will respect a polite but firm request and everyone moves on in a constructive way.
    I’m not clear as to this woman’s drastic action but perhaps we don’t have all the facts.
    Personally the resulting general criticism of our heilige yidden and their behaviour in the work environment is not fair and certainly not helpful. Most people are wonderful and doing their best in the day to day grind to keep Torah and mitzvos.
    Kesiva vechasima tova
    I happen to be a woman

  25. Let’s face it – many of the frum women and men working into today’s heimishe offices know there are many offices that may have questionable breaches in gedarim of tznius. Kol hakavod to those offices / business owners who take the extra step to address employees via a title, have separate kitchens for men and woman, separate times or sections for eating at events etc. Although these may only be gedarim and possibly not halacha, it is very commendable to those who do this as a geder – Ashreichem! Hopefully there will be more of an awareness to employees and employers to put gedarim – even small ones in place. It is very difficult / almost impossible for employees to implement gedarim on their own as it may be met with opposition from bosses / co-workers. When the changes come from the top of the chain of command it sticks…when a lone employee tries to keep to their own gedarim, it’s much harder – v’hameivin yavin.

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