An open letter to the folks we all(my fellow co-workers) call Talent. This includes anchors, show hosts, and sometimes even show guests. I have been processing the suicide of Anthony Bourdain for the last couple weeks and this is the result of all of it. I wrote Martha a letter after she died and it really did help give me a closure that I did not know I needed. So here’s where I’m at…
Dear Talent and Co-Workers:
I have known some of you for the entirety of my 17+yr career. Not KNOW-know you, but I see you every day. Hours at a time are spent watching your shows, it’s what they pay me to do and I enjoy it very much. Sometimes I see you in the halls, and I always smile and say hello–not just because it’s the polite thing to do, but because I do recognize you and it is hard wired into my brain to say hello to friends. That’s the thing, I consider you a friend. I worry about you during Hurricane season, or if you are reporting from/visiting somewhere dangerous. I write singularly now because a few weeks ago we lost one of you and a company is in mourning.
I don’t know who started it, but it still grows even two weeks later, showing you our love, our grief, our pain. I am sorry you suffered, and my coworkers and I talk about if we should have noticed. We always want to think we could have helped if we had just known…we can’t believe you are gone.
At the very least, I am comforted that you don’t have to battle the voices in your head, I empathize with your plight and feel the world is a much lesser place without you in it.
As for the rest of you….this puts us all on notice. We need to be kind. We need to be open, we need to look up from our phones from time to time and ask each other if we’re ok. If you are worried about a coworker, do something about it. My heart shatters as I age, I lose a shard with every loss. I have come to work on so many occasions and been given news that someone has passes, and the grief washes over us as we process a world without you in it. I don’t know if you know me, but I know you—-and I want to be very clear: I see you, and you matter. You are doing a great job, and I’m so proud to call you a coworker. If you are having problems, I hope you can find the help you need because you matter to the rest of us and we would be devastated to lose you.
The next time you see me in the hallway I will smile and say hello as always. I know you will smile back.