Oh, those workplace departure e-mails. (Thank you, Slate, for finally giving me something to actually call the things.) They’re so fun to write! and sometimes, they are really fun to read.
I’ve quit three jobs in which a “workplace departure e-mail” seemed called for. I didn’t feel the need to generate one for any of my babysitting jobs growing up, nor did I whip one up for McDonald’s (dudes, not only did I not have an e-mail address, I didn’t even have a computer, and hardly anybody else who worked there at the time did either), and a field-based Army unit in Europe doesn’t really require an electronic notification when you’re outprocessing. However, once I graduated college, engineering degree clutched in my hot little hand, my subsequent corporate adventures did, indeed, sort of require some kind of generalized e-notification of various coworkers and bosses, both mine and other people’s, upon my leaving those jobs for greener pastures. So I had to start cobbling them together.
I’ve never really had too much trouble knowing what to say. Platitudes apparently come as naturally to me as breathing. It’s been a great experience working with all of you! I can chirp cheerily on command. I wish you all well in your future endeavors! I generally consider myself a very honest person, but apparently, there are some circumstances under which I can lie like a rug with no qualms whatsoever. Quitting a job that I may or may not have come to hate to the point where each new day brings a new outbreak of hives is one of them.
The part of the workplace departure e-mail ritual that always threw me for a loop was who, exactly, to send the missive to. Every place I’ve worked has strongly discouraged e-mailing the entire freakin’ company, a policy with which I heartily agree, sometimes to the point where the ability to put in the companywide e-mail address is locked out from most of the employees. (Now, if only they will start removing the ability of said employees to “reply ALL” to those emails sent out to the entire company by the original, authorized personnel. No, Cathy in the London office, I don’t care that you’ve lost your password to the document management server nor, Bob from Sacramento, do I care that you and your family will be unable to attend the local company community service awards ceremony.)
But who do I send it to..? Can I get away with not sending it to the people I can’t stand…? No, not really, because even if those people can’t stand me in return, they’re usually just the type to make a big stink about being excluded from my workplace departure e-mail. Well, in that case, can I not include my new e-mail address..? No, because I do want some people to have it, both in terms of personal warmth and business referrals, and if I send some people an edited version that does not include my new e-mail address, again, they’ll probably get offended even if they can’t stand me. And how about people I worked with but who are either several levels above me or in only distantly-related departments..? Is it presumptuous of me to e-mail the first and peculiar of me to e-mail the second? But if I don’t, again again, will somebody Get Offended..?
And so on and so forth. But to the best of my knowledge, nothing bad has ever come of any of my workplace departure e-mails, so I must have muddled through the whole situation well enough each time…however, I can’t say that’s been the case for every workplace departure e-mail I’ve ever seen. Heh. Actually, some of ‘em have been a scream–for me, the sadistic observer; probably less of a scream for the author and some of the recipients, but given the e-mails themselves, clearly there was a Situation there that long preceeded the email. A few of my favorites from over the years–each sent to either the entire company, or a large subsection thereof:
“I just want you all to remember, what comes around goes around, and you know who I’m talking to.”
“I’ve had it with this situation. If I don’t get a response to this e-mail in ten minutes, I’m sending it out to everybody in the company so they can all see what idiots you are.” (I don’t know if this was supposed to be a workplace departure e-mail, but it sure turned into one; the author was fired the next day.)
“I haven’t always enjoyed working here, but it has been a learning experience.”
“Please don’t ask me why I’m leaving, I can’t talk about it, but you’re welcome to e-mail me privately to get the whole story.”
As the title of this post says–if you know or have any good ones of your own, share!