Oh goody, I get to talk about one of my favorite topics: how to quit your job. It's a subject that makes everyone happy, because it gives people hope that they're not fated to die at their desk—at least not the desk they're currently occupying. It also gets the creative juices flowing—just dreaming about saying goodbye to those who have made your life hell is an exercise worth indulging in.
But before you get too carried away with your fantasies (remember, the lateral market is better, but not that good), you might want to review my post on how not to quit your job. A quick refresher: Don't spill your guts to that kindly HR lady during the exit interview, and certainly don't blast "Take This Job and Shove It" on your iPhone or the office PA as you depart.
So once you've broken the news (nicely) to the head of your department, what kind of exit e-mail should you send to the rest of the crew? Do you send a bland, predictable one with the usual bromides ("It's been a privilege to work with such a great group of people at such a great firm. . . .")? Or do you craft an e-mail that's a bit more memorable?
Recently, The Wall Street Journal's Sue Shellenbarger covered some of the more memorable exit e-mails—and amazingly, two of them were fired off by former big-firm associates.
At Alston & Bird, one associate unwittingly sent out a departure memo that looked like an obituary. He sent "everyone a black-and-white photo of himself, with only his name and start and quit dates written beneath," reports the WSJ. Alston partner John Stephenson told the WSJ that it looked like a "tombstone" and "caused a firestorm because people thought he had died."
And then there was this "satirical exit note" by Greg Evans, who left Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker in 2004. In his departing memo, Evans wrote that he "would rather be dressed up like a piñata and beaten" than remain at the firm, according to the WSJ piece. His e-mail later went viral, "prompting hundreds of e-mails and voicemails, including a few job offers from other law firms." Despite the commotion, Evans told the WSJ that he'd do it all over again, and that penning that e-mail was "liberating."
Now that he's a solo practitioner in Mableton, Georgia, it's unlikely that his next exit memo will play out so publicly.
Readers, what are the most outrageous departing memos you've seen? How creative do you plan to be?