How Not to Leave the Firm: Put Your Face on Tombstone in Adios Email

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on February 23, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Have you ever quit a job and felt compelled to send a company-wide resignation letter? Did you want to insult your former boss? How about incite your ex-colleagues into a full blown rebellion?  Or did you just want to humorously say goodbye?

Eh, we've all wanted to do something similar at one time or another. Most of us don't -- and for good reason.  The few who do live on in infamy, ultimately becoming fodder for posts like these. So if you value your reputation, it's best to keep your goodbye emails to yourself.

Attorney Greg Evans is a perfect example of the Internet at work. His goodbye email to Paul Hastings has been dubbed the "best resignation letter ever." He wished the firm's partners "continued success in your goals to turn vibrant, productive, dedicated associates into an aimless, shambling group of dry, lifeless husks."

This was written in 2004, and it's still the talk of the web. Luckily, the goodbye email didn't hurt Evans' career -- he's a part-time judge and solo practitioner, according to the Wall Street Journal.

John Stephenson, a partner at Alston & Bird, told the paper about a less successful goodbye email. A departing associate sent a photo of himself with his start and quit dates written beneath. It looked so much like a tombstone, the entire office was in a tizzy.

No one bothered to do the math, causing a number of the associate's former colleagues to believe he was dead He had to send a follow up email, which was probably quite embarrassing.

Let these stories serve as a cautionary tale -- be careful about what you say and do when you quit your job. And seriously, don't send a firm-wide goodbye email unless you want to become the day's gossip. Just stop by the offices of the people you actually like.

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