Associate’s Baffling Email an Example of Bad Mass Goodbyes

Sending a goodbye email as you leave your law firm or company can have unintended consequences.

The Wall Street Journal cites an example, recounted by Alston & Bird partner John Stephenson. An associate who was leaving the law firm emailed a black and white photo of himself, with his start and quit dates beneath. It looked like a tombstone, Stephenson says, and “it caused a firestorm because people thought he had died.” The departing associate had to send a follow-up email assuring everyone he wasn’t dead.

Sometimes departure emails are scathing, humorous or bewildering. Some human resources managers who are aware of potential problems screen emails of employees who are leaving to put the kibosh on inappropriate content.

Lawyer Greg Evans, who has also done stand-up comedy, tried using satire when he resigned from a law firm seven years ago. In the exit note that went viral, he said he “would rather be dressed up like a piñata and beaten” than stay. Evans now works as a part-time judge and has a solo practice in Mableton, Ga.

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