Here at Last Day at the Office Emails, we have seen a lot of departure emails written by people in the legal and advertising industries --people who, ostensibly, are pretty good with words. And while their departure emails have been alarming, scandalous, and jolly, we haven't yet been treated with something so sublimely clever and underhanded that, not only do we miss its genius at first glance, but even after five, six glances, we are still left scratching our heads, wondering if we are seeing subtext where there is none.
Imagine my surprise, then, when I finally came upon such an email, the most cleverly underhanded departure email of all time, from someone in finance, no less:
Sent: Friday, November 05, 2010 3:45 PM
To: XXXX NY
I haven't had a chance to meet everyone on the XXXX team but that does not mean that I'm exempt from saying goodbye to you all. At first I wasn't sure what to say, but I guess you can say I've been practicing! Essentially, on a going forward basis, I'm going to always remember all of the experience I've gained during my time here. At the end of the day, I hope we all touch base in the near future because as they say "it is what it is."
XXXXUpon first blush, this reads like your standard good-bye email, it's completely devoid of any substantive information, yet still manages to be way too wordy. And indeed, that might be the entire story behind this Last Day Email. Before you make up your mind, however, take a look at how each awkward sentence of the text avails itself perfectly to a more devious interpretation.
TEXT: I haven't had a chance to meet everyone on the XXXX team but that does not mean that I'm exempt from saying goodbye to you all.
SUBTEXT: It's my last day in the office, and amazingly, I still haven't met my own team. Not office. Not department. Team. Why does this company even have a professional development department? Anyway, I'm out of this hell hole and I'm gonna rub it in all your faces, whether I've met you or not.
TEXT: At first I wasn't sure what to say, but I guess you can say I've been practicing!
SUBTEXT: At first I thought expressing my sentiments so baldly would be too confrontational and hostile, so I added an exclamation mark to make it sound confusingly jolly and cheerful! But really it's not! You feel uneasy and don't know why!
TEXT: Essentially, on a going forward basis, I'm going to always remember all of the experience I've gained during my time here.
SUBTEXT: This sentence is an ode to the horrible corporate-speak I have been exposed while working here. For example, Pam starts all of her sentences with "essentially," whether it makes sense or not. I think she thinks it means "I'm-wiser-than-my-static-ridden-angora-sweater-suggests-ly."
Also, what is with "on a going forward basis" instead of just "going forward?" Did someone important embarrass himself terribly at a PowerPoint presentation when it was suggested that the team "pick up the ball, going forward?" Lean across the conference table and grab a male intern in the loins, perhaps?
And yeah, I did mean that I will remember all of the experiences I've gained here, and yeah, it sounds like a threat because it is.
TEXT: At the end of the day, I hope we all touch base in the near future because as they say "it is what it is."
SUBTEXT: This last sentence is just like my sentence (lol) here at this company. It starts off with a lot of promise, like it's building up to something informative, revelatory, even profound. But it ends quickly and abruptly with the most frustratingly meaningless "conclusion" of all time. If this sentence were an equation, the left side would be a complicated quadratic formula, with the equals sign blinged out with Swarovski crystals and shining neon lights. The right side would just be a dirty mirror.
Perhaps you remain unconvinced of the genius of this departure email. Certainly, it is possible that I am so emotionally bankrupt that I have turned an earnestly though poorly written letter into a work of staggering genius. But isn't it also possible that after decades of barely-veiled attacks on the workplace, one day, someone, somewhere, has finally perfected the cleverest, most insidiously insulting, departure email of all time?
At the end of the day, I hope we all agree to disagree in the near future because as they say "it is what it is."