Thursday, February 26, 2009

Forwarding Address

"Hit 'Send' and then hit the door" describes a new genre in office communications, the e-mail written to business colleagues that serves the practical purpose of providing a forwarding address after a resignation or a termination takes place, which may also take on other rhetorical flourishes to indicate a nose-thumbing at corporate culture. One Google employee leaving Imeem used the subject line "So long, suckers! I'm out!"

The newspaper reporting the story, the Los Angeles Times, also was part of the news item:

When Pasadena-based Wescom Credit Union, a firm with about 1,000 employees, had layoffs recently, there were no mass e-mail farewells because workers don't have access to all-encompassing e-mail lists.

"We have very strict standards, safeguards that IT has put in place don't allow that to happen," said Diane Norton Smith, Wescom's vice president for human resources. "I have seen situations where somebody said goodbye and you get the reply all, reply all, reply all, 'We're gonna miss you,' and that clogs up the whole system."

That occasionally happened last summer and fall when the farewells of laid-off Los Angeles Times staffers hit inboxes in successive waves.

Some of the goodbyes were bittersweet, some philosophical. Many were entertaining.

Jaime Cardenas, a young sports reporter, spliced his note with stanzas from Coldplay's "Viva La Vida" ("I used to rule the world . . . Now in the morning I . . . Sweep the streets I used to own."). Perry Crowe, an editor for the Guide, compared losing his job to a scene from a movie: "It's sort of like in Superman II when Non rips the light off the top of a police car and hurls it at a boy in the distance and it explodes like a motherlovin' mortar round and a woman cries out, 'He was just a boy!' "

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