The event in question is, for lack of a better description, a lengthy farewell e-mail from a departing employee that is sent agency-wide on the individual's final day of work.
These departure e-mails aren't just, “Gee, it's been real…” notes. Rather, they rival War and Peace in scope, and cover every conceivable event or experience that occurred during the employee's tenure at our firm.
Some will recall good clients and bad. Others will regale us with tales of their very first business trip. Still others will wax poetic about a Summer party from 2009.
I'm not sure exactly when these missives began, but they've become part of our standard operating procedure.
I addressed the phenomenon at our management committee meeting this past week, and noted that a departure note or e-mail simply never occurred at the Hill & Knowlton of the 1980s, the Earle Palmer Brown of the early 1990s or the J. Walter Thompson of the mid-'90s (my previous employers). Nor did it occur at Peppercomm until recently.
Our creative director suggested it was a Millennial 'thing' since, he noted, they love to comment on every occurrence in their lives up to, and including, their most recent employment experience. Our licensing director saw the phenomenon as a positive trend. Which it may very well be.
Good or bad, right or wrong, I'm nonetheless beyond curious as to WHY this occurrence has suddenly materialized.
Why do departing employees feel the need to share very personal experiences with every other employee? I'm at a loss.
I'm also at a loss as to why each departing staffer feels compelled to include new contact information (since they're all already connected).
I can tell you one thing, though: when I finally decide to call it a day, I won't compose a departure e-mail that makes 'The Guns of August' seem like Cliff Notes in comparison. I'll simply hang a sign outside my vacant office that reads: 'Gone Climbing. Permanently.'
So, before I do go climbing on a permanent basis, can someone please answer two questions:
1.) Why write an all-hands departure e-mail in the first place?
2.) Is this phenomenon unique to Peppercomm, or is it part of the ever-changing American workplace?
If you're nice enough to enlighten me, I'll be sure to list you as an asterisk at the bottom of my departure sign.