Writing an exit email to colleagues and friends can be shaky territory — particularly following a layoff.
While some would meet the occasion with vitriol, copywriter Richard Tseng wrote an eloquent farewell letter to his colleagues at ad agency Arnold Worldwide that invokes Inuit mythology, Rahm Emanuel and Justin Bieber.
"I can't choose when I leave this agency, but I can choose how I leave it," Tseng told Business Insider. "I'm a writer, this is my craft, so the last piece of writing I leave should be the best I can give."
Tseng's grace under an unfortunate circumstance — Arnold laid off about 20 employees last week, on top of 20 in January — can be seen in the following email which was sent to AgencySpy:
In Canada’s frozen north, during a particularly harsh winter, a starving Eskimo tribe (Inuit for the politically correct) was forced to abandon their eldest matron on the ice. Being a tough old broad, she followed her clan for several days, making sure to keep just out of sight.
One day, a polar bear happened upon her. Taking her for a straggler and an easy meal it strolled up to her, mouth open, ready to swallow with one gulp. The Eskimo lady waited and, once in range, plunged her walking stick down the bear’s gullet.
Hours later the clansmen could see her, cresting a snow hill, dragging behind her enough meat to feed the whole tribe.
Times are tough, and circumstances beyond anybody’s control have dictated that I must leave. Totally understand. But, as Rahm Emanuel would say, “Never fucking waste a fucking crisis, fucker.” Which is another way of saying that it’s actually an opportunity. And I intend on seizing it.
So thanks to every member of this tribe called Arnold. It’s been an honor and pleasure working with you. I hope our paths cross again. Who knows? I might even be back one day. Hopefully with enough polar bear sushi to share.
In the words of a fellow young Canadian:
Never say never,
That's right, he quoted Justin Bieber.
Being Canadian makes Tseng's layoff more problematic. He has about a month to find new work or else he has to return to our neighbors to the North.
"I really do see it as an opportunity," Tseng said. "How you choose to see it is going to help decide whether you're going to be successful or not."
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