As far as farewell emails go, this one is incredibly introspective and free from the frat boy shout-outs we usually get peppered between half lucid rants and digs at the ugly people in the office. No, this one is poetry.
It starts with our author seeking meaning in his life by way of observing the office janitorial staff. You see, the lady emptying the trash cans had more purpose to her life than this guy:
As many of you now know this friday will be my last day with PwC so I wanted to say good bye and thank you for everything. My decision to leave was not a snap decision as it may have seemed but a well thought out process. It started one night in the audit room as I was helplessly attempting to focus on some inane, completely irrelevant task so I could leave when the green card carrying cleaning lady came into my cage to empty my garbage when my decision was made. I realized that I was actually jealous of her job. I would have gladly emptied the garbage cans in the whole building over any of the nonsense I was doing on my computer. See, at the end of her shift she has made a difference, she has added value, be it minimal, of removing the refuse from the employees cubes. At the end of the day she sees the empty garbage cans and knows that she accomplished something. When trying to apply this mindset to my own work I found it to be impossible. At the end of my shift, I will have documented a control, that was only created for the sake of having a control, and my work will get picked apart by anal retentive managers, but ultimately find a home in a cabinet somewhere, only to see the light of day again when it is thrown out in 7 years when it is deemed to be irrelevant. I have added zero value to the client, zero value to my own company, and it has made me routinely daydream about ways to off myself. I find it very hard to be motivated when I know the end result of my work has no impact on anything but simply must be completed because PwC audit guide says it must be completed. What makes this entire process worse is the fact that those around you insist that this work is crucial to the world's existence and it is essential that you never use abbreviations, that your sheets must be as colourful as possible, and all lines must be drawn with a ruler or else it is clear that PwC will come apart from its hinges. I must have missed out on the brainwashing session that PwC provided all senior associate and managers that taught them how to turn obsessive compulsive up a notch.
It naturally takes a turn from there and leads those left behind at the firm to stew in their own high calorie, low meaning misery:
Anyway…that was how I came to decide that public accounting was not really for me. A couple other pieces of advice for my coworkers and the company as I part:
I would greatly encourage some kind of weight loss challenge to be implemented firm wide. The herd of water buffalo you call your work force is embarassing and a bit gross. When I call a co worker over from 2 cubes down and they are legitmately out of breath when they get to my cube it may be time to knock off 10 or 80 pounds. The company seems to encourage this obesity; each busy season we get a giant package full of pixie sticks, chocolate and assorted sweets. As much as I would enjoy type 2 diabetes, I think I'll pass.
Do not ever, ever, ever put one male on a team with all females unless you want him to quit and or commit a hate crime. This is inhumane. One can only endure so many conversations about greys anatomy, weddings, and handbags before they wish for a cancerous tumor in their armpit.
Wrapping up, if that weren't enough, the email has to take a departing stab at Sarbanes-Oxley, which really only hammers home OP's first point about little real meaning in the tedium:
I think the joke is old already, enough with the sarbanes oxley. It was fun while it lasted but there is no way anbody can honestly think that this bullshit is necessary. Oh you want me to pull a sample of the HR file to make sure everyones birthday and hire date is accurate? Yea ill jump right on that, and trust me I'll definitely let you know if there is an exception and not just make up answers that result in me doing less work.
You can easily cut some costs and get rid of the HR department. I'm pretty sure you can train a monkey to send out the available list and a timesheet reminder every two weeks.
No word on what OP is moving on to. Perhaps janitorial services. The money might not be as good as public accounting but sometimes there are things more important than money.
Update: Apparently this originally appeared on Life of an Auditor in 2009 and AG – too tired from a week of covering Colin's ass after he left the country for "business" and didn't mention he needed me to cover him until he was on his way to the airport Monday morning – didn't do her due diligence. Still good, still well-written, still food for thought.