On September 29, 2008, the stock market crashed. In an instant, many experienced an unprecedented loss of wealth, home, and security, but the subsequent contraction of the economy, opportunity, and jobs endured for years to come.
Presented in chronological order, these screenshots are a selection of ‘goodbye’ emails collected from former employees of a single New York-based company. Goodbye emails are often an employee’s last chance to share private contact information with coworkers and to reflect on their time at the company. While many emails project a demeanor of professionalism, others are more unabashed and frank with their sentiments.
Some of these employees left of their own accord, some were laid off, and some were fired. When an employee was asked to leave, HR and IT aimed to disconnect the employee’s email account as quickly as possible in order to protect company data and to mitigate any emotional response—IT would typically confiscate computers while an employee was away from their desk receiving the bad news. When given the opportunity, however, employees often wrote their goodbyes in an effort to reframe the story of their departure as of their own volition.
Now, more than 10 years after the crash, some of the economic loss has since been recovered, but many lives remain forever changed. These emails document the intimate, lived experience of this financial and personal crisis.
Farewell! limited edition artist book available, published 2018