True Tales: Fired by E-mail


Breaking up has always been hard to do. It's emotional and the whole thing can be awkward. (Umm, so you're wearing my sweatshirt -- do you mind if I get that back?) Which is why, since the dawn of the Internet, people have been dumping each other via e-mail. Although it's considered to be the most impersonal and cowardly way to initiate a breakup, it is also, undeniably, the easiest.

Unfortunately, what was once a tactic reserved for spineless exes, has become more commonplace at work, as employers are increasingly delivering the pink slip via e-mail. "It's yet another example of how people use their computer screen to avoid confrontation," says Shannon*, an independent entertainmentpublicist who was fired by e-mail last month. Shannon was preparing for the album launch of her client, a recording artist, when she received an out-of-the-blue e-mail stating that the client could no longer afford her services. "He just suddenly dumped me over e-mail," she says. "I still get calls from journalists as his album is coming out soon. It's a bit awkward."