The farewell e-mail has suddenly become commonplace, a new art form in the electronic age. Yet like so many aspects of the Internet era -- how to unfriend on Facebook, how much to reveal on a personal blog -- the technology has gotten ahead of the etiquette. There are, quite simply, no rules.
In May, lawyer Shinyung Oh was let go from the San Francisco branch of the Paul Hastings law firm six days after losing a baby. The seven-year associate, who said she was told her previous, glowing evaluations may have been "overinflated," composed a blistering e-mail to the partners and fired it off to about 1,000 colleagues around the world.