Yesterday, I posted an April Fools’ Day piece for employers. Today, having been given some golden material by a friend of mine who ACTUALLY played this April Fool’s prank on his managers, I’m doing a belated April Fools’ Day lesson for employees. (He didn’t consult me before doing this, obviously).
The following is an example, for several reasons, of a prank NOT to play on April Fools’ Day (or the other 364 days of the year)…
This e-mail went out at 11:30pm last night (30 minutes before April Fools’ Day ended). The email, with a document attached, said:
Sent: Tuesday, April 01, 2014 11:30 PM
Subject: Resignation from [redacted]
Please see attached letter regarding my resignation from [redacted]. We can talk more about it tomorrow if you’d like.
The first page of a two-page PDF attachment read:
April 1, 2014
This letter is to inform you of my intention to leave my position as [redacted]. My last day at [redacted] will be May 2, 2014.
I have decided it is time to explore other avenues in the [redacted] industry and I have accepted a position elsewhere. This was not an easy decision and took a lot of consideration.
Please be assured that I will do all I can to assist in the smooth transfer of my responsibilities before leaving.
I wish you and [redacted] the very best and I would like to thank you for having me as part of your team over the last three years.
The second page read:
APRIL FOOLS’! (Don’t kill or fire me – I just had to do this!)
Upon receiving this e-mail, my friend’s manager didn’t bother to open the attachment. All she read was the e-mail. She forwarded it on to others on the team in preparation to replace him. It was only because his manager called him this morning to inquire about his resignation that she discovered it was a joke. Not a single person that touched the e-mail actually opened the attachment that contained the indication that it was an April Fools’ Day prank.
I probably don’t need to write anymore, as it is going to be abundantly clear to most why this was a terrible idea. (Don’t worry, I have already chided him over this.)
Fortunately, my friend wasn’t terminated over this joke, nor was his fake resignation accepted.
Ladies and gentlemen, don’t try this at home (or at work).
As you can see, his resignation could have been accepted and processed without anyone ever realizing it was a joke. At that point, it might have been too late for him.
On the other hand, even had it been understood to be a prank, it might not have been taken kindly or lightly. The employer might have had the last laugh had it been looking for a non-discriminatory reason to terminate him. HR could have just saved the first page of the e-mail and placed it in his personnel file as later evidence that he intended to resign from his position. Then he’d have been without unemployment benefits due to a voluntary termination.
There’s no law against terminating an employee for doing something like this. So please, PLEASE… be thoughtful about the pranks you decide to play at work on April Fool’s Day.