How to Von Trapp your way out of the office
Less is more when it comes to the adieu email.
During your coworkers’ busy working days, hearing you rambling on about your time at the company, and future away from it, might breed frustration. Be efficient in your nostalgia and quick in your praise.
Keep negatives to yourself or confined to quadruple-encrypted emails to the relevant personnel – don’t burn bridges.
Imagine the drama if the Von Trapps left the room by detailing their deep-rooted resentment for those present. Not only would they have nowhere to live, but it would make life harder for everyone in the family. Instead, they maintain their glowing reputation, and that of Maria’s, by singsonging their way to bed like good little evacuees.
While you may feel like venting, any criticism whatsoever should be given constructively, gently, and privately. People’s entire careers may hinge on whether they create a mutually positive working environment.
Maybe it’s just better to stay in the never-to-be-sent draft section, next to the one addressed to Brian Cox with the subject “So, is the earth flat?”.
This means leaving drinks (if you are having them and if the recipient is invited), contact details you’re happy to share, and anything else they might have questions about – your plans for the future, for example.
If you’re part of a small team within a larger organisation, don’t send a long email to the entire company. This could come across as big headed. Diane from accounts doesn’t need to know that you, Steve from customer service, are leaving after six months of ‘dedicated’ service.
As you’ll see, it’s important to differentiate between ranks and relationships. Also, your tone should differ depending on your organisation. Tales of hotel hopping and Vegas gambling might be more appropriate for investment banking analysts than executives of international aid schemes. So whether your vibe is wild or mild, here are some templates that you can add your own spice to.
Disclaimer: Please, oh please, remember to replace all things in [square brackets].
This should be the easiest as it’s neither too emotional or sentimental. Remember to show your intention of keeping them in your network.
Hi [Their name],
As you may know, I’m leaving [Company X].
I want to make clear my gratitude for being able to get to know you both professionally and personally over the past [X years/months]. Without your friendship, support and collaboration, my time here would not have been the same. I’m sure I’ll see you before I leave, but if not, my last day is [Date X] [include plans such as leaving drinks].
My broad plan for the future is [Plan X]. I’m excited to get started but will also cherish all our achievements together, like [Achievement X]. If you don’t already have my contact details, here are the essentials:
[Phone X, email X, LinkedIn X]
I look forward to keeping in contact and hearing your updates about work, life, whatever! Please don’t hesitate to get in touch should you need anything or want to catch up.
Wishing you all the best for the future,
This is a tricky one as you’ll have probably shared a lot of experiences with these people and might know them on a personal level.
However, they are still your superior and can provide vital character references and connections in years to come, so your parting note should remind them of your professional prowess rather than your close-and-personal pal-ness.
This message can be complicated further depending on the terms on which you left. It’s best to be sensitive to the individual and the situation to ensure that the appropriate balance is met.
Hello [Their name],
As you know, I am regretfully leaving [Company X] on [date X].
I wanted to personally thank you for both your support and mentorship over the past [years/months X].
I’ve grown as a professional thanks to your tutelage, for which I’m very grateful. I’ve also appreciated knowing you on a personal level, and very much hope we can continue this relationship beyond my final day.
Below are my relevant contact details and I hope you will get in touch at some point in the future.
[Email X, LinkedIn X]
My plans are X and you should know that you’ve played a role in getting me there. So once again, thank you.
Good luck in the future,
As with the email to your team manager, this will vary depending on your relationship with the person. You'll know if most of your interactions were informal, or if you should sign off with a pleasant yet professional farewell. Here's a good example you could use to achieve a bit of both.
Greetings [Their name],
As I‘m sure you already know, I’m moving on from [Company X].
Our final day together will be on [date X] and I look forward to parting on an especially high note. It’s been a pleasure managing you and the team as a whole, and I sincerely wish you luck in your future with [Company X].
My contact details are as follows and I hope you’ll stay in touch in the future as I’d love to hear how everyone is getting on. I am also keen to hear how you continue to develop professionally.
All the best and thanks again,
This is important for all parties involved – the client, yourself, and the company. It should go without saying that you don’t drive away clients that you worked hard to secure for your company in the first place.
Greetings [Client name],
I’m writing to you today because I’m leaving my position of [job title] at [Company X] after [X years/months]. My final working day will be on [Date X].
I wanted to email you personally to let you know how much I’ve enjoyed working together and getting to know you. Clients such as yourself were one of the best parts of the job, and I’m sure my successor will continue the positive working relationship.
Until they make contact, let me know if there is anything I can do to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible. I’m happy to help in any way.
Wishing you well for the future,
[Your Name X]
Remember, don’t burn bridges. You never know who you might hurt or who may come in useful.
Hello [Thier name],
As you may have heard, I’ll no longer be [job title X] here at [Company X]. I’m moving on to [Plan X]. I’m excited, but unsurprisingly sad to leave my colleagues behind.
I wish you all the luck for your future here and please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Here are my details: [email X, LinkedIn X]
Thanks for everything,
[Your Name X]
This one's important as you always forget putting one or two people on your list. These people may be awful bores, or sweethearts who pass under the radar. So it’s important to be kind and professional while remaining unspecific.
Good day [Their name],
You might have heard that I’ll be leaving my position in [Company X] as [Job Title X] on [Date X]. I hope my successor will enjoy their time here as much as I have, and I wish you all the best for your future.
I am moving on to [Plan X], and I’d like to offer my email and LinkedIn should you wish to get in touch in the future.
[Email X, LinkedInX]
Thanks for everything,
This one will either be the hardest or the easiest. If you just don’t know what to say to those who mean the most to you, because you’ve said it in person or because there's simply too much to say, here is the template for you.
Hi [Their name],
The day is nearly upon us. Our formidable partnership is coming to an end (in the office at least). I’d like to thank you for everything you’ve done for me here, you’ve made this job so enjoyable.
I’ll always remember [FunnyStory X]. So hopefully whoever replaces me will be rubbish *cough*… I mean… just as productive and efficient as I ever was. Please tell me how they are, and how you are, and how everyone is.
Here are my details, please stay in touch.
[Telephone X, email X, LinkedIn X]
I’ll see you on my last day [date X] if not before, and I’d love to see you at my leaving do.
All the best,
If you have worked directly with high up professionals, it’s polite and potentially useful to thank them and inform them of your leaving. This must be done professionally and concisely as they likely have no time to spare between meeting the Queen and shaking hands with the Pope.
Good day [highly positioned name],
As you may already know, I am regrettably leaving my role at [CompanyX] as [JobTitle X]. Working for [Company X] has been an excellent opportunity both professionally and personally, and I want to thank you for your involvement in this.
I am planning to [X] and aim to bring forward all the skills that I have learned and used here. I’ll remember this company fondly, and all past collaborations I’ve had with you.
Thanks once more,
Not everyone who enriches your life will receive the thanks they deserve, so make sure to acknowledge the doorman who’d give you a wink and a nod as you left each day.
Hello [Their name],
I’m emailing you to tell you that I’m leaving [CompanyX] as [job title X] on [date X].
I wanted to personally thank you for brightening my time here. Our smiles and interactions always enriched my day and contributed to making my time here all the better.
I hope that our paths will cross again, and here is my email in case you want to get in touch: [email X].
I wish you all the best for the future,
Hi, leaving I am,
Moving on to pastures green,
I ate your sandwich.
So there we have it. 10 templates you can definitely use to thank, remind, and inform the relevant people of your departure.
Remember the tips above: concise, informative, positive, appropriate. And finally, enjoy your leaving drinks!
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