Often, when leaving a company, you do so with a heavy heart. If you’re leaving on good terms, that is. If the separation is mutual and no ill feelings remain, you may want to express your parting sentiments to your coworkers remaining behind. In this case, you’ll want to distill your parting thoughts in a touching farewell letter to colleagues.
Because so much of your time goes toward working alongside these people, making sure to tie up loose ends, promising to keep in touch, and ultimately, leaving a good impression, are paramount. This is especially true as you worked hard to build your personal brand.
Also, practically speaking, because you spent over one-third of your waking hours with these people, you’ve likely developed lasting relationships with the people you worked with, including supervisors, teammates, and other colleagues you may have worked with on past projects or teams.
To drive home the importance of your relationships, your touching farewell letters to colleagues need to demonstrate the network you built resulted in something more than merely business casual in nature. Stating in plain language how your experiences developed you as a person, resulted in formative experiences, and occupied your time in a worthwhile manner should come across in your words.
A farewell letter gracefully and professionally informs your colleagues about your departure. It also sets the tone for your entire tenure and parting. Your goal here should include leaving a positive impression, stating your gratefulness for the experiences shared with your coworkers, and demonstrating your fondness for your time spent together.
This will result in placing your best foot forward and also not tipping the scales toward eagerness to leave. While there may be an element of that present, you at no point want to express negativity in your statements.
This includes avoiding resentment, and instead, stating just enough to inform your coworkers of your next steps in your career (or retirement if you’ve reach financial independence). Exhibit sound decision-making and part on good terms.
As you’ve commonly heard, absence makes the heart grow fonder. Make sure your parting impression makes people want to see you again should you ever return. This will make people remember you as generous and kind, avoids jealousy and shows respect and admiration for your time spent together.
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Important Aspects of a Touching Farewell Letter to Colleagues
Content is Positive
To drive home the importance of your time spent together, a rule of thumb is to kill them with kindness and positivity. Much like Dale Carnegie asserts in How to Win Friends and Influence People, always overwhelm with positivity and kindness. In so doing, you demonstrate to your team an attitude which should make any negativity seem out of place and unwelcome. Even if the times spent together weren’t always rosy, highlighting that in a letter can do no one any good. As a result, always remain positive in the letter and be sincere.
Personalize the Contents by Adding Specific Details
Doing so shows thoughtfulness in your words and measures your actions. It shows you’ve taken time to reflect on the contents of your touching farewell letter to colleagues. By highlighting specific details, it can remind coworkers of the best times you’ve had together and make them remember your time together for the best experiences.
When in Doubt, Keep it Light-Hearted and Include Humor
Sometimes, when writing a touching farewell letter to colleagues, there can be an inclination to make very heavy statements to express your thoughts. While this can help to convey your true sentiments, often, mixing heavy with light-hearted ideas can draw out your meaning more due to the contrast. Personally, I’ve found success using humor to defray situations in conversations. The same works with the written word.
If Posted Publicly on Social Media, Allow for Subtle Self-Promotion
If this letter lands on social media, you want to exercise great caution for the words you choose. Because your business will display publicly, you will want to remain cognizant of how you reflect on your time with coworkers at your organization. This also serves as dual purpose: subtly promoting yourself, brand, and reputation. Use of sincerity and careful observation should go toward making your reputation online (and therefore, with future potential employers) pristine and magnetic.
While this should be obvious given you’re written a touching farewell letter to colleagues, it still bears pointing out. In this letter, always make yourself appear humble, demonstrate gratitude, and let the rest fall where it may. Try not to thank anyone in particular if this is meant for wide-circulation, sticking primarily to the company as a whole and people you’ve worked with in general. If you plan to customize the farewell letter for each colleague, feel free to tailor your thoughts and words accordingly.
Offer to Remain Connected Despite Your Parting
Finally, an important part to drive home is the desire to remain connected. By avoiding this offer, it may feel as though you’re burning bridges. You want to convey a sense of respect for your erstwhile colleagues while hoping to stay in touch. If nothing else, you never know when your paths may cross again in the future.
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Leaving is Never Easy, But Sometimes is Best
Recently, I parted ways with my first employer after graduating college. I learned a great deal from my time there, including about the solar energy investment tax credit, how to use a depreciation calculator to model financial results, what tax reform in 2018 did to utility companies, how to claim the earned income tax credit through volunteer work under the VITA program, among many other items.
My time with the company led to extensive career development, rewarding experiences, and interactions with highly-competent individuals. In many ways, I was fortunate to start my career at this employer.
That said, other opportunities in a different part of the country called my name. My growing family required a relocation to be near family, better schools, and more opportunities for my wife and I’s careers.
Knowing I left on great terms with my colleagues gives me peace of mind. It also provides me the opportunity to keep those relationships in tact going forward.
For an idea of how I wrote my goodbye message to colleagues, see my example published on social media below. Be sure to use this as a template and customize the various elements to fit your unique situation.
Your circumstances will vary from what you value from your time spent with colleagues, to what you learned and experienced, to your emotional connection with the organization. Because everyone is different, so should your thank you and farewell message to colleagues.
Touching Farewell Letter to Colleagues Example
Today officially marks the end of my wonderful 5+ years with Entergy in their regulatory and finance organizations. Nearly 6 years ago, in the midst of a daunting job search filled with rejection and during the worst recession in decades, I received a call almost as if through divine providence. After exhausting my final lead on a job, a recruiter was on the other end of the line calling about an exciting job opportunity at a Fortune 500 company based in New Orleans.
Knowing only one company of this stature called New Orleans home, I couldn’t help but fill with excitement. After all, 25 years prior, my father landed a job with this very company. In the process, his new role saved his young family from financial hardship suffered during the ups and downs of the oil industry during the 1980s. It is only fitting Entergy would do the same for me and I have been grateful ever since.
To say working at Entergy has been a magnificent start to my career would be an understatement. My roles challenged me, allowed me to grow both personally and professionally, and provided rewarding experiences and connections I’ll always treasure. I’ve worked alongside some of the smartest people I’ve ever met and learned as much as I could from how they operate.
My roles have taken me to nuclear power plants, multiple public service commissions, and even Wall Street to ring the closing bell. Because of these rich factors, it is difficult for me to part with the company. However, it is time for me to move on to other opportunities as my family grows and necessarily relocates to California.
I offer this message as a means to thank those who offered their support during my tenure, to express my gratitude for the strong network I’ve built through my time with Entergy, and to demonstrate value for the strong professional experience I’ve developed. In combination, these have all led me to the next steps in my career. I wouldn’t be near the employee I am without the encouragement of people who took a chance on hiring me at this company. Thanks for everything, Entergy!
Farewell Letter Writing Tips
- Express sincerity. Don’t include anything fake or superficial in your words. Be genuine.
- Use humor where appropriate. This can be a way to diffuse anything too heavy with your sentiment.
- Relive certain great moments experienced with your colleagues. Recollect fond memories consisting of your successes and failures, that time your boss showed to an external meeting without his notes and had to ad lib (to great comedic effect!), or when your team worked through thick and thin to deliver a quality work product. This is your chance to highlight everything worth remembering, both the good and bad.
- Wish good luck to the colleagues you’re leaving behind. Use the end of your letter to express this luck.
- Reflect thoroughly on the content you choose to include in your farewell letter. Don’t make it look like some drivel anyone could rattle off by going through the motions. Make your words count and show how much your colleagues meant to you.
- Express appreciation for your time spent together.
- Always use correct grammar when drafting your letter. Read the words carefully for flow, grammatical correctness, vocabulary, and other writing mechanics. If it flows well, sometimes reading the letter in reverse can be the best way to review what you’ve written because it breaks the repeated beginning to end read through which might cause you to miss errors.
- When in doubt, use shorter, simple sentences. Try to avoid overly drawn out sentences where your intended meaning could be lost in translation.
- Be positive. Leave a good lasting impression filled with positivity.
- Depending on the target audience, the letter can be either formal or informal.
Above all else, you want the touching farewell letter to colleagues to reflect on the relationships you’ve built, the experiences you’ve shared, and the fondness you’ll have for the time spent together. Despite moving along in your life, you want everyone to remember things as they were at their best together.
Doing so requires demonstrating appreciation and offering thanks to those who have helped you come this far in life.
About the Site Author and Blog
In 2018, I was winding down a stint in investor relations and found myself newly equipped with a CPA, added insight on how investors behave in markets, and a load of free time. My job routinely required extended work hours, complex assignments, and tight deadlines. Seeking to maintain my momentum, I wanted to chase something ambitious.
I chose to start this financial independence blog as my next step, recognizing both the challenge and opportunity. I launched the site with encouragement from my wife as a means to lay out our financial independence journey and connect with and help others who share the same goal.
I have not been compensated by any of the companies listed in this post at the time of this writing. Any recommendations made by me are my own. Should you choose to act on them, please see my the disclaimer on my About Young and the Invested page.