How to Say Goodbye to Co-Workers

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You have lost your job or you've found a new one and you're moving on. As you depart, it's important to take the time to say farewell to your co-workers. Not only is it courteous to let them know you are leaving (particularly if you work on projects together), but writing farewell notes also allows you to provide them with your contact information so that you can keep in touch.

You never know when you might need to ask colleagues to provide you with a reference.

By maintaining contact on cordial, mutually supportive terms, you strengthen your professional network and keep the door open for continuing work and / or social opportunities.

The Best Way to Say Farewell

What's the best way to say farewell to your co-workers? Don't send a mass email. Instead, send personalized individual emails or messages via LinkedIn, rather than group messages, so your farewell message is personal.

You can use one of these sample farewell letters as a model to let colleagues, clients, and your connections know that you are moving on. Don’t simply copy and paste one of these samples, however. You’ll want to personalize it so that it specifically reflects the business and the personal relationship you have with the recipient.

Tips for Saying Farewell to Co-Workers

  • Connect on LinkedIn - Be sure your LinkedIn account includes your personal email address, not your work address. Then, if you're not already connected with your colleagues on LinkedIn, connect now.
  • Friend on Facebook - When you are friends with your co-workers, make sure you're connected on Facebook, too. Especially now that you're not working together, the boundaries between work and your personal life are gone, and you will be able to enjoy the camaraderie through social media that many employers restrict their employees from participating in.
  • Say goodbye via LinkedIn or email - send an email message or a LinkedIn message to the co-workers you know well, but not necessarily to the entire company.
  • Keep your message brief and to the point. Don't go into details (positive or negative) about why you're leaving. Just let your co-workers know you're leaving, and if you're so inclined, offer to help during the transition.
  • Do mention projects you have worked on together or events you have enjoyed together. This farewell letter is personal rather than formal.
  • Remember to say “thank you.” Farewell letters are as much about expressing your gratitude to your colleagues as they are about saying “good-bye.” At some point during your work together, the colleague you are writing to probably collaborated with you on a project or task, offered advice, or provided professional training. Identify a specific example (or two) when you were grateful for their assistance and thank them for this so that they know you have valued them as your colleague and / or friend.
  • Include your contact information - include your LinkedIn URL, your email address, and your phone number in your message, so your co-workers can stay in touch. If you would be willing to write professional recommendations for them in the future, express your willingness to do this should the occasion arise.

When You've Been Fired or Laid Off?

Even though it may feel awkward if you have been fired or laid off, it's still a good idea let your co-workers know that you are leaving or gone. When employees are laid off or fired, this affects the overall company culture. When you fail to show up for work, your closest colleagues will wonder what is going on. Very few people enjoy sudden changes in their work environment. Your colleagues may fear that their own jobs may soon be on the line, and they will also have to personally deal with the transitional stress and headaches that arise when a team member is eliminated or replaced.

If you still have internal email access before your final exit, you can use this to send a briefer email letter to your peers than you might use on LinkedIn or through your personal email account.

Let them know you'll be moving on. Ask for job search assistance, if it's appropriate, and provide your personal contact information so that they can remain connected to you if they wish.

More About Leaving Your Job: How to Tell Your Boss You're Quitting