Your last day at work tends to be an emotional one. There are goodbyes to be said, and a thank you or two as well. We spend more time with our colleagues than we do with our families. Very often, close relationships are forged. I’ve held a few jobs in my career. Each goodbye was very different. There were some goodbyes that I couldn’t wait to say. And then there were some that were heartbreaking.
When it’s time to say goodbye, you can say it in a carefully crafted email. This includes corresponding one last time with clients and service providers.
The reason you need to take time drafting this email is the tone you want to convey. You need to find a balance between a formal and more casual style while keeping it professional. Too stiff and formal doesn’t sound sincere. Too casual comes across as a bit disrespectful. You also need to think carefully about the content. It’s going to depend on your reason for leaving. Personally, I favor the approach of a standardized body. I then personalize it for the reader by adding in a few special words or phrases.
Whatever you do, you need to sound upbeat and positive. An email in which you cast yourself as a victim will not sit well with others. Whatever you do, don’t type an email in an emotional moment and send it off. It could backfire on you. I always try to read it from the recipient’s standpoint. You don’t want to leave on bad terms as you may need a reference from them!
The last day at work email when you retire
It’s not easy to accept that you’ve ‘passed your sell-by date,’ especially when you love your job and the people you interact with. I look back on our many years together with a great deal of nostalgia. The wonderful memories we’ve created along the way will live with me forever. Through good times and bad, the one thing I’ve always been able to count on is that my family at work has my back. I’ll miss the easy camaraderie that came so naturally to us.
I look forward to taking many of the lessons I learned along the way with me into my retirement. This new chapter in my life is one I embark on with great excitement and some trepidation. I hope we’ll be able to stay in touch. I’ll certainly be sending you a postcard from an exotic beach somewhere!
An email for your last day at work when you’ve got a position elsewhere
Deciding to take a new job elsewhere was not as easy as I thought it would be. Most of us are change averse and going against the grain isn’t always easy. The idea of leaving my comfort zone is daunting. A work environment such as this one is special. Being part of such an amazing team has been an enormous privilege. And it’s hard to say goodbye to it and everyone in it.
I look forward to the challenges that lie ahead for me in my new job. As my boss, Mrs. Smith, the time I have spent here with you has prepared me to face these challenges head-on and conquer them. I am the sum of all my experiences and, those experiences include my interactions with you. Thank you for your knowledge, wisdom, and kindness.
I wish you all the very best in your future endeavors. I hope you find success and happiness around each corner.
An email when you move back to your own country
I’ve loved getting to know you and understanding your customs and traditions. Thank you for embracing me, a stranger, and accepting me from day one. You went above and beyond what is expected of you to make me feel welcome and at home.
But as all good things come to an end, so has my time here. I’m excited to be going home to my family and friends. I think they’re eagerly awaiting my return. But the person who returns to ______________ won’t be the same as the one who left it ________ months ago. I’m irrevocably changed for the better by having been here.
With my horizons so richly expanded, I wish to return here someday to relive the amazing memories I’ve made here. I hope I’ll get to see you again since you’ve been so kind to me. Until then, know that I will carry those memories in my heart forever. And that the lasting impact you’ve made on me has made me a better person.
An email when you are moving to another country
When I got the opportunity to travel to ____________, I wasn’t sure if I was doing the right thing. It’s not as easy to say goodbye to everything and everyone you know and love as I’d thought it would be. But I knew in my heart that it was now or never. This was a window of opportunity I could not afford to miss.
I’m a little daunted by the fact that I don’t know exactly what to expect when I get there. But I am excited by the prospect of new surroundings and immersing myself in an entirely new environment. There are so many things I want to see and experience while I’m there.
David, you’ve been the most amazing mentor. Without having worked with and for you, I’d never have had the courage to take this chance to live out my dream. Thank you for helping to shape me into the person I am today. The knowledge and values you have equipped me with inspire me daily. They will contribute to my ability to succeed in my great odyssey.
An email when you have been laid off
I wish I was saying goodbye to you under different circumstances. But, cliched as it may sound, everything happens for a reason. I firmly believe that I am at this crossroads in my life by design, not by accident. When presented with obstacles in life, one has a choice. Either you wallow in self-pity, or you get up, dust yourself off, and get back on the horse again. I intend to exemplify the latter rather than the former.
I am in the fortunate position of having a wealth of knowledge and experience that I received from the privilege of working with you. Graham, your willingness to share your skills and help me develop mine means I leave here today with a great advantage. I am a more competent, skilled worker than I was when I arrived because of you. This will help me enormously as I pursue new avenues and opportunities for my future.
I wish you all the very best in the future. I appreciate every interaction and opportunity I’ve had while working here.
The last day at work email when you’re returning to full-time studies
I undertook the decision to return to full-time study to follow my passion with a 100% focus. If I look at it from the point of view of my future, it’s an easy decision to make. But when I look at it from the point of view of saying goodbye, it’s a little more complicated. You’ve become like family to me during our time together, and that makes saying goodbye difficult to do. I’ve spent ages trying to figure out if I could study and continue to work in this job at the same time. But unfortunately, it’s not possible. And so, the difficult decision was upon me.
I feel like I’ve reached a fork in the road. I have to choose which path to go down. And in making that choice, I have to face some saddening consequences such as saying goodbye.
The experiences I’ve had here have given me the courage to pursue my dream. They have also given me the tenacity to face any obstacles that stand between me and it. I am a stronger person than I ever imagined I could be. Thank you, Stuart, for the guiding role you’ve played as a colleague in bringing that strength to me.
An email if you’re leaving due to family issues
Finding a work-life balance has never been easy for me. I always intended to put my family first, but somehow, I didn’t get it right. Unfortunately, the consequences of my decisions have now become quite severe. Things cannot go on the way they have been. I’ve been so preoccupied with my personal issues that I don’t feel I’ve paid enough attention to my work. You as my ‘work family’ don’t deserve that either.
With today being my last day at work, I want to thank you for the understanding and compassion you’ve demonstrated toward me. This has been a very difficult time, but you never once made me feel devalued or unimportant. Your support and advice were invaluable, Debbie. I know it can’t have been easy, but you stuck by me.
Looking at it objectively, I’ve made the right decision, even if it was a very difficult one. Thank you for every opportunity afforded me during my time here. Your overwhelming kindness is appreciated beyond any words I could offer.
An email to say thank you when you’re leaving due to health reasons
Beth, I cannot thank you enough for your support during this difficult time. A lesser manager wouldn’t have been as kind and compassionate. Thanks for understanding why I’ve had to make this decision. It was not easy. But, in the end, I don’t have a choice. If I continue on my current path, I have no prospect of getting better anytime soon, if at all.
Getting my health back on track is going to be a lengthy process. It will require a lot of time and patience. I don’t think it would be fair on me or on any of you if I try to continue working as well.
I want you to know that your good wishes and support during this time have been invaluable to me. They got me through many dark times when I didn’t feel there was much hope. Your thoughts and prayers have carried me and will continue to carry me. The chance to work with you has been a great privilege, and I wish you all the very best in the future.
Featured image: Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash