Business Etiquette Goodbye Message

by Mary Cullen on Thu, Jul 9, 2009

(Issue 20: July, 2009) by Mary Cullen
It is summertime, and my deepest wish is that you are enjoying some time off, rejuvenating and relaxing. Sadly, many in this economy are encountering forced time off. This issue looks at the challenging business etiquette quandry of how to professionally write a goodbye message if you have lost your job.

It is painful to lose your job. Whether it is due to a merger, layoffs, poor sales or a personality conflict, so many emotions rage: worry, stress and resentment.

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There is a hilarious layoff scene in the movie "Broadcast News:"
Manager: Now, if there's anything I can do for you...
Employee: Well, I certainly hope you'll die soon.


As much as we might momentarily feel better with this scathing retort, it will not help us find new and better work.

Instead, respond professionally to the notification, close out all work responsibilities fully, and foster connection with all contacts. Here is an example of a good message notifying colleagues you are leaving:

Hi Carmen, (If you are friendly enough for a personal message notifying the recipient of your departure, use the more personal salutation "Hi" followed by a comma. More on salutations.)

Tomorrow, July 29, will be my last day at Acme Company. I'm departing to new adventures. I don't yet know what they'll be, but I'm sure they will be wonderful. (Without overtly stating so, it's clear this person did not leave for another position. Yet, there is absolutely no bitterness. If you know what you will be doing, state it here..."I will be taking time off to care for my infant son." or "I am entering an MBA program at Rutgers.")

It has been a joy to work with you during my time here. You are so energetic and positive, and I sincerely hope we stay in touch and find future opportunities to work together. (State something truthful and specific about this particular recipient, so it feels sincere and targeted, not a mass email. Also indicate your desire to stay in touch.)

Gerry Malvers (gmalvers@acme.com) and Suresh Patel (spatel@acme.com) will be your new contacts for procurement. Feel free to contact them with any questions regarding your accounting services in the future. I have given them your contact information and briefed them on the work you've done so well for Acme. (Provide clear information about how your recipient will connect with your company or department, and any relevant information they need.)

I wish you great success, and hope we get to work with each other again! I look forward to your updates on Facebook and/or LinkedIn. (This assumes you are already connected on Facebook and LinkedIn. If not, tell them you will be sending them a connection request, or provide your own contact information on these networks. If you do not yet use LinkedIn or Facebook, let this be a reminder to establish your presence on these social networks before you may need it. This is most important - you have honed good relationships, so stay connected with them. If you do not use LinkedIn or Facebook, provide your personal email address instead.)

Best regards,
Jeanine

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Mary Cullen

About the author

Mary Cullen

Mary founded Instructional Solutions in 1998, and is an internationally recognized business writing trainer and executive writing coach with two decades of experience helping thousands of individuals and businesses master the strategic skill of business writing. She excels at designing customized business writing training programs to maximize productivity, advance business objectives, and convey complex information. She holds a B.A in English from the University of Rhode Island, a M.A in English Literature from Boston College, and a C.A.G.S. in Composition and Rhetoric from the University of New Hampshire.

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