Have you dreamed about your last working day? When the day finally arrives, the momentus occasion deserves the proper farewell wishes. This mega-size article covers leaving messages for cards for colleagues, saying goodbye to coworkers or a boss who are leaving, and penning your own perfect goodbye email.
If it’s your coworker leaving for a new job, retirement, or a change of pace, it’s important to acknowledge contributions and show appreciation for time at the company. If you’re the one leaving, check out my unique ideas for leaving a job in style.
But as they say, “there’s a few housekeeping things we need to take care of first.” This goes for both the employee leaving, and the ones staying. You need to know how to handle your anxiety about telling people you’re leaving. Will you cry? What will be your parting words? Will you give a speech? What if there are people you don’t like?
Let’s rip that band-aid off and get to the farewell party!
Part 1: Farewell Messages to Your Coworkers
Table of Contents
- Part 1: Farewell Messages to your coworkers
- Short leaving card messages
- Group leaving E-cards
- Leaving with laughter
- PART 2: How to say goodbye at work
- What do I say?
- Joyful goodbyes
- Short, sweet, and simple goodbye
- Making a classy exit
- Unique job exit ideas
- Leaving the wrong way
- Email farewell to coworkers
- Leaving in style, the final Hurrah!
Part 1: Farewell Messages to your coworkers
With a little creativity, you can write a farewell message that will make your coworker laugh, cry, or both. You’ll find some suggestions for what to write or say below to your coworkers and office friends who are quitting, retiring, moving to another organization, or resigning.
In a nutshell, keep it personal, be sincere, add some humor, and keep it short. Reflect on your coworker’s time at the company, what value they added, a happy memory, their positive attitude, etc. If they mentored or trained you, mention your gratitude.
Consider adding a funny anecdote or inside joke to your message. Whatever it is that made your coworker stand out, be sure to mention it in your message.
Short leaving card messages
If you’re signing a group card, there won’t be space for a long message. Don’t let that stop you from buying your own card to spend more time with your thoughts. In the meantime, here are some short messages for a coworker leaving:
- “All the best”
- “We all knew you had it in you”
- Well done!
- “Good luck for the future!”
- “Goodbye and good luck”
- “Best of luck and don’t forget us!”
- “Onwards and upwards!”
- “Good luck in your next chapter”
- “You’ll be sorely missed”
- “Best wishes, [Name]”
Group leaving E-cards
Not every idea has to be original, that’s what greeting card companies are for. There are two in particular that are highly recommended:
These online platforms offer great ways to collaborate with colleagues for leaving e-cards. They make the entire process easy and quick. There are also many fantastic designs to choose from. You can write your own messages, too!
Leaving with laughter
Saying goodbye to a coworker can be a bittersweet experience. You may feel sad, but it doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun with it. If your coworker has a great sense of humor, why not leave them with a funny going away message?
Remember, the goal is to make your coworker smile, so don’t be afraid to be a little silly. So whether you’re writing a farewell card message or giving a speech at their going away party, remember to keep it light, humorous, and heartfelt.
Here are some ideas for a funny goodbye message to coworker:
Remember, the goal is to make your coworker laugh, not to offend them. Keep it light-hearted and fun, and you’re sure to leave them with a smile on their face. Saying goodbye to a coworker can be tough, but it doesn’t have to be all tears and sadness. Make their departure a little bit easier by leaving them with a fond memory of their time at the company.
PART 2: How to say goodbye at work
I’ve worked with some pretty nice people over the years. The closer I get to retirement, the more I look on enviously to those who have made the final job exit. How many of us have entertained thoughts of how we will leave, and what we will say (or not say) when that moment arrives?
Believe me, even the most social butterflies have problems with workplace goodbyes. I’ve allowed myself to daydream a bit, and imagine what I would say on my exit. Wow, what a scary and uncomfortable feeling! I now understand why people get anxiety about saying goodbye to their work buddies.
Saying goodbye in the workplace is part of life. For some, this is a regular occurence. As one person said it, “it is a chance to grow.” I couldn’t agree more. If you are thinking of skipping out on this all together, without uttering a word, don’t do it. You will regret it forever.
Hey, we’re all uncomfortable with this. All I can say is, consider it closure (which is more important than you think to your mental health).
What do I say?
Keep it short and sweet. You don’t have to give job details if you are moving on, or retirement plans. Although, it helps to have an answer prepared so you don’t get taken off guard. Simply offer “It’s just not for me anymore”, “I’ve had a better offer”, “It’s time for a change”.
You might even get choked up and tearful about leaving. Just a warning, it can really sneak up on you. If you know that you are prone to being emotional, have the kleenex ready. You may truly be sad about leaving. It’s also best to keep your last words short, if that’s all you can manage to get out.
Most people really struggle with how to say goodbye. You don’t want it to feel forced and uncomfortable. You are going to miss some people, and not others, and that’s okay. Just follow what your heart is telling you.
If you’re comfortable saying farewell to everyone, great! Briefly say goodbye to the whole room and you’re good. If you’re not comfortable with this, there are different ways to leave on your own terms (but I urge you to keep it classy). Don’t feel you have to make it formal and deliver a speech.
You’re not obligated to say anything at all, it’s your choice. Plan on wishing your coworkers/colleagues all the best and if you have to, lie to them about how much you enjoyed working with them. The best thing you can do is leave on good, normal terms with everyone.
You may truly feel that you have been through a lot with your comrades. There could have been amazing memories as well as amazing achievements. That reminds me of the recent death of a local newspaper editor. I was not personally familiar with him, but the alcolades that came pouring into the newspaper left me wishing I had.
The paper ran tributes for a month to this man. People loved him, and wanted to do right by him with worthy tributes to his long, and generous career.
Celebrating the end of my time working for [company] was one of the happiest days in my life. My friends walked with me through each step to retirement. They were happy for me and excited for their future date.-Happy retiree
If you’re one of the lucky ones who treasured the time spent on the job, enjoy your exit with your work family. Shake their hands, hug the ones you’re close to. Say thank you for mentoring you, share a different highlight for each person you are grateful to.
Short, sweet, and simple goodbye
I know you’re seeking an easy way to say goodbye when departing your job. Do what is natural for you. I had a coworker who famously ended emails and Fridays with “Have a good one!” It was so iconic of her that we made it the basis of her retirement party.
The best advice I ever heard was “keep your goodbye short so you don’t trigger your anxiety.” How true! We probably get ourselves all worked up about this when we really don’t have to.
Consider these simple adieus:
- “It’s been a pleasure!”
- “Continue carrying the torch!”
- “Carry on!”
- “It was nice working with you.”
- “Later dudes!”
Making a classy exit
Your goodbye doesn’t have to be long, but it can be meaningful. Say your words after a leaving party, after a coffee break, or at the end of the day when you leave for the last time.
Use these ideas to leave your job on a positive note:
Small and private is OK
- Send an email to just the people you worked with directly.
- Have a small gathering of people who were influential in your time at work, so you can thank them.
- If you enjoyed working with a small handful of people on a remote work job, send them a text so they are not caught off guard.
- Say your goodbyes to the people have been impactful to your personal growth and professional growth.
- Just walk around and talk to anyone you consider a friend or a colleague and give them a heads up.
- Mention it’s your last day to a few coworkers you talk to more regularly.
- Tell one or two of your closer coworkers and let them tell everyone.
Farewell message examples
- “Today is my last day, I wish you the best.”
- “Thought I’d let you know today was my last day. I’m starting a new job on Monday so best of luck everyone.”
- “As some of you may know, it’s my last day. I’ve really enjoyed my time here, thanks for having me!”
- “It’s been a real pleasure working with all of you, and I wish you all the best in the future.”
- “Today’s my last day, I just wanted to say goodbye and wish you guys the best.”
- “I’ve learned a lot and enjoyed being here, I appreciate the opportunity.”
- “Nice working with you all (insert a statement or two about what you’ve learned if you feel like it and that you’ve appreciated your time there).”
- If you happen to communicate with coworkers during your last days, mention to them you are leaving. This will avoid making them feel yucky when they realize you left, and also that they don’t look stupid when they ask about you.
- If you are part of a team, you have a responsibility to not leave them hanging. Inform them that you have a new job offer and you have already trained your replacement (that would actually be my dream employee!).
- If you are working a seasonal or rotating job, (constructions, etc.) or a traveling job, it’s a nice courtesy to let others know your stint is up. Although not really necessary unless you have really connected with some of these people.
- In some instances such as working with vendors, it’s also a courtesy to give them a heads up you are leaving. You might even introduce them to your replacement. I’ve always appreciated this professional touch.
Unique job exit ideas
If you’re looking for more than your run-of-the mill goodbye, take a lesson from these creative exit ideas:
Bring doughnuts or a yummy dessert. That’s what my daughter did when she left a part-time student job at her university. The little department was incredibly warm and friendly, and she loved it there. She felt like a real heel for leaving, but she had enough character to drop the doughnuts off and say a quick goodbye to everyone.
The “sweet treat” move is a lovely way to divert attention from yourself. This is a great solution for those of you who are introverted or who have social anxiety. Works if you’re the social butterfly, too.
Handwritten thank you notes. One woman didn’t let technology get in the way. She scanned a handwritten goodbye note, and then sent it via office email to everyone. Her coworkers remarked how genuine and heartfelt it was.
Alternatively, you can send a personal note mailed to select people after you have left (to their home address) so other staff don’t compare cards. Some people I have worked with have really brought their A-game. I have deeply admired them for that and would want to acknowledge them. It really puts it into perspective after you work with slackers and sub-par coworkers.
Reflecting on a lifetime career. One woman sent out an email that focused on the highlights of her career. She described the different locations and responsibilities she was assigned to and the technological changes she experienced over the span of her career. She then closed by wishing her coworker well (I’m stealing this one!).
Songs for leaving work. I can’t let this idea slide. I’ve embedded two videos in this article of people singing on their last day. The first is a YouTube video posted by Steve Harvey called “How to Quit a Job” (a coffee shop guy is joined by his own backup group as he delivers his goodbye message to a plaza of people). The second is the scene from the sitcom The Office, where staff sing the song “9,986,000 minutes” to Michael Scott.
Leaving the wrong way
Don’t be a dolt. When given the chance, always opt for being classy when leaving your job. Below are some examples of less than desirable leaving work exit examples.
When there’s bad blood
I don’t think I have to fill in the blank here. There are times when you simply never cared for a coworker, they were unbearable, they were bullies in the workplace, or took credit for something you had done.
I recall the comment one coworker told me, “When I reach the city limits on Friday, I flick my middle finger.” Man, tell me how you really feel!
If you’ve dreamed about going off in a blaze of glory, stop. There is a time and a place to call someone out. Do it in private. It never gives you the closure you think it will and it’s definitely not the “in your face” telling-someone-off moment Hollywood portrays it to be.
There’s no reason to make a fuss if you don’t have to. No one is going to remember your last words if they are at all generic (generic is good, in this case!). Your coworkers will remember you if you were a total jerk when you left. Is that the way you want to be remembered?
Take my advice, and take the high road when you leave your job.
Saying goodbye to no one
I get that you would rather just leave under the radar. I’m here to tell you that not saying goodbye will haunt you, like that dream you had in college of forgetting a last exam. My husband and I both made this mistake, and decades later don’t feel right about it.
There’s a thing called an “Irish Goodbye” which means you just leave without saying goodbye. That smells of coward to me.
Sure, some people will say “I’m OK with what I did.” Are you really? I have a feeling when you finally grow up, you’ll realize what a jerk move it was. If anyone says that, it’s really code for “I was nervous and wanted to avoid the situation.”
You never know who of those people may enter your life again and you wouldn’t want the awkwardness of “I never said goodbye to that person” to sieze you up with regrets. Maybe you will interview for a new job down the line with one of them, or one of them will own a company you want to work for. Last impressions are just as important as first impressions!
For pete’s sake, go ahead and say goodbye! You’ll regret it more if you don’t. It’s called “adulting” and it’s time you get used to it (Ok, this last part – listen to that advice!).
Don’t burn bridges
People who are far smarter than me agree it’s in your best interests to not burn bridges when leaving your job. For one reason, your manager or boss will become your reference checks for future jobs.
Never in any job think you will never see your old coworkers again. You never know in the future if one of them could become your colleague or even your boss. Always leave a workplace on cordial terms. It might pay off when they seek you out and make a job offer (in the case of a coworker who has moved up the ladder).
This goes both ways. You might think of a coworker when a position comes up where you’re at. Do not be so dense as to think that you will never see these folks again if you’re continuing to work in the same field. Some industries have pretty small circles, so you will certainly see an ex-coworker again.
Leave on good terms. Let your team know that you enjoyed the time together and learned a lot. Wish them the best and head on to your new company. Maintaining a professional relationship can have beneficial effects on your career.
Email farewell to coworkers
A goodbye email on your last day is pretty typical in office settings. Send a final email thanking everyone and mentioning that you appreciated everything you learned from them over the years spent working there.
Example farewell email #1
“Today is my last day at [Company]. [Company] provided me with the opportunity to expand my skills and broaden my experience. For that, I am truly grateful.”
Example farewell email #2
As many of you know, today is my last day at [Company] . The last [amount of time] has been a very rewarding learning experience, and I’m so glad to have gotten the chance to work with you all. Big shout out to [boss/manager/superviser/coworker], etc, for their strong leadership, and the team at large for all your hard work.
Optional: if you want to keep in touch, please feel free to email me at [Email address].
All the best/warmest regards/thanks,
Example farewell email #3
I am reaching out to let everyone know that my last day at [Company] will be tomorrow, [Month/Day].
I am moving on to be closer to family but have enjoyed my time at this organization and in my role as ________. I feel very grateful for my time at [Company] and want to thank everyone for their kindness and support. I wish you all, and [Company] as a whole, nothing but the best.
My personal email is [Email address] if you would like to get in touch with me after my last day.
All my best,
Leaving in style, the final Hurrah!
I’ve worked with enough coworkers now to see them get giddy the closer they get to their final day. FYI, here are just a few “in retirement mode” behavior that might surface:
- Leave an out-of-office message saying you will be back on June 31 (or February 29th) or 404 Employee Not Found
- Change the desktop wallpaper on your work laptop to be a photo of yourself sitting on the beach drinking a Corona.
- Have a go-to mantra to declare during you last few months, ex: “Dobby has no master. Dobby is a FREE ELF!”
- Record your out-of-office, “I am out of the office and will never return.”
The clever leaving idea that took the cake was a woman who hid little pictures of herself along with little gifts throughout the office. She must have really put thought into this, because she also scribbled funny messages to go along with everything. I imagine it was very hard for her to leave, and this “treasure hunt” kept her mind off of her last day finally coming.
I wish you the best!