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Saying Goodbye to Coworkers

written by: Ada Stoy•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 7/10/2010

Leaving a job can be a sad time, especially if it wasn't your desire to quit. These tips cover how to say goodbye to coworkers, even if you're secretly happy about getting as far away from them as possible.

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    What to Do When Saying Goodbye to Coworkers

    Saying goodbye to your coworkers can be done in many ways, and these ways largely depend on the culture of the company and the country you are in. In some cases, the Human Resources department will handle most of the activities related to saying your goodbyes, but in other cases – for instance, when there is no HR department at all or when the HR department doesn't get involved in such affairs – it is up to you to say goodbye to your coworkers. Here are some steps which you can take on your own.

    • Write a goodbye letter. A goodbye letter to coworkers is a standard procedure, especially if your coworkers don't know you are leaving. In this letter, you can state that you will not be working together anymore because you are moving to another company, retiring, relocating, etc. Don't forget to thank your colleagues for the times you had together.
    • Keep in touch with your former colleagues, leave contact information. In some cultures, there is no practice to keep in touch with former colleagues, but in many others this is the norm. You might be friends with some of your coworkers and in this case, most likely you will keep in touch anyways. But if this isn't the case, don't forget to leave your contact information, especially if you are relocating somewhere far away. You can leave an email address, a mobile number, a profile with a social network, etc.
    • Get letters of recommendation from your boss and possibly from coworkers. Letters of recommendation can be useful, especially if you're new to the work force. This is why you should get a letter of recommendation before you leave the company. You can always request letters of recommendation later, but you can also be proactive and do it when you are saying goodbye to your coworkers and boss.
    • Throw a party. This is another step that varies from culture to culture and from company to company. If the reasons you are leaving your job are happy ones (i.e. you are moving to a higher paid job), then a party is quite natural. Depending on the size of the company, the party could be for everybody (i.e. if it is a small company) or only for the people whom you have immediately worked with.

    You are not obliged to do all of the activities listed above, but it is a good idea to part ways with your coworkers in a nice way. What is not nice is to turn your goodbye to your coworkers into a personal vendetta.

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    What Not to Do When Saying Goodbye to Coworkers

    In addition to the things you might want to do when saying goodbye to your coworkers, there are also things you'd shouldn't do. For instance, if you are leaving your job because you were fired, laid off, or simply because your boss has been terrorizing you and you didn't get adequate protection, you might be tempted to do something rash, but that could turn around and haunt you at a later date. Here are some things not to do when saying goodbye to coworkers.

    • Don't burn bridges. You might be relieved that you are not working at a particular company anymore, but it won't hurt if you try to remain friends with your former colleagues. Who knows, one day you might need them.
    • No insults and public display of harsh feelings. You might be leaving because the boss and/or the coworkers were nasty but don't resort to insults or a public display of harsh feelings – this will only make your enemies happier.

    These two things might seem obvious, but many people are often tempted by them. Keep to the polite ways of saying goodbye to your coworkers, and save your venting for another time and place.