Software

Exiting employees and their goodbye e-mails

We've all seen the parting e-mails from employees who leave the company for one reason or another. Some are short and sweet, some are longer. But are these notes a risk?

We've all seen the parting e-mails from employees who leave the company for one reason or another. Some are short and sweet, some are longer. But are these notes a risk?

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Over the span of my career, I've read many goodbye e-mails. These are the (usually) globally-addressed e-mails that exiting employees send out as they're leaving the company. I find them pretty interesting. First of all, with all the hypersensitivity that HR has to exercise, I wonder why more companies haven't put the kibosh on these e-mails.

It seems like, in the wrong hands, they could be deadly: "It's been nice working with all of you. By the way Donna, you're making $20,000 less than Tom, who's doing the same job you are." Or maybe: "Most everyone has been genuinely great to work with. Except for Dexter." And even: "Good luck to everyone here. I'll be shocked if this sorry excuse for a company lasts through the year."

Most of the time, though, goodbye e-mails are pretty classy, with folks expressing gratitude for the learning opportunities the job gave them. Some, however, remind me of Academy Award speeches with tear-inducing recognition to all the little people who made that person's job success possible: "I will hold the memory of you all in my heart, and the light of that will guide me through any obstacles that life places in my path." I received one goodbye e-mail along those lines that was almost 200 words long. And it wasn't from a CIO or anyone near that stature.

Then there are the globally addressed e-mails that make you want to ask, "Who are you?"

So what do you think? Do you think goodbye e-mails are a good idea? Are they harmless or a hotbed for trouble?

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

5 comments
annecloward
annecloward

As a contractor, I find myself sending these on a regular basis. I try to be positive, brief, and honest. I include my contact information in case people want to keep in touch. Several times these people have led to my next contract. I never ever badmouth the company I am working for or have worked for in the past in these.

The IT Guru
The IT Guru

In all my years of working, I have always made a point of never burning my bridges behind me, and a couple of times, I have been asked back with higher pay and responsibility.

maxp
maxp

You'll never know if you have to walk in that door again or if the persons behind the new door are the same as the previous one. Dont slam doors, be positive, its not the end - its the beginning. See what you have learned and use it in a positive way

craig.walker
craig.walker

My father told me to let my work do the talking. When you leave a job they should miss you because you are hard to replace.

bryan_es
bryan_es

While I would never send a goodbye email to the whole company, I have to targeted groups of people who I worked with, whether I liked them or not. At the end of the day, if you are leaving on your terms to bigger and better things, it will never hurt you to be remembered well. It's your first two weeks and your last two weeks that everyone remembers.

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