The Good Goodbye Letter

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I hope the topic will arouse your curiosity and if it hasn’t, then perhaps the double play on words will lead you to read to the very end.

Have you thought what your farewell letter would be like if you decided to leave the company tomorrow? If you have never done this exercise before, let me congratulate you and believe you’re someone who has managed to make their job, their hobby without any hassle from anyone.

Anyway back to the subject at hand, some of you will think that once you leave, it no longer matters what this email or letter might say. The surprise may come later when one of those “blessed” by our email becomes our boss or the person who has the last say in a shared business undertaking. I can assure you this happens for real; it’s not something out of a fiction film.

I suggest everyone takes a few seconds to ponder what their letter might be like. We can be extremely careful and espouse the motto, “We are masters of our silences and slaves to our words” (based on an old Arabic proverb and attributed to that great author of all times: Anon.), or we can succumb to the mundane “If I don’t say something, I’ll explode”. Somewhere straddling the fence between those two options is where the happy medium lies.

Keeping this in mind, let’s say farewell sincerely with a touch of irony.


“Hi everyone:
As some of you are already aware, I have taken the decision to take on new challenges elsewhere and leave XXX.
I have grown in this company personally and professionally and that’s why I have tried to include in this good-bye email all those who have in one way or another been important during my tenure:

  • Those who have personally helped me overcome difficult moments: thank you.
  • Those who always had a smile for me whenever I asked for something: thank you.
  • Those who shared intense professional situations with me and pulled their weight with such dedication: thank you.
  • Those who were at my side day by day: thank you.
  • Those who resorted to misconduct to achieve objectives: thank you.
  • Those who think themselves above good and evil for the way they managed situations and people: thank you.

I’d be delighted to professionally cross paths again with anyone who falls into one of the first four groups. And if destiny is whimsical and decides that it’s someone from the last two, I only hope I’ll be the boss.

May the force be with you!

P.S. If any of you are forwarded this email from a third party and really believe you should have been included because you identify yourself with one of the groups, please consider yourself another member of this “family”.



This letter opens the door to more ambitious purposes:

Can we identify how many people around us would include us in the last two groups if they were to send out this farewell letter today? How many people would we include ourselves? Have we ever been consciously “toxic”?

Confucius already said, “The corn is not choked by the weeds but by the negligence of the farmer.”

Is the employee morally required to play the role of the farmer? What real measures are there for detecting that the reason for changing company is actually to escape from “toxic” bosses and/or colleagues?

The practice of doing a farewell letter ought to be mandatory by contract. However if the level of sincerity is poor, we must realize that there is a problem: either trust in the HR department is low or personal interests outweigh professional ethics and commitment to the company. In both cases, the effect is a loss of key information for detecting and fixing internal problems that negatively impact productivity, and ultimately affect the income statement.

What a simple and valuable way of identifying situations which undoubtedly help to improve the margin! This is the eternal Achilles heel of many companies.

By Ana Martínez Mier, Global HR Support Team at Meta4.

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