So Long, Farewell, Staffer Emails Goodbye

Q. What's your take on the long goodbye emails staffers love to send? You know the ones: I am moving on, I learned so much here, I am grateful blah blah blah. Sometimes I get one from someone I didn't even know! Is this just a Hill thing and do I have to subscribe to it?

A. It’s not just a Hill thing — people love to say goodbye. Maybe they’re going someplace better, or maybe they’re truly grateful for the experience, but a well-executed, graceful exit is the capstone to any office experience.

Here’s why:

  • No matter how good (or bad) of a job you did as an employee, people tend to retain their final memories of you. So if you leave on good terms, it provides rose-colored lenses to your former colleagues. Conversely, if you leave in a cloud of chaos, they are less likely to remember your stellar work ethic and more likely to remember the confusion under which you left.
  • A goodbye email is essentially a press release. It’s your chance to message why you are leaving. No matter how dysfunctional an office or how amazing a promotion, stick to what people want to hear: You’ll miss them. It was a great place to work. Your boss is stellar. You don’t need to win points for creativity, only graciousness.
  • This is your chance to bolster — not burn — those bridges. In nearly any field, having great connections on Capitol Hill is a plus. Leave with your co-workers on good terms and you’ll take that good will to your next position. And the position after that. And so on.