Dreading your send-off at work? Farewell rescue is on the way!
Don’t like being the centre of attention?
Think you'll get too emotional in front of your colleagues and acquaintances?
How do you represent yourself well and try to not show your face at a farewell party in your honour?
Below are some coping mechanisms for that final group hug, otherwise you can try these
exit strategies once you're at the party, to shorten the farewell blues.
Farewell rescue tip #1: Avoidance
If you are happy to say goodbye but prefer it low-key, you can choose instead to do the rounds at work and offer individual parting words to people.
If this is too awkward or time-consuming, email a goodbye message , saying all the nice things that would be said in your goodbye speech . Remember you are leaving on a good note and should represent yourself well.
You may choose to add in the email a time after work to have informal farewell drinks, with no pressure on anyone to go. The later you leave this invitation, the less people likely to attend.
Farewell rescue tip #2: Pick your day
If you can't can't get out of the farewell presentation for some reason (I once worked in a place where not having the presentation meant depriving everyone of pizza - and you know the rule...Leave On A Good Note) then make sure your last day of work, and hence the goodbye, falls on a holiday where there are less people at work.
A Friday farewell just before a long weekend, or around Christmas are ideal days.
Generally Mondays are extremely bad for final days. Why have a weekend then turn up for that one last day on a Monday?
Farewell rescue tip #3: Pick your time
You could defer the farewell to a time you are comfortable – morning or afternoon tea is less formal than at lunchtime.
Farewell rescue tip #4: Combine events
You could combine the farewell with another event, like Shave for a Cure, or Movember morning tea, so that the focus is not so much on you or at least avoids a solemn farewell.
If there is nothing like this going on, look up your last day to see if it's an internationally recognised day (e.g. International Blue Notebook Day) and try to get someone to organise something for it.
This may look transparent and obvious though, but is not as bad as faking a sicky on your last day.
Farewell rescue tip #5: Find a 'safe-house'
If you want to avoid people on your last day, find a safehouse to hide in, such as a friend's office or in long meetings (to avoid people dropping by).
Why do people avoid the final exit interview...frankly, you are hanging out with strangers (does anyone ever see HR people the entire time they work in an organisation?) who are happy to have you waste their time going over the minutiae of your working life. Just like a bartender!
This should kill an hour or two, uninterrupted, of your last day.
If you are training someone to replace you, this is a good time to take them to obscure areas of the workplace on the pretext of showing them something remotely related to the job (showing them 'the bigger picture').
Farewell rescue tip #5: If you don't want to be an emotional wreck
If you loved the company and really don’t want to end up blubbing on your last day…try to find out what the gift or speech is – then you can be prepared.
Finding out how much you are valued is what overwhelms people the most.
Never ever ever read the signatures on anything, don't open the card: it will be the end of you.
Remember that if you want to you will see these people again.
If the love is so overwhelming on the day, tune out of the speech and focus on eating your pizza really slow or think of your own speech in your head. Really, there is nothing wrong with showing a bit of emotion. After all, you spend a third or more of your every day life with this community.
But hold back if you think some people are uncomfortable with emotive displays, especially at work, and especially if you are likely to set them off crying too!
Farewell rescue tip #6: If you hate working there
Unfortunately, in public, you need to still put your best face forward.
It is completely understandable that after suffering there for so long, you want to let loose with some witty invective (ambiguous 'fare-ill' parting words would be more appropriate) .
You don’t have to lie and pretend you had a great time (in fact, people may see through the lie and not respect you for it).
Try to concentrate on positive true messages, e.g. you learned a lot about xyz, it was the first company that does (insert something positive here) that you had worked for, you were impressed by the expertise of xyz, you started working at the company because ……etc.
If you can't do this, emphasise the qualities that attracted you to the next company. Don’t burn bridges as it might bite you later - for example, people who are sympathetic to your cause might feel that you are nonetheless a loose cannon that they would rather not work with again.
Leaving well will only reinforce that the company is losing someone good, and saying positive words will at least put you in a good frame of mind if only so as not to carry all the baggage with you to your next workplace.
Your workplace survival skills have helped you cope so far, and no doubt you'll be able to swallow a bitter farewell (otherwise, you can take steps to avoid a fare-ill ) and manage saying goodbye with dignity.
Remember, you're the one leaving, on your terms, so you've 'won'.