THE BLOG

A Mass Email Is No Way To Say Goodbye

03/22/2016 10:05 EDT | Updated 03/23/2017 05:12 EDT
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woman working at home office...

The best of times, the worst of times. Hirings and firings. People coming and people going.

Should you send a goodbye email to your coworkers on your last day at work?

That is a good question. You don't want to seem rude and just disappear, and you don't want to seem insincere, either.

If your colleagues really are also your friends, then you've told them already that you're leaving, retiring or going to a new job elsewhere. A final email seems redundant.

If there is someone you want to remain in contact with, you've probably already taken them out to coffee or lunch, celebrated with them, or expressed an interest to keep in touch and exchanged contact information. If a colleague is a personal friend, your farewell has been personal; a mass email to everyone is far from personal.

So, is the final good bye via mass email really necessary?

No, it isn't. In fact, it could be a very bad idea.

When someone sends a mass email saying they are leaving, they often haven't thought things through. They are probably having an emotional reaction to what is likely a very emotional situation.

Haven't we all (sadly) been in the situation where there was a large downsizing, and many notices were sent out, complete with packing boxes and one-hours notice?

In that situation, you don't have time for a farewell lunch, or even to exchange contact information with anyone. To be sure, that kind of situation also tends to be highly emotional and likely quite tense, as well. It's certainly not the time to send out an email that displays your bitterness or anger. A final angry email is a guaranteed way to burn a bridge that should not be burned -- a bridge that you may need, later.

On the other hand, a flowery email praising the company, the boss and your coworkers will seem insincere. If the organization was so wonderful, why are you leaving? It will look very calculated; as if you're leaving your options open in case the new job doesn't work out. And, if you thank a few key people in your email, how will those you don't mention feel?

Even if you're able to write a final email that comes from a sincere place and is well intended, it doesn't mean you should send it.

Sometimes not everyone is aware that you are leaving, and your email will come as a surprise. Where there is surprise, there is gossip. And gossip is not your friend. Ever.

If you are sending a mass email, people may not even know who you are, and therefore your email will have no relevance to them, short of being a minor irritant. Everyone hates getting mass emails, and if even one person uses "Reply All" to say they will miss you, you've annoyed every single person on that list, which is not the response you were going for.

If you really want to say goodbye, make it more personal. Send a select number of handwritten notes to people, thanking them for being great to work with. Or, tell them face-to-face. Sending out a mass email is not the way to seem sincere or genuine and it could burn bridges that you'd rather keep intact.