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How to Thank Your Boss in a Farewell

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A skilled boss can leave a lasting impression on you for the entirety of your work career, even long after you bid farewell to her. Whether your boss is retiring or moving to a new job, or you've decided to switch careers, properly thanking your boss lets her know the impact she had on you. Depending on your relationship, it's acceptable to offer thanks verbally and by letter or email.

Meet Face to Face

Not every supervisor-employee relationship is conducive to writing formal letters. If you're on a first-name basis with your boss, sharing your thanks in person is appropriate. Ask to speak to your boss for a few minutes toward the end of the day and express your thanks for what he taught you. Use specific examples, such as: "Thanks for always showing me the importance of deadlines and helping me change my work habits to be more productive." Stress that you'll carry the boss's teachings with you throughout your career and close the conversation by wishing in the best with his future endeavors.

Write Your Thanks

Write an email or letter to your boss to convey your appreciation for her teachings. If it's a letter, write it by hand for a personal touch. Write how much you appreciated working with the boss, noting characteristics such as her patience, sense of humor, or passion for success. Explain the boss's impact on you, citing specific examples that you'll always remember. Convey a hope of reconnecting in the future with a line such as, "Even though you're retiring, I'd love to play a round of golf with you once in a while."

Speak at an Event

On occasion, you might get the opportunity to publicly thank your boss at a retirement party or farewell luncheon. When preparing your remarks, think of how the supervisor helped your career; use specific anecdotes that are either poignant or humorous to support your points. Although it's ideal to keep your remarks upbeat, don't shy away from seriously expressing how much the boss has meant to you. In doing so, turn to face your boss and direct your speech to him, rather than look at the collective group.

Give a Gift

Pairing your words of thanks with a thoughtful gift helps convey your sincerity to your boss. The gift doesn't have to be elaborate, but ideally, it should tie into the boss's personality or hobbies. If you know he golfs, for example, a gift card to a golf store or a pair of passes to a local course are suitable gifts. Your gift can also come in the form of a gesture, such as taking the boss out for lunch or having a few drinks together after work.


Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.

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