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There comes a time in most workers' lives when they decide to retire. To make the retirement official, and to begin the process of applying for retirement benefits, you should write a retirement proclamation. Ideally, the retirement proclamation should notify your employer of your impending retirement, express your appreciation, and provide relevant details about your retirement.
Before Your Write
Before you decide on a retirement date or write the proclamation, it is best to consult with your human resources department. Your HR representative can provide you with important information about your retirement, such as how to access your 401(k) or pension. In addition, many companies and organizations have formal policies about retirement, such as the number of years you must work for the company before you can enjoy full benefits. Finally, the company may have a prescribed process for providing notice about retirement, such as a letter template that you must use. The HR department should be able to provide relevant documents.
Planning the Letter
Keep in mind that your letter may be read to other employees or even posted for everyone to see. It also becomes part of your permanent file. As a result, it is important to ensure that you are comfortable with what you say and the tone that you use. Even if your experience with your employer was not a positive one, consider using a neutral or positive tone. You might have to deal with the company's HR department on occasion for years to come, so using the retirement proclamation as an opportunity to air grievances is not a good idea. Jot down the details of your retirement that are pertinent to your boss, as well as a few sentiments that you would like to share.
Writing the Proclamation
When you write the proclamation, use standard business letter formatting. Use company letterhead, if you have it. Be sure to include the date on the letter. Open with a formal salutation that includes your boss's name and title. In the introductory paragraph, state that you are retiring and provide a date for retirement. Continue by explaining your plans for working up until that date. For example, explain which accounts or projects you expect to complete before you retire. You can also use this paragraph to request additional direction for your final weeks or months on the job. End the letter by expressing your appreciation and, if applicable, your regret for having to leave. Keep the body paragraphs short and relevant to avoid losing your boss's interest. Finally, use a formal signature block and be sure to sign the letter.
Hand deliver the letter to your boss or mail it, if your boss is at a different location. Check back with him, allowing an appropriate amount of time for delivery, to ensure that he has received it. Deliver or mail a copy of the letter to your HR representative to ensure she has been notified in a timely manner and can begin to process your retirement paperwork and arrange your retirement benefits.
Natalie Smith is a technical writing professor specializing in medical writing localization and food writing. Her work has been published in technical journals, on several prominent cooking and nutrition websites, as well as books and conference proceedings. Smith has won two international research awards for her scholarship in intercultural medical writing, and holds a PhD in technical communication and rhetoric.
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