Retiring from working life to a daily life that may have fewer responsibilities marks a transition that most people are happy to make. As with any transition, it is important to leave behind good feelings, and step into the future with a happy heart. The retiree may thank colleagues, clients and professional contacts, but it is also important to send a thank you letter to the boss. He or she is the person who is responsible for the working conditions, and may have had a big influence on the atmosphere in the office. Whether the retiree likes the boss or not, it is professional etiquette to write the boss a personal letter.
When writing to a boss to express appreciation and gratitude, it is important that the tone is sincere. It is never correct to write a sarcastic thank you letter. If the retiree cannot write a sincere letter, even if it is very formal, then it may be better not to write a letter at all. The letter may include specific things that the retiree appreciates. For example, the boss may have supported the retiree when he or she made a significant suggestion in the course of the work, or given extra time off when the retiree had a major family crisis. It may also be appropriate for the retiree to thank the boss for teaching good work ethic or for the importance of deadlines or how to be more productive. These qualities will serve the retiree well, even in future endeavors.
The letter may also mention personal characteristics of the boss that helped or impressed the retiree, such as patience, enthusiasm or sense of humor. The retiree can mention that he or she will always remember the kindness shown or learning to maintain high standards in every project. If the boss gave a retirement party for the retiree or a gift, it is suitable to thank the boss in the letter.
If the retiree and the boss are close personal friends, it would be appropriate for the thank you letter to contain inside jokes or personal news that may not be expressed in a letter to colleagues. If the retiree does not know the boss well, it is still important to leave good feelings behind when he or she retires. In that case, the letter can be more general. For example, it may thank the supervisor for maintaining a professional atmosphere at work or for his or her sense of humor when relieving tension in the workplace.
Thank you letters are usually short, no more than one page, so the intent of the letter should be mentioned in the first line. After mentioning specific things that the retiree is grateful for, he or she can express the desire to meet the boss after retirement. For example, if they are friends, the retiree may say that he would love to play an occasional round of golf in the future, or he could invite the boss to his beach bungalow during the summer. If the boss gave the retiree an expensive retirement gift, the letter should be a bit longer in order to suitable express gratitude for the gift.
Timing is also important. The letter should not be sent six months before the retiree’s last day at work, nor should it be sent the day before. It is recommended to send the letter between two and three weeks before the last day of work.
By Andre Bradley