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I am currently in the processes of leaving my first company and have been debating on whether or not to write personalized emails to the people that I found really helpful, such as mentors and just overall nice colleagues.

I would be writing a general farewell email for everyone and then sending specific emails to specific people, however I don't want to necessarily alienate anyone which doesn't get one. I am assuming this might be brought up in casual conversation.

Is this a bad idea? Thanks

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    How big is your company? Sending a general farewell email isn't appreciated if most of the people receiving it don't know you, or have hardly ever interacted with you. There's a big difference between sending an email to 20 people, or 20 thousand.
    – Abigail
    Sep 2 '21 at 23:52
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    I made mine a chain email, emailed it to 5 workfriends and told them to email 5 of theirs. That was both a good idea and a bad idea at the same time. I still get emails from people wishing me a good life in the new job, and its been 3 years. Sep 3 '21 at 6:57
  • "Everyone" in a company with 35,000 employees is bad. "Everyone" that I work with on a regular basis out of those 35,000 employees is just fine. Interesting how people's interpretations of things work... I didn't take "everyone" to be the whole company until I saw people mention it.
    – FreeMan
    Sep 3 '21 at 11:59
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    I've worked in jobs where it's common to receive a leaving email from someone you've never met who works in an office in a different country. It's definitely some people's understanding that it's acceptable to email everybody in the company regardless of whether you've ever interacted. But (in their defence) if you've interacted with 200 people of a 400 person workforce in your 10 years at the company, are you going to go through the entire staff list and appraise who does and doesn't deserve a message?
    – Stuart F
    Sep 3 '21 at 20:17
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Most people stick to a general email when they leave, where they sometime also explicitly mention close collaborators. If you want to go the extra mile by also sending personalized emails to select few people, do so, it will certainly be appreciated.

Don't worry too much about who doesn't get one, no well-adjusted adult will get resentful over that.

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    @azthec Also, if you are sending a more generic email, consider the timing of when you send it to allow people to respond and reply back. Sending 10 mins before you leave might not be enough time, but lunchtime should allow this Sep 2 '21 at 11:31
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    @DeveloperGuy or you can also add your own personal email in CC so people have a way to get back to you Sep 2 '21 at 17:50
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    "well-adjusted adult" sadly there seem to be fewer and fewer of these as time goes by. The good news is that in this situation, the OP will have sent his personal messages to those he really wanted to and the non-well-adjusted "adults" who might get offended that they weren't on the list just won't matter.
    – FreeMan
    Sep 3 '21 at 11:54
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    @anotherdave a good idea, however, if there are some who you don't want to stay in touch with (and I've met my fair share of those, too, over 30 years in the workforce), giving them your personal email may not be so good. I've seen a couple of people send their general "goodbye" email a couple of days in advance and offer "if you'd like to keep in touch, let me know and I'll get you my personal email".
    – FreeMan
    Sep 3 '21 at 11:56
  • @FreeMan haha, touché! Good point :) Sep 3 '21 at 12:32
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For mentors and people you would like to stay in contact with, to use for references or simply as people you like to know, then of course you send a personalized email, and include your personal contact information. Tell them how they have helped (with specific details), and that you would like to keep in touch.

For others you have worked with but are just co-workers, a farewell email is nice, perhaps with contact information, perhaps not, depending on your preferences.

An out of office reply, indicating who is taking over your work, or who to contact about your work is a nice touch - it might work for a few days (or longer, depending on how fast your IT is). That lets people who don't interact with you much also know that you're gone.

A lot of this depends on the culture of your company. Some companies want to be in charge of this kind of communication. If you're at some place like that, the email or words in person to the people you want to keep in touch with are the most you might be able to do. If the company is especially draconian about it, take their contact information with you, and email them after the fact.

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  • Exactly. You can send personalized emails from your private address some days after your last day.
    – Ivana
    Sep 3 '21 at 10:34
  • Excellent point about the out of office message, too. It's also a good idea to be in touch with those outside your company who you may deal with (vendors or clients) to be sure they know who to copy on correspondence during your final 2 weeks so the relationships can start to build with your assistance before you're gone. It's just a nice touch.
    – FreeMan
    Sep 3 '21 at 11:58
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When I've left previous companies I would make an explicit effort to stop by the desks of anyone that I liked professionally and chat for at least a few minutes. I would do this during my notice period.

If I did not get a chance to stop by their desk then I would send a personalized email.

Sending a mass email to the entire company is typically not appreciated if the company is large and if your position was not very high.

If you're working for a company of 10-20 people then a mass email could be appropriate.

The rules are of course different if you're working 100% remotely.

What have other people done before you? If a mass email is customary then just send one and be done with it.

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You are asking about the personalized vs generic email. I always prefer an email only sent to a small group of people. Unless the company is very small, sending it to very large group means that the vast majority of people receiving it will delete it before they read it.

The smaller the group, the less generic the content can be.

One thing I did see recently was the changing of the out-of-office reply to reflect that they had left the company. It allows people who email them to see it. They took advantage of the fact that the email address was likely to be functioning for a few days.

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    Counterpoint: people leaving shouldn't really be a regular occurence for most companies, so deleting those kinds of mails takes no effort. I would like to have some reminder that my coworker will be gone forever in case I might need some info somewhere in the future from a project they have worked on so that I am not surprised if I cannot find them at that point even if it's one of the several hundred people working in my workplace.
    – Imus
    Sep 2 '21 at 14:01
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    We had a period when people were leaving every day, for many Reasons. The company used Slack for internal, so we simply set up one of the free slack workspaces, called it "blahCo Alumni" and invited leavers as they were in the working out weeks. With WFH and lockdown, it was surprisingly useful. And people who had left years ago popped out of the woodwork as well.
    – Criggie
    Sep 3 '21 at 11:24
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I would suggest a very simple yet gracious email to everyone. You never want to burn any bridges and you never know who will be in what position in the future so make a simple thoughtful message that everyone can receive and be a part of without anyone feeling left out. As far as the special ones who you feel did a little extra something to help you, a short, very specific to the person, 3 or 4 sentence max note on a piece of paper left on their desk is the most effective in appreciating someone in a personalized manner.

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Could you take at least one step back and look at that again?

First, with whom have you been debating whether or not to write anything?Did you mean "thinking about" or really, "debating?"

You're welcome to send either personal or personalized emails to whomever you choose, and why would you insult anyone with any kind of personalized message, when you could send something personal?

How would he or she who "doesn't get one" be alienated, unless that one both knew and minded that others did? How could that matter?

Of course that might be brought up in casual conversation and then what?

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    That you choose to question the OP's usage of "debate" is plain silly, rude and a waste of everyone's time. Have you ever heard of metaphorical, figurative and rhetorical usage of words?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 3 '21 at 7:09
  • I think this answer is supposed to motivate OP however I can see how it would be interpreted as rude.
    – goamn
    Sep 3 '21 at 9:34
  • Gosh, Guys. If I got a "personalised" message and found out it came from someone who'd first Asked a Question like that, I'd be insulted. Why would you not? Sep 7 '21 at 2:10

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