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First of all some background:

I took a job last year in a new country. One of the only two people in the team when I arrived who is still here will leave the team in a few weeks. I'm really grateful that this co worker accompanied me during this time and that he contributed to making feel welcomed in a new team/company/country.

I want to express my gratitude but I'm not sure what's the best way to deliver that message and when. I do this from time to time and I usually write a message or something like that but that always feels kind of forgettable and cheap in that case.

Any ideas on how to show the gratitude in text form in an appropriate way? (Also more generally speaking and not only restricted to this case, collecting some ideas)

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  • "Any ideas on how to show the gratitude in text form in an appropriate way?" Why does it have to be in text form? Aug 6 at 21:37
  • @PhilipKendall I think it's the most appropriate way. Sure I could do that in person but that's really hard to get the timing right to not make it awkward, especially at work and I don't like these "rehearsed" conversations.
    – Trichter
    Aug 6 at 21:48
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    Food, Drink or a Small Gift (esp for something they like) - drop in and say 'Before you go - here's a little something as a thanks for all you did for me when I first joined'. Easy, job done. Aug 6 at 22:01
  • Hey, it's been a pleasure working with with you. (Optional: I think I learned a lot from you.) (Optional: I know I'm not a manager, but if you ever want an informal recommendation letter I'd be glad to write one.) (Optional: Let me know where you wind up.) (Optional: Stay in touch!) Or whatever seems appropriate. There is no magical best formula for this; just say what you mean.
    – keshlam
    Aug 6 at 23:46
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    It will mean more if delivered in person.
    – mxyzplk
    Aug 7 at 3:38

2 Answers 2

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You say in a comment:

I could do that in person but that's really hard to get the timing right to not make it awkward, especially at work and I don't like these "rehearsed" conversations.

I'm going to disagree with almost all of that:

  • If it's genuine, it won't be awkward. Nobody's going to be offended by someone saying to them "hey, thanks for all the help you gave me".
  • It's only "rehearsed" if you make it so, just grab some time with them, go in, be authentic and say what comes naturally.

so tl;dr: "hey, could I grab a coffee with you before you go? Just want to say thanks for the help you gave me when I joined".

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Where I work, it is common to give departing colleagues a signed card and possibly a gift. This is organized by the co-workers on the same level, not by management. The card might be signed by the people in the team, by people in the department, or even beyond -- partly that depends on how long the departing colleague was there, and in how many different departments. I've seen cards with well over 100 signatures.

The messages tend to be somewhat generic, so that many people feel comfortable putting their name on it.

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