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I've been in my position for only 5 months (4 total years at the company), and I have found new employment. My last day is in a week, and I'm drafting a goodbye email to my team to let them know. (I gave notice to my manager a while ago.)

To be professional, I've written the following:

While I've only been with the team for a few months, it has been a very valuable experience for me. Thank you all for ________

But one of the reasons why I'm leaving is because it became very clear that I am a bad cultural and skill fit for this team. So it seems disingenuous to thank them for anything. I could be honest and say something like "thank you for showing me what I do and don't want for my career" or something, but anything that's honest and fits in that blank seems unprofessional or petty. (I really do appreciate my time with this group, it has taught me a lot about how I best operate.)

How can I word this goodbye email to be professional, polite, and without being dishonest?

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    Is a goodbye email required? – Myles Jun 23 '16 at 16:43
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    Daddy always said, "if you don't have anything nice to say about them, don't say anything at all". Probably follow that rule, fade away into the darkness, and leave it at that. – New-To-IT Jun 23 '16 at 16:44
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    @AmyBlankenship it sounds crazy, but that's about right. Obviously there's three sides to every story (my side, your side, the truth) but from where I and my fellow millennial colleagues sit, the way we are treated by senior engineers as essentially no more than "the help" is why we all are either leaving or are planning to. – Dang Khoa Jun 23 '16 at 16:56
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    Maybe just make your last sentence "Thanks for that." – Amy Blankenship Jun 23 '16 at 16:59
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    @New-To-IT- My dad said, "Never let a good opportunity to shut up pass you by." I think this situation is one of those opportunities. – Wesley Long Jun 23 '16 at 20:19
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Refocus your email on the 4 years you spent at the company, not the 5 months you've spent with this team. Instead of thanking your team (which here is insincere), you can sincerely thank the company for the valuable experience you've had for the last four years. If applicable, it may also be nice to praise a current project or business directive that you feel will bring future success for the company, and by extension, the team.

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"I would like to say what a pleasure it has been working with you all. I have learned many valuable lessons here which I will find useful throughout my career. You have all taught me the importance of teamwork, and helped me to identify my future goals for my career. I will never forget working with all of you".

This way you can have your cake and eat it too. It's one long double entendre that will be professional, but a private joke to you...

What you'd really be saying....

"I would like to say what a pleasure it has been working with you all. (I would like to, but that would be a lie) I have learned many valuable lessons here which I will find useful throughout my career.(As nothing serves so well as a bad example) You have all taught me the importance of teamwork,(as you fail at it miserably) and helped me to identify my future goals for my career.(Such as to run like hell if I ever see a group like you again) I will never forget working with all of you". (no matter how hard I try)

I know, it's snarky and petty, but you wouldn't REALLY be saying the parts in parenthesis. It's a professional way to bow out of a bad situation without ruining your career. You can THINK the things in the parenthesis, but never say them. In your mind, you'd be telling them off. In their minds, they'd have received a compliment. Everyone is happy.

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    I would discard such a trick for two reasons over all: 1) if you do not want to write a goodbye email, do not write a goodbye email; 2) even an average smart person would recognise what the (left in parentheses) content really is and you would appear as a sneaky child without any tangible advantage. – gented Jun 23 '16 at 21:07
  • Oh, it's no trick, it's just a simple way of phrasing things so that everyone is happy in the end. The only nastiness is what is in the author's head which may provide a chuckle down the line. A small catharsis without doing any damage. I'm sure nobody has ever caught you sleeping on the job – Retired Codger Jun 24 '16 at 12:08
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There is no requirement for an email to the team. Nor is there a requirement to send an email to the entire company.

If you have a handful of people that you want to keep in touch with, then send those individuals an email from your personal account so they will have your personal account.

If your management has left it up to you to tell the team, don't worry about it too much. Pick a person you feel close to, maybe one of those millennials that feel the same way you do, once you tell them it will spread to the rest of the team.

The team members that like you, will stop by and talk to you. Those that are happy you are leaving will either not talk to you, or will only say the minimum.

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What you have written on your own correspondsto reality:

While I've only been with the team for a few months, it has been a very valuable experience for me. Thank you all for ________

"it became very clear that..." means you experienced something, in this case you were a bad fit, and you have actually learned from it. You "experimented" and collected data, and this increased your knowledge. Therefore there is value. And you're thanking them for this.

Just these two concise lines, and you are professional, polite and for sure honest.

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