Your tickets are ready in hand. Once you clock out for the last time, you’re gone. But first, you have to face the crowd with your retirement speech. Make it a good one.
First, know your audience. If you’ve worked with most of them and have attended other retirement celebrations, think about what you already know. Then go from there.
This is not a time to air grievances or issue insults. You’re happy. Show it.
Say something to inspire your older coworkers. They’re still hammering it out. Leave them an encouraging quote and an upbeat, work-related story to keep them going. Give some quick tips to the new hires. They may remember your words the most. If you give positive feedback about the company, you may help that “new smell” to linger for them.
Secondly, thank the people that helped make you a success or at least kept you laughing at the water cooler. Both had their place in getting you to this moment. Share a few examples of your early blunders, what you learned, and how you went on to master your job description. If you received any outstanding promotions or awards, give another round of thanks for the recognition and put out a friendly challenge for others to give it shot in the future.
Thirdly, be honest. You’re thrilled to leave but will also miss a few things and people. Let everyone know how much you enjoyed the company picnics and holiday bashes.
Retell a joke your boss made at a weekly meeting or previous retirement party. Then thank him or her for the opportunity to learn about life and your particular role under their direction.
Great to be Here and Great to Leave
Lastly, give them a snapshot of your future plans. If you’re leaving for the Bahamas in a matter of hours, let them know. If you plan on becoming a master gardener or getting the grandparent of the year award for the next decade, give an inside view of how you’ll achieve that. Then wrap it up.
One final note– keep it short. Your coworkers are there to interact with you not to be held captive by a long and meandering retirement speech.
Enjoy the drinks, the food and the laughter then go enjoy the next phase of your life– always remembering those who helped you make it there.