How to Wish Your Coworker a Happy Retirement
Retirement is an important moment in anyone’s life.
After decades of working hard and building a career, they can now take a deep breath and admire what has been achieved.
It’s also a season of deep reflection and ample time for the retiree, allowing him/her to do the things they love doing and have always wanted to.
However, retirement is also a very uncertain period for most people, as a study by GoBankingRates showed that more than half of Americans have no more than $10000 saved for retirement. What’s more? 1 in 3 Americans have no savings at all.
How scary is that?
This makes it such a sensitive chapter of anyone’s life and knowing the right things to say when wishing a coworker happy retirement can further motivate them.
Most often, a retirement is received with mixed feelings and it can be hard to find the right choice of words to use when wishing your colleague a happy retirement.
You can wish your colleague a happy retirement in some ways such as throwing a retirement party for them, buying them gifts or sending them a retirement card.
The most common way most you can use to wish your coworker a happy retirement is by giving them a retirement card.
HOW TO WRITE A RETIREMENT CARD
A retirement card is very easy to write but choosing the right words can be a bit dicey.
Most often one can get confused about what to write in the card because there are numerous things you want to write all at once.
There is a tendency to start writing a card with a specific intention but the end result reads different from what you intended to pass across.
Say for example, your colleague is retiring and he was the best coworker you had, you may intend to write about his awesome qualities and how you enjoyed working with him.
But you could get confused while writing and then end up talking about how he has a great dress sense and a good sense of humor.
To avoid such confusion it is important to separate the different possible contents of a retirement card into categories.
Once you pick a category, your message to the person will revolve around it. For the purpose of this article, below are some of the categories you can pick from.
- Retirement Freedom
- Future Plans
RETIREMENT CARD CATEGORIES
Under this category, your message will focus on the fun memories you share with a coworker.
Talk about your favorite memory of them and to add humor to it, make mention of an inside joke that two of you share.
Talking about your favorite memories of the person in the retirement card takes him down memory lane and makes him think of how the time he spent in the organization was worth it.
It also endears them to you and warms up their heart knowing that you treasure them well enough to store a memory of them in your heart.
This is a sign to them that you won’t forget them in a hurry and their years of laboring won’t be easily forgotten. It gives them an assurance that they are irreplaceable.
For people that are scared of retirement because of the uncertainty of the future that lies ahead, sharing the fun memories they created will help to ease the tension they feel.
The beautiful thing about writing a retirement note that revolves around favorite memories is that whenever the person picks up the note, be it after a few days, months or years, their heart gets warm and they will definitely smile.
When writing a note on memories, make sure it is a memory that is pleasant to the receiver of the note.
Don’t write about embarrassing moments or awkward moments that left the person feeling bad.
The aim of writing a note is to make your colleague feel loved and valued, you don’t want to ruin that by bringing memories that leave a bitter taste in their mouth.
If the memory is so funny, ensure that the receiver of the note also thinks it is funny.
If there are people that were a part of the memory that are already dead or fell out with the receiver of the note, try not to talk about such memories so that you don’t end up sending the wrong signal and trigger a wrong emotion in the receiver.
You can only write about such memories if your coworker considers it to be extremely funny or is indifferent about the negative part of it.
Below are samples of what you can write on, when focusing on the memories you created with your fellow employee, during the time you spent working with him/her.
“Hey, do you remember when we got so bored at work and needed some humor and we took out the lavatory sign on the door of the boss’s office and that old lady went in?
I’ll definitely miss having my partner in crime around.”
“Remember when you pulled a prank on me and said the boss needed to see me urgently and I ran into his office without knocking.
The clueless look he had on his face when he saw me was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Thank you for giving me a lot to laugh about, I’ll miss those moments.”
“I know you won’t forget the day we had a last minute preparation for a presentation and we goofed. You introduced yourself as me and I introduced myself as you. So glad everyone in the room laughed along.”
“I won’t forget our first fishing trip together. You caught the biggest fish, twenty years down the line; I still haven’t beaten your record.”
“Remember the first time we went camping with our families together in the woods and we pulled a prank on the children. I haven’t laughed as much as I did on that day.”
“I remember when you taught me how to enter my data into the company’s database easily. That singular lesson improved my efficiency at work thank you for that day and many more.”
Basically, the whole idea is to bring back memories. You don’t necessarily have to tell the entire story; just a short summary of the event will make the memories flood right back.
This category focuses on the ways your coworker influenced you.
Talk about the impact they made on your life and in the organization.
Focus on the positive marks they made in your life.
When wishing someone a happy retirement it isn’t the right time to remind them of how they hurt you or did wrong things to you.
No one is without fault and it is most likely that in the course of time you spent working together, your colleague must have stepped on your toes once or twice.
Look beyond their shortcomings and identify the positive influence or impact they made in your life.
The impact or influence could be a word of encouragement that was given when you were at a very low point, it could be support (financial or emotional) that they gave you when you desperately needed it.
It could also be the helping hand they lent you when you needed help or can also be the inspiration you derived from observing their work ethics and approach to work.
Maybe having them around brought out the best in you or pushed you to identify hidden potentials that you never knew you had.
Think of all the times they were there for you and the influence they had on you. Pick out your favorite from any of those moments and write about it in the retirement note.
Let them know that despite the fact that the time has come for them to go, the legacy they left behind won’t be easily forgotten.
For example, Mr. John is your coworker that’s retiring. When you were newly employed, Mr. John went out of his way to show you how things are done.
In the office and coached you, making sure you had no difficulty settling in and as a result of the help he gave you, you became very productive at work and constantly got commended by your boss.
In the retirement note you are sending to Mr. John, remind him of all that and you could say something like:
“You were an excellent coach and my go-to person in the office, I promise to keep on your legacy by investing the same time and energy you invested in me in the new staff that come to the office just like you did.”
If he was always excited and got his work done in a very cheerful way, you could write something like this on the note
“I used to think work was so boring until I saw how happy and enthusiastic you were about getting your job done, observing you happy and boisterous disposition to work made me discover the fun in the work.
Thank you for showing me that i can work and have fun at the same time.
Below are further examples of what to write in a retirement note when talking about the impact and the influence of a coworker in your life.
“Thanks for always listening to me and giving me constructive advice and criticism. Your constructive criticism pushed me to learn more and to be the better person that I am now. I’ll definitely miss having you around. “
“You have been my source of inspiration since I got into this company, you are one colleague I aspire to be like, your life is full of so much inspiration and I’m glad to have been inspired by you. Happy retirement my muse.”
“You are an irreplaceable part of the staff; I wonder how we will get work done here efficiently now that you are leaving us. Get ready to receive loads of calls from Terry and me to ask you how to do this and that. We will definitely miss you.”
“You are such an important part of this company and it’s weird to imagine the company without you. Every corner of this company has a touch of your amazing influence. We miss you already.”
“You are such an incredible person, I’m pretty sure heaven no longer makes your kind, the vacuum your retirement is leaving in this office is one that no one can easily fill. I miss you so much already.”
“The brain box of our team is finally leaving us and we are feeling all kinds of emotions right now. Every “Eureka” moment we had was as a result of your genius ideas. We wish you won’t go but we feel it is time you give that smart brain of yours a little rest. Enjoy your retirement team-mate, we love you.”
“You taught me not to ever bow my head in defeat no matter the circumstances. May your strength and courage pave the way for you as you enter a new phase of life.”
“I was able to grow in this competitive work environment because of your encouragement and guidance. Thank you for being a strong shoulder to lean on. May the days ahead be bright and beautiful for you. Lots of love.”
When writing about the impact of the person on your life be it directly or indirectly, make sure you do not over exaggerate.
Stay as simple and as truthful as possible. No matter how simple the impact may look it is better to keep it simple but truthful than colorful and untrue.
If you choose to talk about the character and qualities of the person, it’s advisable that you dwell on the qualities that were relevant and useful in the workplace.
Don’t talk about the character or qualities that are of no relevance in the workplace since you are giving him the retirement card as a colleague and not as a friend.
For example, if he is good at playing soccer and you work in the health sector, don’t start talking about how he is so good on the soccer field and how he inspires you to be a player, no that’s off point.
Instead, talk about how he is good with patients and how he makes them feel relaxed or any other work-related quality he has that makes him an asset in the workplace.
Most often than not, people are remembered for their character and qualities. Even if the person wasn’t so close to you, you can still see the qualities he has from afar.
You don’t need to be cordial with a person before you can write about their attribute and qualities in the workplace.
Talk about the beautiful trait they have and how it has positively influenced their career, their colleagues and the organization or company.
Qualities or characteristics you can talk about here can be their dedication to work, punctuality, diligence, honesty, jovial nature, and great customer relation skill etc.
While mentioning the qualities, you can also talk about how the qualities improved the work environment or influenced you positively.
Below are some example notes you could write if you are focusing on the qualities of your retiring colleague.
“You have a heart of gold you see the good in others even when they are unaware of it and you bring out the best of everyone around you. I wish you the best in life.”
“Your excellent problem-solving skill made us wiggle out of many problematic situations at work. Thank you for making sure that I never got into trouble I’ll miss having you around.”
“Thank you for brightening our days at work with your melodious laughter and your warm jokes. You were our therapy for anxiety. May the days ahead be very bright and melodious like your contagious laughter.”
“Thanks for filling the office with your positive energy and being optimistic even when the rest of us were pessimistic. Your energy was what kept us going when we were at our wit’s end. We love you and will miss your positive vibes.”
“Our early bird is finally migrating. I didn’t know it was possible to be consistent at one thing for more than thirty years without failing. For the past thirty years; there was never a day you came in late. Wow. I learnt how to be punctual because of your punctuality. Happy retirement Mr. Punctual.”
“Your special charm was all we needed when we were faced with a grumpy and hard to please client, your customer care skill is second to none in the entire universe. We already miss you, happy retirement.”
The aim of writing about the qualities or characteristics of your coworker is to make him realize that you appreciate his character and that he was an asset to the organization.
Whenever he sees your card, he will definitely have a smile on his face because he is convinced that he didn’t spend those years working for nothing.
Knowing that he is remembered for good will make him feel he spent his years well.
4. Retirement Freedom
You can choose to do something a little bit different from the regular talk about memories and qualities and write about the freedom that comes with retirement.
As stated earlier, some people feel tense when the time for retirement comes because they can’t seem to think of how they will cope with a new phase after years of doing the same thing every day.
For some, it may appear weird that they now have to stay at home on Monday when everyone else is hurrying off to work or perhaps they have no meaningful pension plan or retirement savings as studies have shown 15% of Americans have no financial plan for retirement.
You can help them ease that tension by talking about the fun of being retired.
While writing a note in this category ensures that you sound funny, don’t be too serious.
Your aim is to get your colleague to look at retirement from the bright side and not to dampen his mood by talking of how he is so going to die of boredom at home or how he will have a hard time adjusting to the new life.
That’s insensitive and inappropriate, you wouldn’t want someone to write that in a card and give you when you are retiring.
Rather talk about the exciting life that awaits him and how he can make every single day count by having fun.
Make him realize that he has paid his dues and it is now time to sit back and enjoy the dividends of his years of labor.
Below are examples of what you can write in the card you will present to your coworker.
“Congratulations on your promotion to the level of retirement, you now have unlimited access to all the fun you deserve.”
“Based on your promotion to the level of a retiree, your new responsibilities are the maximum investment in relaxation and happiness returns. Happy retirement buddy.”
“Congratulations on becoming your own boss, you now get to decide when you want to leave the house and how many hours your lunch break should be. Enjoy your freedom.”
Hurray, you have been upgraded from salary level to pension level, a level where you automatically reap the fruit of your years of labor. Enjoy your new level. Happy retirement.”
I wish I were you right now, no more long boring stressful hours at work and jumping out of bed when the alarm rings. Enjoy your freedom.”
“You can now put the same level of effort you put into work, into enjoying yourself, your new annual goal is to have so much fun until it feels illegal. Congratulations on a well-deserved retirement”
The examples above are just samples to guide you; you can talk about other stressful things that they will no longer have to face and how retirement is a luxury you long for one day.
Make them feel so good about finally going to rest after years of hard-work.
5. Future Plans
This is almost similar to the previous category of retirement freedom that we talked about but it is a bit different.
In the former category, all you get to talk about is how lucky he is to be finally free from the stress of work and how he now has the freedom to do whatever he wants to do.
But this category focuses on helping the person keep his dreams and visions alive.
There are a lot of people that have dreams about what their life after retirement will be but when the reality of retirement dawns on them, they tend to lose focus and become a bit confused.
Most often when someone is unsure of his next move, he becomes a little bit tensed.
If you notice your coworker doesn’t look excited about retirement like he was initially, then it could be a sign that he doesn’t know what to do or how to go about the plans he has made.
If you have a colleague in this type of situation, you can help by giving him a card that talks about the dreams and visions he had and encourage him to pursue them.
For example, based on a GoBankingRates survey that found women are less likely to have sufficient retirement savings, your female coworker who has always talked about how she wants to start a book club for women when she retires from work, could be scared due to lack of savings.
Hence, you can write a note that encourages her and says:
“Happy retirement girl the time has come to finally actualize your dream of having a book club, count me in as your first member, I look forward to the first meeting.”
Not only did you wish her a happy retirement, but you also reminded her of what she has in mind to do with the new spare time she has and you also show her support by saying you are signing up as the first member of her book club.
Below are staples of notes you can write in the retirement card for your colleague depending on the plans they have for the future.
For a coworker that loves nature and adventure and has looked forward to going on a vacation, you can write a note that says:
“The era of adventure has finally arrived, you can now travel around the world and explore different continents and have the fun of your life. Happy retirement.”
Or you can write a note that says
“Adventure time is finally here. Get ready for a rollercoaster of enjoyment as you take in the beautiful nature of the continents of the earth. Happy retirement explorer.”
“You can now go skydiving, zip lining, and kayaking where ever you want too, the great thing is you can be away for as long as you want without running back to work. Happy retirement free bird.”
For a colleague that wants to start a business after retirement you can write:
“You have been promoted from the level of an employee to a boss. I have no doubt that you will succeed at whatever business you choose to do.”
“New boss alert, you are now your own boss. Happy retirement.”
If your kind of work is time-consuming and barely gave you enough time for family and if your coworker is a family oriented and has dreamt of spending more time with his family, you can write:
“You can now spend all the days of the week with your family without having to worry about being fired. You now get paid to have fun with your family. Happy retirement.”
“Family vacation can now be planned at will and at whatever period of the year, you no longer have to wait for approval to spend quality time with your family.”
“It’s time to settle all the arrears of the family time you have been wishing for all these years. Have fun until it begins to feel like a crime. Happy retirement.”
You can also talk about the plans that the two of you made and how he now has the privilege of going through with the plans without any barrier.
While writing the note ensure that it sounds Interesting and it triggers excitement, don’t make it plain and boring.
The future may be uncertain but if it is properly planned it can be exciting and colorful, that is what you should make him realize in the note.
No matter what category you choose to write, ensure that the tone of the write up is a happy one.
Wish him the best, don’t dampen his mood by sounding sad or make it look like he is going to a place where you won’t be able to reach him again.
Make him realize that the fact that he is leaving the workplace doesn’t mean that you are erasing him from your life.
If you have just a formal relationship with the colleague, you can keep the note formal but still happy.
While writing the note don’t make the mistake of making it look as if you are happy to see them leave, make sure you don’t pass across a “good riddance to bad nonsense” message, it’s better not to write a note at all than to write one that will make the person feel like a burden or not wanted.
You may still see your colleague after He or she retires especially if they reside in the same area or city with you, but if they’re relocating out of the environment, there is every possibility that your paths may never cross again.
Whatever may be the case, make sure you leave a good final impression.
Let them leave with a good last memory of you and the best way you can ensure that is by wishing them a happy retirement in a good retirement card filled with a heart-warming note.