We had a goodbye party at the office yesterday for our colleague and friend Andrea Hernandez. Watch a video tribute to Andrea on this week's Ledger-Lounge. I think this celebration went well. A few kind words, a heavy dose of humor, a bit of good-natured teasing and cookies.
In general, office goodbye parties can be awkward, though. I've cringed at bosses who mispronounce the leaving worker's name, rolled my eyes at off-color jokes and expressed disappointment when no refreshments were served. Once, I worked in a newsroom where goodbye parties were "outlawed" because the boss thought they made people sad. Guess what? People were still sad to see a friend leave and they became angry (and hungry) too.
I'm not sure there's an exact formula for having a perfect office goodbye party, but there are few guidelines:
• Serve a snack. Bonus points if the person leaving gets to pick the treat.
• Plan who will speak at the party in advance so no one is surprised and embarrassed when called upon.
• Buy a card and make sure everyone in the office has a chance to sign it.
Those are pretty simple guidelines, huh? Anyone have any more tips for planning successful goodbye parties?