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Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Farewell Letter Genre

I am not a collectioner by nature but I regret one thing and this is not having collected the dozens of farewell letters of all the colleagues who left REC during my 7 years there. I think it would have made such a great treatise on the psychology of leaving. Don't you think that it tells so much about people?

I have to admit that as much as I hate the fact that my friends and colleagues are leaving, I am a farewell letter junkie and I open each one with unhidden emotion in search of originality. Somehow, subconsciously, I wish everyone left the next coming week so that I could read everyone's farewell messages including mine. There I look for pictures, old names, good poems, hidden messages, diplomatic and less diplomatic criticisms, brevity, details and what not.

What a treasure these letters. I remember that Erzsebet told me she was composing her letter for a year under the shower (sorry, if I am exaggerating). Isn't it amazing? Here, I can recollect several masterpieces like Robert's sailing related images, Steven Stec's Herman Hesse's poem, etc. I still remember Miroslav Chodak's message where he said that he didn't agree with the management approach and then said 'If you want to know how I see REC's development, go here and here and consult this file'.

Well, enough on that. I just wanted to say what I am missing in almost all these letters, after the 'thank yous' and the 'it's been so great', is an uncensored, undiplomatic, unpoetical and non-metaphoric account on why a person leaves in reality. This must be extremely difficult and I am sure I will not do it either. However, if I were a director of an organization, I would kindly ask all the employees to write their true reasons for leaving and this would be one of my inspirations for management.

1 comment:

Red Whortleberry said...


You took away my words - I have been always thinking while reading the farewell letters of REC – nowadays very frequent and rich reading material - that how comes these are still mostly so bright, full of deep gratefulness and gratitude which is almost at all balanced with any (constructive) criticism. Everything is hidden behind the words…

But maybe this is the way… We have a saying in Estonian “pärast kaklust rusikatega ei vehita” – after fight don’t gesticulate with your fists any more (maybe there is something like this also in English). What has happened has happened and of course when we look back the pleasant part of the REC-life prevails. Otherwise we wouldn’t have stayed so long, commuting every day (thanks God not exactly every day) across half of the country:)

I have figured out my diplomatic word as well – exotic, southern … way of living, leading the organization, communicating, working… (and “southern” indeed has became very ambivalent for me – it contains lots, lots of good things which have defrost my Nordic heart but there are aspects I cannot tolerate...).

Well, I have dozen of farewell messages in my mailbox archive if you want to study them...:) Since Marianna left (which was in 2003).

But there is another interesting aspect of farewell messages – the answers to them, which are often much more direct and honest, and according to my view, nobody writes better messages than my former Boss Magdi. She really takes time to answer and of course she has this long common history with everybody who has never been in REC.