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Do You Want A Big Party at Work When You Leave?
Old 07-25-2009, 08:13 AM   #1
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Do You Want A Big Party at Work When You Leave?

It's a tradition where I work that everyone (about 75 people) is invited to a pizza/beer party at a local restaurant when anyone leaves (retire, promotion, even leave on good terms). There is typically a humorous but good-spirited roast as well, each event lasts for 2-4 hours.

However, a small number of people have declined but they've agreed to a cake in the conference room with everyone late in the afternoon on their last day. Usually lasts about a half-hour, guest of honor usually says a few words but not always.

Either way, the guest of honor usually gets a gift worth about $100.

Even though I am the site Manager, I will go with the latter when I leave, even though I know it will disappoint some people I have worked with for almost 20 years.

What would you opt for (if you were you) - be honest?
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Old 07-25-2009, 08:20 AM   #2
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I just dealt with this issue yesterday! What a timely post.

Most people at my work have a retirement luncheon. A restaurant is selected, and $30/head is collected beforehand to pay for the lunch because that is what the restaurants around here charge for group luncheons. You only get a choice of 3 entrees and no alcoholic beverages. Also, we only have a 30 minute lunch break and it is pretty much impossible to drive across town, eat lunch, celebrate a retirement, and drive back in that time so everyone has to get supervisory permission.

It's a royal PITA as far as I am concerned. Besides, who wants to pay $30 for a lunch they have to wolf down like that? I never go to these things, no matter how much I like the retiree. It would be really hypocritical for me to ask others to do that for me.

So, I decided to break with tradition. I am going to have my retirement celebration in a conference room at work. At my work, this has never been done before as far as I know. There will be food and paper plates. People can stand around talking and stuff, and then fill their plates and either eat while standing or take them back to their desks. This will be much less expensive and less of a PITA for everyone, I think. I haven't yet ironed out the details about where the food will come from, but I am thinking maybe potluck? One co-worker already volunteered to bring cake.
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Old 07-25-2009, 08:20 AM   #3
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If this was people I had socialized with and enjoyed I would go for the pizza beer party .If it was just a work relationship I would go for the cake .
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Old 07-25-2009, 08:22 AM   #4
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Go with the bigger bash - it isn't nice to deny the opportunity to those who want to take a parting shot at you.
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Old 07-25-2009, 08:46 AM   #5
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I declined a semi-formal dinner at a restaurant but did have a nice cookout at work during lunch. They were good to me. Gave me an electric golf cart.



Eat your heart out FD. Were going to eventually entice him into posting again.
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Old 07-25-2009, 08:48 AM   #6
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Oh also, I agree with Moemg - - if your organization doesn't have an *official* retirement luncheon tradition, where everyone in the organization is invited regardless of their relationship with you or whether you even know them, then just skulk off for pizza and beer after work with a few friends. But if they do, then my comments above apply.
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Old 07-25-2009, 08:49 AM   #7
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I declined a semi-formal dinner at a restaurant but did have a nice cookout at work during lunch. They were good to me. Gave me an electric golf cart.

Eat your heart out FD. Were going to eventually entice him into posting again.
What a terrific alternative to a semi-formal dinner! Wish we had cookout facilities at work.
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Old 07-25-2009, 09:27 AM   #8
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W2R-You can do a themed BBQ pot luck and pick up the meat from your fav BBQ shack. Let the group pot luck around that. Most will enjoy it a lot more than the $30 gobble & gulp luncheon. Or do pulled pork at home the weekend before and take it in a crockpot. Not expensive for a modest size work group and the smell makes the morning fly by.

When I left the corporate budget of $250 stayed in the company coffers as did the grandfather clock. In the past we had in carterers for an omlette bar brunch, lunch out or a fancy tea party. I just wanted out and came home and had a couple of drinks on the patio and went to sleep early.
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Old 07-25-2009, 09:28 AM   #9
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My COO retired last year, and we had a big bash for him, got him top of the line golf clubs and a variety of stuff. Being even more senior on the management totem pole, I'm guessing they will want to do the same thing for me. (Global CEO even came to this bash, and gave him a very nice gift worth thousands of dollars in purchase price, but very little in practical value.

When its my turn however, I would prefer to turn out the lights one day and just not show up the next day...an announcement would go out saying that so and so is the new big boss, and nothing would change in the day to day operations, because the transition had been planned and executed over years. No party, no gifts, no special stuff that costs the company thousands of bucks yet is of zero worth to me. And I wish now special honor, because what we have achieved is not just what I did alone, but what we accomplished as a team. To honor me for them, in an over the top party, I feel, would be a dishonor to those others who helped accomplish them.

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Old 07-25-2009, 09:33 AM   #10
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When its my turn however, I would prefer to turn out the lights one day and just not show up the next day...an announcement would go out saying that so and so is the new big boss, and nothing would change in the day to day operations, because the transition had been planned and executed over years. No party, no gifts, no special stuff that costs the company thousands of bucks yet is of zero worth to me. And I wish now special honor, because what we have achieved is not just what I did alone, but what we accomplished as a team. To honor me for them, in an over the top party, I feel, would be a dishonor to those others who helped accomplish them.

R
Nice thought, but I'm very doubtful you'll be able to pull it off. The corporate world doesn't work that way - there are certain traditions which must be honored, including the "right" way to see a sr. exec off when retiring.
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Old 07-25-2009, 09:35 AM   #11
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W2R-You can do a themed BBQ pot luck and pick up the meat from your fav BBQ shack. Let the group pot luck around that. Most will enjoy it a lot more than the $30 gobble & gulp luncheon. Or do pulled pork at home the weekend before and take it in a crockpot. Not expensive for a modest size work group and the smell makes the morning fly by.

When I left the corporate budget of $250 stayed in the company coffers as did the grandfather clock. In the past we had in carterers for an omlette bar brunch, lunch out or a fancy tea party. I just wanted out and came home and had a couple of drinks on the patio and went to sleep early.
Connie, I think the pot luck idea is a winner. Like you I think they will enjoy it a lot more than the "$30 gobble & gulp luncheon" (perfect description! ).

I feel like you did - - I just want out, and to come home and sleep.
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Old 07-25-2009, 09:42 AM   #12
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I declined the traditional lunch or dinner send off -- normally around 75 folks in the local office plus a few from other units off-site. My section provided snacks, cake, etc and invited people to drop by whenever they wanted on my last day. This worked very well and allowed folks the chance to say whatever they wanted to say to me personally or in a small group setting. I never enjoyed going to retirement gatherings so did not feel that I should subject others to it. I think you should do whatever makes you feel most comfortable.

A couple of weeks after my retirement, my immediate supervisor had a cookout at his house for me and invited a small group of my former co-workers (that I knew very well and enjoyed being around) -- very enjoyable evening with lots of beer, great steaks, and good conversation.
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Old 07-25-2009, 10:35 AM   #13
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W2R After a a re-engineering (ahhhh the 90's) transfer to Seattle with a very grumpy work force I made it my position to improve morale. Started out very simple with boxes of popsicles on a hot Friday afternoon. A few Fridays later I brought a crockpot full of dogs, buns and fixins with chips. The folks began to beak down the walls and we started getting smiles. Had a competition and when the VP flew in I got a commercial grill and he grilled steaks for lunch. My team won and a couple of the ladies did baked potatoes at home and I bought big bags of salad at Costco. We grilled NY Strips for 75 people out on the loading dock! The other 500 employees took note and everyones result began to soar. A little bit of sincere appreciation done correctly has very big dividends in Corporate America. I think that is why they still do the retirement farewells. It helps foster teamwork.
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Old 07-25-2009, 10:37 AM   #14
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Probably so, Connie! Sounds like you are a great party organizer, by the way.
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Old 07-25-2009, 10:38 AM   #15
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Go with the bigger bash - it isn't nice to deny the opportunity to those who want to take a parting shot at you.
Selfish I guess, but I would if I could invite whoever I wanted. It would include most of them, but there a few hypocrites I can do without...
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Old 07-25-2009, 10:44 AM   #16
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Selfish I guess, but I would if I could invite whoever I wanted. It would include most of them, but there a few hypocrites I can do without...
I am not so worried about the roast, but who can afford $30 for a quick lunch these days? It's just not "me" to even imply that people should have to pay $30 to say goodbye to me. Everyone at work knows that I am cheap stingy frugal, myself. If they really *want* to pay $30, there is that envelope that goes around. But I don't suppose most of them really have a whole lot to spare after paying the bills.

They can give me their parting shots in the conference room, just as well.
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Old 07-25-2009, 10:49 AM   #17
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.... And I wish now special honor, because what we have achieved is not just what I did alone, but what we accomplished as a team. To honor me for them, in an over the top party, I feel, would be a dishonor to those others who helped accomplish them.

R
Gee Rambler, might be getting close to retirement time for you - that statement seems very Japanese in sentiment.... Going native on us?

Just playing - that modesty of self and support of team is quite an attractive trait.
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Old 07-25-2009, 10:50 AM   #18
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My hubby's planning on leaving in about 6 months and isn't into the idea of a big to-do. However, since he has worked for a local government for nearly 32 years, I'm sure something will be planned including presentations from elected officals. I advised him to just to let it happen. Yes, he will be glad to leave, but there are a lot of great people there who really care about him. I told him I'll play the devoted wife and when we get home we'll really celebrate!

My "send off" kinda fell through. I ended up with a bad cold (stress realted I'm sure!) so my last couple of days were on sick leave. Oh well, everyone enjoyed the cake even though I wasn't there!
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Old 07-25-2009, 10:56 AM   #19
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I did both . . . big and small.

Big: cake and coffee in a large conference room, all were welcome to attend. Included the presentation of the official retirement gift. Like most, the gift is not useful, but it is the thought that counts. This 'do' gives those who want to say good-bye a chance to do that. This party wasn't for me, it was for those who are staying behind.

Small: intimate after work gathering with 10-15 folks I enjoyed working with the most. Cocktails and munchies. No parting gifts. Just a chance to thank others for the time we spent together.

My preference: to walk out at lunch and never come back.

Rita
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Old 07-25-2009, 11:00 AM   #20
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My preference: to walk out at lunch and never come back.

Rita
I think I'll do that, and have a party, too!

My official retirement date is Monday, November 9th. I have to be at work on that date in order to retire - - but there will probably be just a couple of hours of tasks to do, and then I will see if they'll let me use vacation time for the rest of the day after that.

I am thinking of having the party on the afternoon of Thursday, November 5th. Friday, November 6th will be my regular every-other-Friday-off.
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