Retirement Etiquette

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Some individuals are so excited about retirement that they absolutely can't wait for work to be finished; others may be nervous about no longer having a schedule and a routine. Regardless, following proper etiquette during the retirement process ensures a smooth transition and lots of fun at your retirement party, if you're having one.

Follow Proper Company Procedures

Consult the Social Security Administration's website for general retirement information. The company you work for may also have specific retirement guidelines. Check with your company's human resources department to learn more about retirement procedures, and follow the proper steps of notifying your company about your plan to retire.

Don't Request a Party

Don't tell your supervisors and coworkers that you want a retirement party in your honor. Retirement parties aren't required, even though they are generally a common occurrence when someone retires from the workplace. Requesting a retirement party for yourself comes across as sounding greedy.

Determine Whom to Invite

Some companies restrict retirement parties to company employees only, whereas other companies allow family and friends of the guest of honor to also attend. Talk with your company's personnel to determine which guests are invited. Also, if you can invite friends and family members, don't invite your entire extended family and every friend you've had throughout the years. Keep the guest list to a minimum.

Talk with All Guests

Make the rounds at your retirement party, speaking briefly with all of the guests attending. This action lets everyone know that you appreciate them coming and are thankful for their support and friendship. The guests attending your retirement party will want to talk with you, and while the event may be very busy, taking time to talk with everyone is a sincere gesture.

Give a Speech

Address everyone at your party with a short speech thanking them for coming and for all of their support during the years. (You don't need to thank every single person you've ever known in the work force, however.) Some retirement parties even take the form of a roast, where coworkers, friends, and/or family members address the guests with teasing comments about the guest of honor.

Send Thank-You Notes

Write heartfelt thank-you notes after the retirement party, and mail them promptly (usually one month or less after the event takes place). Write thank-you notes for gifts, but also recognize people who have contributed in some way (maybe a friend who made a cake for you, a person who decorated for the party, and so on).