Having just left a company that I really didn’t want to leave (but I was moving out of state), I know exactly what you are going through.
The example I followed was set in my company over the years by many people leaving due to three seperate corporate changes in the past 6 years. People who had been there for up to 15 years (and this was a small office with only 2 dozen people) decided to leave. They almost all left on good terms, liking their co-workers even if they didn’t like the new top corporate management. Many of them wrote a note to the entire office, talking about their time with the company and commenting on each of their co-workers.
Below is the note I wrote when I left <changed to hide names, etc.> (and so you know, all the semi negative things I mentioned were public knowledge to the point of being almost a joke about those people.)
Good bye to all my co-workers,
It’s been one hell of a ride over the six years I’ve been here. From starting at <Company Name A>, only a few months after the merger, hearing all the ‘Grand Plans’ from <Pompus Windbag Boss>, and seeing nothing but gloom and despair come from it. To the hopeful switch over to <Company Name B> and hearing all the ‘Grand Plans’ from <Crybaby Whiner Boss> … and seeing nothing but gloom and despair come from it. And now, to the rebirth of <Company Name A Prime> in it’s new incarnation and hearing… almost nothing… barely whispers of plans for almost two years, only to discover that great things are happening, almost seemingly out of the blue. Storage is jumping, deals are happening, clients are lining up to send us stuff to store, galleries are thinking about moving in, even the city is contemplating making a boardwalk out front. … What am I doing? I must be insane to be leaving now just when things are getting good!?!
<Original Founder and President> - You’ve (re)built yourself one hell of a company staffed with the best in the business. It may be tough as nails getting information out of you about jobs going on, or what to put into the computer to account for them. But there is no one I have ever met or even heard about who can work clients like you can. You could sell ice to Eskimos and make them think you’re the only one with the recipe. If I ever had an irate client, I knew you’d not only sooth them, but leave them singing our praises.
<Co-Founder and Manger> - Your skill in handling art is unmatched. From the most delicate ship models to the largest, oversized, gilded framed portraits, you make keeping it safe while moving it seem easy. Of course, just like <Founder and President>, we never know what to expect until it’s happening, but your presence on a job always makes it go smoothly.
<General Manager> - Your adherence to every little rule all the time was an adjustment for me when you started. <Previous General Manager> was always bending things to suit his needs. But I have come to really appreciate it and enjoy knowing exactly where things stand. There’s no guess work involved. It’s simple. “What’s the rule? Well, that’s what we have to do. Period” Add to that your unflagging work ethic, your ability to do anything needed to get the job done, and your willingness to always acknowledge others accomplishments, altogether it makes you make one heck of a good boss.
<Driver> - You are an inspiration. You’re also one of the hardest working people I have ever met. Knowing what you have overcome and seeing your dedication to your life is an inspiration to everyone who you meet.
<Office Manager> - Your compassion and willingness to help your friends is apparent to all who work with you. Clients love your friendly but professional attitude and, although I know you’d rather be working in architecture, you make a very good office manager.
<Worker> - We’ve probably worked together the least, but you’re a hard worker (even if you’re usually late) and always willing to jump in and lend a hand when you see something that needs to be done.
<Manager> - From starting out wondering who this ‘nephew of the new owner’ is, being given a job, you’ve proven yourself capable and qualified and a very good fit for the position. You know art and people, and how to get things done. Friendly and easy to get along with, I’m sure you’ll be an integral part of growing the business.
<New Manager> aka ‘The Probe’ - Saved for last on my list by virtue of your new position. Your new title may be Facility Manager, but you’ll find yourself wearing many hats. Facility Manager, Inventory Manager, Operations Manager, Storage Manger, Customer Relations Specialist, Art Handler, Installer, Driver, and Janitor. Since you already have two hats I didn’t (Installer and Driver) I’ll be taking one of my hats with me (Storage Guru). That one you’ll have to earn. All the rest you’re qualified for and I am certain you’ll do a fine job with them. Wear them well.
I have been privileged to have known and worked with all of you and I wish you all the best of luck and happy days ahead, both at <Company Name A Prime> and in your lives.