I've been to a lot of farewell events in my career. People move on, and change is good. These events usually are scheduled at the end of the work day. I try to drop by at the beginning because the toasts can get long, and they tend to be quite predictable. If I arrive early, I can often slip out before the speeches begin.
But this week, it was my boss who was leaving, and the speaker was his deputy director-- me. We did his farewell a little differently. We had it at breakfast. We invited only the people in our department—about 50. And knowing how much he dislikes being praised in public, we limited the toasts to one-- mine. I spoke for all of us, but my speech was only 93 words long. I was emotional, but controlled. I gave him a memory book in which we had all written our good wishes.
He made a gracious, and also short, response, giving us all the credit for his success.
He is a class act