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Sample Retirement Speech






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Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt,
so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. - Collosians 4:6

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Below you'll find a full length sample retirement speech which you can either take “as is” and adapt to fit your occasion and needs, or simply read through for ideas on composing your own speech.  The speech itself is the blue text, and be sure to read the notes that follow, where I highlight some important aspects of the speech. 


Sample Retirement Speech


Well, here we are. When I began working for this company twenty years ago, I could never have imagined I’d be here today, telling you goodbye.

First, I’d like to thank Bob Cartwright for hiring me and giving a young, untrained kid a chance at a wonderful career. Bob, I wish you were here to help celebrate. Secondly, I’d like to thank my coworkers for putting up with me, teaching me and molding me. I’ve learned so much from each of you. You’ve taught me the art of listening and how to find balance. You’ve sanded my rough edges and taught me how to be a better supervisor.

You’ve given countless words of advice on how to run this company more efficiently and yet still take care of our customers. And lastly, you’ve taught me more about compassion that I ever could have thought possible as I watched you love and care for each other.

Let me say working for Wyoming Enterprises has made a profound impact on my life. I came here, fresh out of high school. My family didn’t have enough money to send me to college and so I began work, hoping to fit in, hoping not to embarrass myself and hoping to make a little money.

Wyoming Enterprises has been my second family. As a young clerk you took me in and loved me. You invited me home for dinner, which for a broke, hungry young man was huge! You instructed me in the ways of the business world and constantly encouraged me to strive for success. Martha, remember how you took me to purchase my first suit?

I was always completely thankful for that, because if left to my own “fashion sense” I would have bought something a tad less appropriate! Each of you cheered me on as I moved up in the company. I was always amazed at your unselfish assistance, and consequently, many of you moved up with me. You, every one of you, are the reason I became CEO.

Most of my years here have been times of growth. We did go through some tough times together. I am grateful you stayed the course with me. After our first expansion and move into this facility, there were many nights I lay awake, doubting the wisdom of that leap. But we persevered.

And we persevered after Bob Cartwright died. What a loss that was! We mourned, then set our faces forward once more.

So here we are again, at the brink of another major change. You’re finally getting rid of me! But I leave you in the very capable hands of Fred Martin. Fred came to this company much as I did and you have treated him the same. With your support, he will continue our legacy with determination and dignity.

I’d like to leave you with just a few thoughts for the future. Always remember to love and care for each other. Besides our product, this is what sets us apart from any competition. It’s what makes this such an amazing place to work. Always have a dream – for your family, for yourself and for the company. That’s how we grow, individually and corporately. And finally, always be honest. Be honest with each other and be honest with our customers. Our word is the foundation of our integrity and respect. Never cheapen that.

Thank you for coming today. Thank you for who you are. Thank you for working with me these past two decades. I cherish each of you!


Sample Retirement Speech Notes



1)  The sample retirement speech gives thanks.  Co-workers, employees and bosses are acknowledged and humbly thanked.  This is critical for retirement speeches and shows character and selflessness on the part of the speaker.  It should be done in a genuine fashion, so make sure to sit down and think what you were most thankful for during your term of employment.  Then jot down specifics (name/times/places) and make it publicly known.

2)  The sample retirement speech shares stories from the past - "as a young clerk you took me in".  This provides younger audience members some sense of continuity as you inform and include them in your history, and the history of your company/work place.

3) The speech is reflective - "my years here have been times of growth".  A retirement speech marks the end of a period, which requires some reflection on the past. 

4) The speech passes the baton - "I leave you in the very capable hands of...".  This is especially vital if the retiree has been in any kind of position of authority.  One of the kindest and most mature things such a person can do is to convey authority upon, and honour his successor.  Its all the more powerful when done in front of a large group of people.

5) The speech shares a few sagely anecdotes, without becoming preachy.  Older people have lived longer and know more than the rest of us!  Don't be scared of sharing a "lesson learned" with the audience, but don't turn it into an opportunity for a ten minute sermon.  A few simple wisdom sayings will be sufficient.
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Need some help coming up with a speech for an upcoming retirement ceremony?  The Sample Retirement speech on this page will lead you in the right direction by providing you with content and ideas for a great speech.