This upcoming week is my last week at my current job. I was given lovely little gifts and notes by the teens with whom I currently work, and I have written out thank-you cards. I am wondering, do I use my home address as the return address, or should I use my employer (a public institution) as the return address. I am using personal thank-you cards and my own stamps for the thank-you cards.
J.M., Mineola, NY
First, with all the talk of incivility and rudeness, especially about teens, I revel in your story: teens writing thank-you notes and giving small gifts showing their appreciation for what you have done for them. For all the good things teens - and for that fact people of all ages - do for each other, what we usually hear about is the one story of rudeness that, like a bad apple, spoils all the good ones that are out there.
Your choice to send a thank-you note to each teen is admirable. Receiving a thank-you note from you is a great object lesson for them. It is much better than someone simply telling them that writing thank-you notes is an important way to show appreciation. Teaching by example, by emulating the behavior you expect, is by far the most effective way to teach.
In your situation I would recommend using your current business address as the return address. Assuming that you have used the correct addresses for your recipients, the return address is nothing more than a formality. In addition, even though these notes are from you personally, you are sending them from your business as part of your job. Therefore, it is appropriate that they come from your current place of business, even if you will only be there for a short while more. Finally, for a variety of reasons, many people prefer not to share or mix their business and personal lives.
The thank-you note is really an easy and effective way to connect with people and make a positive impression. It can be short - three to five sentences is more than enough. As you have done, write it right away; the next day is perfect. Stick to the point: comment about the person, the event or the gift; offer an expression of thanks; and suggest any follow-up you plan to do. Best of all, as you have done, handwrite it on a note card and put it in the mail. If you email it instead, once it's received and read, it's deleted. Would you rather be deleted or remembered? A note in the mail is read and appreciated and then remains on the counter or desk or refrigerator where it reminds the recipient about you for days or even weeks.
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