Here's Robert's speech for you:
Ladies and gentlemen, standing here in front of you all I don't know whether to be happy or sad. Looking at all your smiling faces gathered here to say goodbye to me makes this a very special and happy moment for me that I will always treasure. At the same time it's sad to think that this is my last day in RHM Ltd and that I won't be coming in here next Monday morning with all the rest of you. It's hard to think that I've been 30 years working with RHM. And looking back, all I can say to you is that they were all good years in a great company. How fast the time has flown! I guess this is what happens when you work hard and enjoy your work.
1. Tell a joke, use humor to lighten the mood.
Which reminds me of a joke which someone told me about a solicitor who died and went to the entrance gates of heaven where he was to be interviewed by St. Peter to see if he should be let into Heaven or sent down to Hell.
"I don't know why I died so young," said the solicitor. "It doesn't seem fair. I'm only 35."
"I know," replied St. Peter. "But according to all the time that you've billed your clients for, you're at least 208... it's time to move on!"
2. Tell a funny story about when you first started.
And talking about being interviewed at the entrance gates, so to speak, to see if I were good enough to be let in, I remember my interview for RHM well. It was the late Bob Hayes who interviewed me. And Bob, as those of you who are old enough to remember him will recall, was a great golf player. And that was my winning shot. We were getting on reasonably well at the interview and then came the crucial moment when Bob asked... 'and what are your hobbies and pastimes?' The moment I told him that I played golf, I knew the job was mine. My lasting memory of the interview was standing at the door at the end of the interview, ready to go, and Bob telling me to keep such and such date free in my diary, because that was the day of the office golf outing. Now if that wasn't a 'hint' that the job was mine, I don't know what was.
I remember telling my wife, Maeve, about it, and her response was "Oh NO! I'm going to be a widow before you even start in your new company - a golf widow! She needn't have worried, but, looking back over the years we did play some great golf in this company and I have to compliment Bob on making an such excellent choice when he choose me for the job.
3. Compare differences between when you started versus now
Those were the lean eighties, when times were tough and good jobs didn't exactly hang on trees. But there was a super team of people working in RHM. And although we've had our ups and downs over the years there was always a great sense of camaraderie and fun associated with working for RHM. So much so that I remember a good friend of mine wishfully telling me once... 'You don't know how lucky you are to be working for such a great company. From listening to your stories and jokes about your work colleagues, they seem to be a great bunch of people. I'd love to work in a company likes yours.'
And do you know something?
My friend was right. You are a great bunch of people. And one of the best things that ever happened to me in my life was to be given the opportunity to work with you and to get to know you all.
4. Reflect on important events and accomplishments
I remember when the merger took place back in the nineties. And we were all very fearful about what was going to happen to our jobs and wondering how on earth we were going to settle into our new office. But it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to us all. We met some really great new work colleagues. And our company has never been busier and more successful. It's a great company to work for. And a hard company to say goodbye to.
5. Give recognition to staff, managers, friends and family
Over the years I've worked - and played golf - with some of the best managers and colleagues that a man could ever wish for. And while it's difficult to name everyone individually, I would like to say a special thank you to my boss, mentor and friend: Tom Atkins. I'm going to miss your words of wisdom, Tom. And the ever so gentle way that you had of guiding me in the right direction. And the countless number of times that you stopped me making a complete idiot of myself in front of important clients. Thank you Tom... you are the best.
And I want to thank all the team: (Name them all slowly - look at each one of them as you name him/her- and point to them with your finger). Thank you all for everything you have done. And I'd like to say a special word of thanks to (Name the tea lady, or the hall porter or whoever else you would like to include in your thank you list.)
6. Tell what your future plans are
I'll think of you all next Monday morning when I wake up to my new life. And the very first thing that Maeve and I are going to do is take a long holiday visiting our children in Australia and playing with our grandchildren. I plan to climb a few mountains, make new friends, play more golf, take it easy and have a really super time.
7. Mention that you will keep in touch
Don't worry I'll drop by at the office Christmas party to say hello to you all and tell you how life outside RHM is getting on. I'll be like the ghost of Christmas past.
8. Give thanks for gifts, best wishes, party
And talking about 'dropping,' I certainly wouldn't want to drop this beautiful gift that you have all so generously presented to me. It really is lovely and I will value it greatly. Thank you all so much for your kindness and generosity.
Now, I'm not going to end my speech by saying goodbye to you because I hope that you will all join myself and Maeve at the party afterwards. Instead, in the world famous words of the poet Robbie Burns I'm going to raise my hand and salute you all with a verse from Auld Lang Syne which goes as follows:
And there's a hand, my trusty fiere,
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for everything. And for those of you who may be wondering what "a right guid-willie waught" is, it means "a long, refreshing goodwill draught". I hope that you will join myself and Maeve later for one.
And gie's a hand o' thine!
And we'll tak a right guid-willie waught
For auld lang syne.