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Never Burn Your Bridges

by Steve on October 1, 2012 · 6 comments

in Civility

never burn your bridgesI know that when you are ready to hand in your resignation it will be very tempting to let certain people at your office know exactly what you think of them.  While this might be personally satisfying, I highly recommend that you ignore this temporary insanity and leave your job on a note of respect and professionalism.  Don’t burn your bridges because you never know when you might run into these people (or their friends) again.

“Never burn your bridges” is oft quoted advice and there’s a reason for that.  It is good advice.  It is advice that may fly in the face of your emotions, but as a rational being you should heed it.  The streets are littered with the corpses of those who thought they would never come in contact with a supervisor, coworker, or client. They blasted those folks with both barrels, and later (maybe years later) found themselves in a situation where they had to depend on the goodwill of those they had earlier crucified.

Sure, your boss may be a condescending douche, but it isn’t your place to let him know that.  Actually, there’s a good chance he already knows.  Yes, the person in the cubicle next to you may smell badly, but again it isn’t your place to speak out.  You are not the hygiene police.  Maybe the receptionist is a slut, or maybe she’s just the victim of office gossip or jealousy.  Either way, you do not want to be the one to call her out on it.

Our lives are in many ways driven by relationships.  The fact that you no longer have to interact daily with a group of people is no good reason to destroy those relationships.  There is no telling the ripples that will come from one bad word to a coworker.  There’s no knowing where those people may go in the future, no way to know who they may end up having relationships with down the road.  A bad word now could have negative ramifications in the future in the least likely places.

It will be much better if you hand in your resignation, work out your 2 weeks notice (or however long), complete any projects you have going or transfer them efficiently and completely and go on your way in a professional manner.  While you may miss out on the chance to spew some vitriol, chances are you will forget all about it within the week.  Honestly, the fact that you are getting out of that job is likely the best form of revenge against any slights you may have suffered over the years at the hands of your coworkers.  They will still be slaving away, while you are enjoying your new found freedom.

If for some reason your path crosses one of those who you would have liked to blast in the future, you will be so glad to have taken this advice.  Be the bigger man (or woman) and it can pay untold dividends in the future.  Even if you don’t ever run into those people again, by leaving without burning any bridges you will be maintaining your positive karma.

photo credit: flickr Instant Vantage

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