Insights from practitioners in Information Management

Issue 104 – Don’t burn your bridges

You’ve had enough, you’re leaving the job you’ve hated and the people you cannot stand. It’s time to say what you really mean; after all you are NEVER going to see these idiots after this week.

Have you ever posted something on to a social media site that you removed a short while later?
Have you ever sent an email and regretted that you didn’t:

            a) proof read it before it was sent out

            b) sleep on it before hitting the send button

            c) delete it once you had written it.

Unfortunately we are by nature an impulsive lot – and therein lies part of the problem in this thing we call our working life.

Don’t burn your bridges – after all you never know who you might be working with (and for) in the future. How embarrassing would that be if turn up for an interview a few years later and on the hiring panel is the person you lambasted in your exit interview. How successful do you think you are going to be getting the job you have applied for?

Now, you could say – well the person should be a professional and not take the other stuff into account – to which I would counter, “well that’s a bit rich given you were less than professional when you left the other job. Given that behavioural interview questions used during interviews – always work on the same principle – past behaviour predicts future ones…” would he / she be willing to hire you again – knowing what you did last time?

I think we all know the answer to that last question.

The point is; we all need to learn how to play nicely.

But is your current job THAT bad?

Yes there may be people you can’t seem to get along with. Given that we sometimes take things personally, let me point out one simple thing to you. The world does not revolve around a single person – and the person you may think doesn’t like you, may be going through major traumas at home. They may have an illness they don’t wish the entire world to know about, one of their kids may be sick – and you’re carrying on because they didn’t bother to say good morning to you.

Sorry – but – get over it.

It may be that you don’t like what you are being asked to do. That’s fine, but don’t burn your bridges, and don’t leave that job until you have something else lined up. Until that time, why not pretend that you do “love” what you are doing. Believe me when I say this – the day goes a whole lot quicker than if you are being miserable.

When it comes to our working lives, I can offer you several pieces of advice especially when it comes to the contract arena.

  • Always be professional – in your dress, your manner and the work that you do. You will be judged far more so than a “permanent” employee. So let your professionalism speak for itself. Did you know, clients always ask for people they like, know and trust to do the work? Well unsurprisingly they do.
  • Don’t just do the work that you like – that’s like eating the meat and potatoes and leaving the greens. Everything is about balance – and I am not just talking about your diet.
  • Have confidence in your abilities. But don’t mistake confidence for arrogance. You have been hired to do a particular job. Yes you may do it better than anyone else, that doesn’t mean you need to “brag” about how clever you are, or how stupid the client is for not knowing something. Be bigger than that, share your knowledge. Sharing knowledge, doesn’t mean you diminish your own, it’s not like it’s something you give away and you don’t have any more. As you share, you grow. Believe me, it’s true.
  • Don’t gossip. Consider this, the person who has just told you something about someone else, will tell someone else something about you.
  • Don’t vent on facebook or the other social media sites – this one should go without saying, just like the other points I have mentioned. But there have been many cases where people have been sacked for their less than professional opinion about their work and their work colleagues.

If you do feel that it is time to leave the place where you are working, and this goes for permanent employees as well as contract personnel – do so in a way the client will regret the fact that you are leaving.


It goes back to the first 3 previous points I have just made.

  • Your professionalism
  • Your ability to do the job you were employed to do and do extremely well
  • Your ability to nurture and grow the people you work with. It’s not just the managers and leaders who can help grow people and in turn the business, but what each of us individually can offer.

But I would like to add a couple more points:

  • Always leave the job better than you found it; and
  • Consider that every job has your signature on it. Why not sign that with pride.

With many thoughts