Burning Bridges …Posted: February 7, 2014
Johnny Paycheck sings “Take this job and shove it, I ain’t workin’ here no more.” There is something liberating about just writing those words, much less being able to say them. But walking into your boss’s office and doing your best Johnny Paycheck interpretation probably isn’t great career advice.
Burning Bridges has some very different connotations. Here’s a link to an interesting blog post. In this post Rebecca Thorman says that if burning bridges means cutting ties, then by all means, there are many good reasons to cut ties and move on. I agree. But she also says, “You shouldn’t just walk out. You should give notice and finish your projects and be polite (if for no other reason than your own sense of pride and accomplishment)” and that’s where I come from. Burning bridges to me means a scorched earth policy and I think that mentality will limit your career.
Here’s another interesting blog post. In this one, Roger Custer suggests that burning bridges may involve trashing your former boss or company, or using confidential information inappropriately. Again, these are a career limiting decisions.
My advice is much like your mother’s was long ago, if you can’t say something good about someone, don’t say anything at all – especially in an interview. No interviewer wants to hear you bash your former company or complain about how poorly they treated you. Be a grown up, highlight the good parts or stay quiet. I’m not advocating that you continue to work in an unhealthily atmosphere, but I am suggesting that you leave with your dignity intact.
I strongly support not burning your bridges, because you may need them.