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Don’t Burn Your Bridges Isn’t Always the Best Advice - Mogul

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Don’tBurnYourBridgesIsn’tAlwaystheBestAdvice

Jan Johnston Osburn
Jan Johnston Osburn Mogul Influencer | Career & Life Coach | Helping People Turn Dreams into Realities
7mo Washington, DC, United States Story
Don’t Burn Your Bridges Isn’t Always the Best Advice

“Careful, Don’t Burn Your Bridges”

The saying goes back to ancient Roman Times. When an army crossed a river to invade their enemies, the commanders would order the bridges burned to guarantee that their troops couldn’t and wouldn’t retreat.

Since there was no escape route, they had to fight to save their lives. Sometimes the country being conquered used the same approach in reverse. As they retreated they burned the bridges so the conquerors couldn’t follow easily.

Today we use the adage in business. When a person starts a job search and they are thinking of leaving their company, they are warned not to burn their bridges. Meaning, try to leave on good terms.

The theory, of course, is that you never know when you might need to work with the company or the people again and sometimes you need a reference. It falls into the category of “never say never.” You don’t want to shut the door prematurely to potential future opportunities.

Burning bridges can also give you a bad reputation. The way you conduct yourself and treat people will follow you around everywhere you go. Perception has a funny way of becoming reality.

It’s a good general guideline. Professionalism is the always the best approach.

There’s also the heavy weight of negativity and the drain of positive energy that goes along with burning bridges. Those things hold you down and when you are chained, you can’t soar.

It eats away at you and that only serves to give the person or company more power over your feelings. Too much wasted time is spent plotting how you can pay someone back for their bad deeds.

Why harbor so much pent-up frustration that you need to “have it out” with them?

In most cases, move forward. Upward and onward. I also believe that karma can come back and bite you in the butt – but that’s just me.


But, There’s Always a But...

Sometimes you need to burn the bridge.

Sometimes you have to burn the bridge.

You don’t want the craziness to follow you! You don't want them running after you or having quick access to you. You need to put distance between them and you.

It’s a form of cathartic symbolism. Imagine that you are on the other side of the bridge. You blow up your past, turn around, and keep moving forward.

That’s a vivid and powerful image. It's a "drops mic" situation.

Bam!

You walk away indisputably victorious.

It feels good

Reasons You May Want to Burn the Bridge

There are some reasons that warrant blowing the bridge to smithereens. Think about it as redirecting your career instead of enacting retribution.

Reasons to Blow the Whole Thing Up

  • A boss or co-workers is verbally abusive.
  • Corporate mentality: Was the company’s bottom line more important than the well-being of the employees?
  • Unethical or illegal behavior with no consequences to this behavior.
  • Questionable activity by leaders or with the company at large.

What’s the point in continuing a bad relationship once you’re out the door?

Is there any reason you need those behaviors or those people in your life? Who cares if they won’t hire you back? Would you want to work there under those circumstances? Would you ever trust those people or that organization again?

Rid yourself and say good-bye. Cut the ties that bind.

The greatest revenge is success.

Let your frustration and anger go. Place the dynamite appropriately, light the fuse carefully, and let it blow! Watch your frustrations filter out into the cosmos.

Keep on moving and don’t look back.

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5 comments

  • VivianaVizcaino
    VivianaVizcaino Viviana
    7mo ago

    Very good point, I think I've heard somewhere that sometimes being strong means knowing when to let go of stuff

    Very good point, I think I've heard somewhere that sometimes being strong means knowing when to let go of stuff

  • Courtney Dercqu
    Courtney Dercqu Influencer
    7mo ago

    I burned a bridge when I was twenty-two and I've both regretted it and not regretted it at the same time. I worked at a retail store shortly after my divorce, and was still trying to find my footing in my new life. I loved my job, and who I worked with. We were so close that we even came in and cleaned up the store for GM visits after the store was closed, and off the clock. We went out to eat together, and did everything together. I became so close with my customers that we knew each others' lives. This job was a perfect fit for me. The GM fired our boss, for no better reason than personal issues. Once he left, it had a ripple effect and five more of our staff quit. The GM brought in her friend, a fellow store manager who insulted us and wanted to rid the store of us, in order to bring in her friends - which she did. I have an extremely high work ethic, and even though I was part time, I did such a good job that my supervisors made sure to give me as many hours close to full time as they legally could. I earned what I made in the truest sense of the word. When this new manager came over, I called in one night to find out that week's schedule and she told me she gave me four hours that week. I was used to getting at minimum 30 hours a week, typically with on call shifts. I told her that, and she said, verbatim, "well, here at this store, you're not guaranteed any hours. Sorry. It's nothing personal." I was outraged. Now, they were messing with my money, and four hours? I couldn't live off of that. It was insulting. My hours were going to the people she hired, not the ones who earned it. So the next day before my shift, I came in early to clear out my locker and tell my co-workers I was leaving, and unfortunately they'd be saddled with working a double shift. All of them were okay with it, and encouraged me to leave this now toxic environment. I went to the supervisor, who had a line of ten people, and said, "I quit." When the assistant supervisor was baffled, and asked why, I said, "well your friend isn't giving me any hours, so I quit. Tell her it's nothing personal." My father always told me that I can quit a job as long as I have another one lined up. Luckily in retail, that's a pretty easy thing to do. The supervisor who left my store went to another store, and I networked with him to get an interview and hired on the spot. It does bother me to not use them as a reference, because obviously I wouldn't be eligible for rehire, but at the same time, I'm very proud that I stuck up for myself. Yes, I could have handled the situation differently, but at the same time, if you don't respect me, then why should I respect you?

    I burned a bridge when I was twenty-two and I've both regretted it and not regretted it at the same time. I worked at a retail store shortly after my divorce, and was still trying to find my footing in my new life. I loved my job, and who I worked with. We were so close that we even came in and cleaned up the store for GM visits after the store was closed, and off the clock. We went out to eat together, and did everything together. I became so close with my customers that we knew each others' lives. This job was a perfect fit for me. The GM fired our boss, for no better reason than personal issues. Once he left, it had a ripple effect and five more of our staff quit. The GM brought in her friend, a fellow store manager who insulted us and wanted to rid the store of us, in order to bring in her friends - which she did. I have an extremely high work ethic, and even though I was part time, I did such a good job that my supervisors made sure to give me as many hours close to full time as they legally could. I earned what I made in the truest sense of the word. When this new manager came over, I called in one night to find out that week's schedule and she told me she gave me four hours that week. I was used to getting at minimum 30 hours a week, typically with on call shifts. I told her that, and she said, verbatim, "well, here at this store, you're not guaranteed any hours. Sorry. It's nothing personal." I was outraged. Now, they were messing with my money, and four hours? I couldn't live off of that. It was insulting. My hours were going to the people she hired, not the ones who earned it. So the next day before my shift, I came in early to clear out my locker and tell my co-workers I was leaving, and unfortunately they'd be saddled with working a double shift. All of them were okay with it, and encouraged me to leave this now toxic environment. I went to the supervisor, who had a line of ten people, and said, "I quit." When the assistant supervisor was baffled, and asked why, I said, "well your friend isn't giving me any hours, so I quit. Tell her it's nothing personal." My father always told me that I can quit a job as long as I have another one lined up. Luckily in retail, that's a pretty easy thing to do. The supervisor who left my store went to another store, and I networked with him to get an interview and hired on the spot. It does bother me to not use them as a reference, because obviously I wouldn't be eligible for rehire, but at the same time, I'm very proud that I stuck up for myself. Yes, I could have handled the situation differently, but at the same time, if you don't respect me, then why should I respect you?

    • kate3182004
      7mo ago

      Exactly! If you were my friend or my sister (if I had a sister), I'd be so proud of you. I think you handled it just right. I would love to sit these managers, supervisors, etc. down who think they can treat people like absolute garbage and get away with it with absolutely no consequences for themselves and/or the company, and ask them, if you keep treating more and more people like that and other people find out (if you harm enough people, it always comes out in the end), just how much of a customer base do you think you're going to have?

      Exactly! If you were my friend or my sister (if I had a sister), I'd be so proud of you. I think you handled it just right. I would love to sit these managers, supervisors, etc. down who think they can treat people like absolute garbage and get away with it with absolutely no consequences for themselves and/or the company, and ask them, if you keep treating more and more people like that and other people find out (if you harm enough people, it always comes out in the end), just how much of a customer base do you think you're going to have?

  • Joyce Short
    Joyce Short Mogul Influencer and Author: Combating Romance Scams, Why Lying to Get Laid Is a Crime!
    7mo ago

    Employers sometimes put you in the predicament of witnessing illegal activity.... It could be sexual harassment, theft, or discrimination. Just a quick word of advice if it happens to you.... Keep records. Keep a log. And if you're going to accuse someone of wrongdoing, you may want to consult with an employment attorney beforehand.

    Employers sometimes put you in the predicament of witnessing illegal activity.... It could be sexual harassment, theft, or discrimination. Just a quick word of advice if it happens to you.... Keep records. Keep a log. And if you're going to accuse someone of wrongdoing, you may want to consult with an employment attorney beforehand.

  • Benhilda
    Benhilda eBook Writer, Article Writer, Editor
    7mo ago

    Good article. On a personal level, many hold on to bad relationships simply because they fear being alone, or that there won't be anyone to bury them when they die.

    Good article. On a personal level, many hold on to bad relationships simply because they fear being alone, or that there won't be anyone to bury them when they die.


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Jan Johnston Osburn
Mogul Influencer | Career & Life Coach | Helping People Turn Dreams into Realities

Johnston Osburn is a Career and Life Coach who helps people turn dreams into realities. After years as a Global Talent Acquisition Professional, she realized how frequently people limit themselves because they lack belief in their abilities. They are afraid to dream, let alone dream big. [...]

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