As someone who has had the opportunity to burn a bridge several times over the course of my work history, I always return to how much it isn’t a good idea — even though it seems easy, and like something you shouldn’t have to worry about or put too much thought into.
“But, Mary Grace, you don’t understand. My boss wasn’t fair to me!”
I get it. And unfortunately, unfair employers are out there. No denying that fact (and if you want to know just how well we relate to your work woes, check out our Instagram page). However, there are many reasons why you shouldn’t burn that bridge with your ex-workplace, and here are just a few.
This reason is perhaps the most obvious, but it needs to be acknowledged. Even if you didn’t have a great experience with a job or a company (which happens — and that’s okay), your previous employer is still your best reference when looking to get your foot in the door. And you can bet you’ll be asked for said references when you’re applying and interviewing.
Networking/Your Elevator Speech
If you’re at a networking event speaking to another person who can only focus on the fact that his or her previous boss was a jerk, what would you think? I’m guessing you’d try to find either the door, the food table, or the next available person to speak with.
Odds are that if you’re changing jobs, you’ll be changing to a different job in the same industry. Even if they’re in competition, industry leaders speak to each other. Your reputation precedes you — it’s a smaller world than you realize.
Your Employment Status
You don’t want to be fired after giving your two weeks notice, do you? (And yes, I’ve seen it happen). If your current boss is in fact listed as a reference, your new boss could (and most likely will) find out that you were terminated as a result of talking smack about the company — when you were already on your way out as an employee in good standing.
The reasons why not to burn a bridge with a company don’t start and end with your employer. You don’t want to carry a bad job experience into a new workplace. You can start your new gig with the knowledge that you didn’t burn that bridge when you know you could have — very easily. Besides, it takes a lot of energy to burn that bridge — bad energy that can burden you and interfere with your new work, whatever it is.