No matter how awful your previous employer was, no matter how terrible your boss was, no matter how evil your coworkers were, never, ever burn your bridges behind you. It doesn’t matter how bad things were—don’t take it out on your boss or coworkers in person before you leave. The “take this job and shove it” attitude will get you absolutely nothing except a temporary feeling of superiority. From a long-term perspective, such a feeling is a luxury that might be more expensive than you think. Staying on good terms with ex-bosses and coworkers—past, present, and future—is simply a smart long-term career strategy.
WHAT IT MEANS: There’s always an upside to maintaining as many positive working relationships as possible. Burned bridges can and do come back to haunt you—in ways you can never predict. Whether you’re leaving the company or someone in the company is leaving you, leave the door open by parting on good terms. You never know what opportunities might result further down the road.
ACTION PLAN: Write a friendly good-bye note whenever someone is leaving. A handwritten note or card is preferable, but make the effort to let the person know that he or she will be missed. Everyone knows about the importance of making a good first impression, but making a positive final impression is also worthwhile.
EVEN BETTER: Get in touch with former coworkers six months or so down the road. What have they been up to? What have you been up to? Make sure you have their new contact information (or vice versa). Periodic follow-ups like this are a good way of keeping your network active, and making the effort to stay in touch (however briefly) is usually appreciated. It’s good to stay on good terms and in contact with as many people as possible.
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