Jul 06

6 Practical Reasons Why You Should Never Burn Bridges

burn bridges

Why should we never burn bridges?

“We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered.”  – Tom Stoppard

When I got laid off from the company I worked for the first 10 years of my career, I found myself once again on a cross-road.  Though I already have a company to move on to (at least I thought I did), things took a turn because that company I was looking forward to coming to suddenly had a freeze hiring period.

For the first time in ten years I was jobless but the situation is much different from before because I now have a wife and 2 kids who depend on me so I was in a bit of a panic looking for a job that can afford to pay me the same amount of money I was used to earning.

I stayed at home for a month sending out my resume and filling out job applications online until I received a call from a job agency who asked me if I was interested to teach graphic design in a private college institution.

I didn’t think twice because I would have taken any job offered to me at that time so I went to the interview and got the job within the same week even if I had to take a pay cut.  At that point, having a job was the better option than sitting at home and watching television the whole day.

I stayed in that company for a good six months but I wouldn’t describe my stay there as an ideal one.  In fact, I was so stressed out in the end that I just wanted out.  Luckily, the previous company I’ve already had a pending application for, called me back to say that their freeze hire period was over.

I jumped at the opportunity and transferred after two weeks.

I wanted to leave back then not because of money or benefits, but because of the way the company treated its employees.  They have a reputation of forcibly driving you out when they don’t need you anymore or if you’re not meeting their expectations.  I have no problems with that but the way they did it was where I drew the line.

I wouldn’t go into details of how it was done anymore but all I can say was it was below-the-belt and professionally unbecoming.  I could have fired back if I wanted to because I’m never one to back down especially if my reputation was on the line but I opted not to.  I fulfilled all the exit requirements and never said or did anything bad against the company and its leadership.

Two years after those horrifying events, I got a call from them.  They wanted me to handle their special classes for graphic design on weekends.  I love teaching so I accepted the offer apart from the fact that I can also use the extra money.

Looking back, I realized that I made the right choice of going for a gracious exit than being a rebellious quitter.  I would have never been called back if I decided to burn the bridge.

Sometimes, most of us can be so stubborn and we choose to burn bridges either with a company we used to work for or in our relationships.  But is there any good in burning bridges?

Here are 6 reasons why we all should never burn bridges no matter what the circumstances are.


1. It’s a small world

We all run in circles.  Some big, and some rather small but the only sure thing regardless of the size of the circles you run in is that we are bound to meet people we used to work for or had a relationship with again and it wouldn’t work to our advantage if we left them on bad terms.

You’ll never know what the future holds and it helps to preserve good relationships because for all you know, one of them can fulfill a need you may have.  One of them can be the key to your success.  One of them can even save your life.

Never put a period on your relationships.  Be open to the possibility of coming across people you’ve had the pleasure of knowing and working with.


2. Protect your reputation

Leaving a company or an individual through bold statements or immature actions will do you more harm than good.  While it will definitely boost your ego for a short period of time, the backlash of such actions will be far greater.

No company will ever take you in if you they learn through a background check how you left your previous employer.  No man or woman will be interested in having a relationship with you if you have a reputation of having commitment issues or being abusive.

Your reputation precedes you and your skills and talents will be worth nothing if no one would give you a shot because of how you are perceived by many.

I know someone who had a bad relationship with some of the people he worked with who are now my colleagues.  He’s become a laughing stock and a subject of bad jokes because of how he dealt with people.  He’s built a bad reputation for himself and sadly, it has followed him wherever he went.


3. Never say never

One way to burn bridges is to say the word NEVER.

“I will never work for this company again!”

“I will never be his friend ever!”

“I will never come to her for help!”

Easy there tiger!  You may end up eating everything you said in the future.  As they say, you can’t afford to burn bridges because the road may lead you back to it.

Never say never is a quote very popular among professional wrestlers.  Popular stars like Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior, and Bret “The Hitman” Hart once in their illustrious careers said that they would never work for WWE ever again.  They even went head-to-head with owner Vince McMahon in court battles but they still ended up coming back working for him which is why in wrestling, if any of the superstars were asked if they still have one last match in them or if they will ever consider working for an organization, most of them will reply with “never say never”.


4. Learn to forgive and let go

No matter how complicated things are between you and the other party, it’s still wise to be careful and not burn the bridge that connects you or whatever is left of it.

Things may not have been good and you may have been wronged and it hurt you tremendously but would you really feel free carrying negative emotions in your heart?  Can you really tell yourself that you’re past  the storm if you still carry a grudge inside you?

It’s always better to start with a clean slate and that would only be possible if you will leave everything in the past and start fresh.  Forgive those who have cause you pain and move on because negative emotion can affect the quality of work and life you live.


5. You’re not always right

It’s easy to point fingers and pass the fault to the other party on why your relationship didn’t turn out for the best.  You may say that the company betrayed your trust or your husband didn’t give you the time you thought you deserved and by letting it all out, you destroy whatever is left.

You burn bridges.

What if you’re wrong and was just too blind to see it?

We all have a tendency to be blind to our faults and sometimes, we just don’t see, or didn’t take the time to see the situation from the other party’s point of view.

Remember that it takes two to tango and if a relationship, be it business or personal, does not work out the way everybody expected it to, both parties are responsible.


6. You’re not a child so act maturely

Having a tantrum and causing trouble before leaving is just immature.  You’re no different to a spoiled brat who did not get what he wants if you resort to such tactics.

Are you a child?

I know you’re not so why act like one?

Keep all the bitterness to yourself and have a gracious exit.  Submit to everything the company asked you to and just be professional.  Honor the notification period, return all the important documents the company asked you to and no matter how tempting it is not to, still, give your best in performing your daily function.

Leave  with your dignity intact.


Over to You

Do you ever burn bridges?  Why do you feel the need to do so and why did you choose that route instead of the other way around?

I would love to hear from you so feel free to leave a comment or feedback below.  I would really appreciate it!


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Noel Rosos

About Noel Rosos

Noel is a husband, father, author, performance coach and self-proclaimed FAILUROLOGIST who helps business owners and struggling individuals convert their failures into opportunities through inspiring blog posts, life-changing books and exceptional one-on-one coaching sessions


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  1. Tara Parker-Tong

    Burning bridges could be considered an act of superiority which showcases one’s insecurities. If we know we can do good work but we need to be in the right position to do it then we should realize the changes within a business setting are not necessarily as personal as what one tries to perceive them as. If we cloud our judgment with self-deception and make matters about “me” then we will burn more bridges and corner ourselves to a position where we do not feel we make a difference or enjoy. Once we accept and and make business about business, not “me” or “friendship in the workplace” we can be more understanding of the decisions that are made without our insight or approval.

    Great blog; enjoy your work and inspires me to pursue my own. Thanks!

    1. Noel Rosos
      Noel Rosos

      Appreciate that a lot Tara!

      Glad you liked this article.

  2. Ikechi Awazie

    Hi Noel

    It is a bad thing to burn bridges. I remember an advice a wise friend once gave me and it is that no matter how bad a boss seems to be, always leave an organisation with a good name.

    So looking at this post, you give very excellent reasons of why we should avoid burning bridges. It is really a small world.

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Noel Rosos
      Noel Rosos

      You are correct Ikechi. No matter how bad or rude your boss may be, you should always leave with a good impression and with your dignity and reputation intact because you’ll never know what the future holds.

      Glad you liked it bro.

  3. Kate Findley

    Excellent post. I agree with this principle 100%. I tend to err on the side of submissiveness–sometimes people criticize me for being too “nice” or not standing up for myself. However, while I agree that it is important to stand up for yourself, in most cases you stand to gain much more by swallowing your pride and doing whatever it takes to remain on good terms with a person or company.

    1. Noel Rosos
      Noel Rosos

      I understand where you’re coming from Kate. It’s easier said than done especially if you’re not the confrontational type.

  4. Diane Hall-Harvey

    Excellent article!!! It was a fresh reminder of a few things…You never know who you may need help, support, or a favor from. If you need once, you’ll need again a second or even third time. And when you point a finger at someone remember that there are three or four pointing back at you! So, never say never and get ready to dig into a BIG slice of humble pie! Enjoy! :-)

    1. Noel Rosos
      Noel Rosos

      Absolutely Diane! All the more reason to be careful with our actions and reactions because we’ll never know.

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