Have you treated people poorly after they’ve turned in a resignation letter?
Have you turned in a resignation letter and then not worked as hard as normal up to your last day?
Have you lost a client and then started talking badly about him?
Have you held a grudge against an old friend?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you’re a bridge burner.
Shame on you.
There is no excuse for burning bridges. Burning bridges can have negative consequences for a lifetime. You might be able to rebuild those bridges (i.e., relationships) but it will take a lot of effort.
Instead of burning bridges with a friend, co-worker, client, etc. when something bad happens, make the bridges stronger. Reinforce the foundations of the bridges so they will withstand future turmoil.
When a co-worker resigns, treat that person like a VIP. Show him how much he has meant to the company; how much he has meant to you. Talk with that person frequently after he moves elsewhere. Keep the line of communication open.
Do the same when you resign from a job. You may find your position at the new company is not as good as you hoped. You may want to go back to your old employer. Don’t burn bridges by leaving things unfinished or doing shabby work before you leave.
Don’t look at lost clients as lost clients. Look at them as prospects for future work. They may realize, once working with a different service provider, that you had provided great value to them. You want to be the first one they call when making a change in the future.
Bridge reinforcement is a lot easier (and more enjoyable) than rebuilding a bridge that has already burned. Before you can start to rebuild, you have to clear away all the ashes and fire residue. That’s an ugly and difficult job.
Wouldn’t you rather be a bridge reinforcer than a bridge re-builder? It’s up to you. You control which one you are.