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Don't Burn Bridges! Reputation is Everything!

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exit relationships gracefully

A friend recently was telling me about a long-time co-worker who not only resigned, but did it in a way that burned all bridges and goodwill with the former employer and most co-workers at a good sized company. I understand people get mad, disagree and are frustrated at times, and certainly when leaving a company, but even when your are dealing with the short-term, you have to think about the long-term.  If you don’t, your actions today can seriously affect your future opportunities.  In business acting on your emotions can have a long lasting effect.

You may never even know you lost a fantastic opportunity.  It just won’t be there among your options. This person I mention above has done that because the actions on the way out affected a lot of people who won’t forget when this person’s name comes up in the future.  I am sure it felt good to get things off of their chest, but what did it really accomplish?  Phoenix, like elsewhere, is a big city that in business is like a small town. And people remember being told off longer than someone providing constructive criticism on their way out the door.

So what do you do when you dislike the actions of your employer, co-workers or even clients or vendors?  You have to chart the smoothest course you can. Sometimes it means not saying what’s on your mind in way you would like to.  I am not advocating that you brush serious issues off of the table.  I am simply saying that it is better to act on thought than emotion in these situations. 

Remember, reputation takes a lifetime to build and seconds to destroy. Don’t let it be you.

As always, this post and others can be found on my blog, Business LawGuy’s Blog.


About the author: Neal H. Bookspan is a partner at the Phoenix, Arizona law firm of Jaburg Wilk. He assists clients with business issues, commercial litigation, workouts and bankruptcy litigation.