Why It Sometimes Pays To Burn Bridges



  • A while back, I had worked for this guy who turned out to be a whopping jerk. Since I was fairly young, I decided to leave nicely and not burn any bridges. I never groused about the reasons why I left. I just made up some simple yet plausible reason for leaving and left quietly.

    A few years later, I was looking for another job, and got an interview with a (different) company. While chatting with the tech lead, he said something that rang a bell. It was an odd phrase frequently used by the aforementioned manager. I inquired as to the name of the boss, and 2nd level manager. Sure enough, it was the same jerk.

    Since I had always done my job well, and left nicely, he didn’t have any objection to hiring me again. Fortunately, I dodged that bullet. However, had he been PO’d at me, I never would have gotten the interview, and would have saved myself the time and trouble.

    From that I learned that if your boss is a jerk to the point where you’d never ever want to work for, with or even in the same building as him again, that it actually pays to burn your bridges.

    Discuss?



  •  I would just burn his car.  With him in it.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

     I would just burn his car.  With him in it.


    You crack me up....



  • I think you did the right thing. The inconvenience of one "wasted" interview (itself arguable; experience of interviews etc etc) vs an unquantifiable amount of damage that may be caused through him badmouthing you for the next n months to all who would listen.

    Besides which personally I think it shows greater strength of character to exit gracefully than leave in the wake of a massive hissy-fit



  • It's not like you would take a job without first meeting the first 2-3 levels of management above you.... right?



  • In the alternate universe where Snoofle and I traded lives, the way my luck goes, the tech lead wouldn't have said the 'magic phrase' and I would've gone on to have do more interviews with even more managers and HR, did drug test, background tests, compulsory 2 week wait at previous job, fill out reams of paperwork after accepting the offer, yadda yadda, and then on my first day have to go out to my welcome-to-the-company lunch with the jerk after completely missing him during the interviewing process.

    So yeah, not wasted time at all in my mind. 

    Also, personally, I think that I get better at interviewing every time that I've interviewed with a company (even if it's a complete bomb).



  • Just do what I do, burn bridges at your current employer and stay there.  Go out of your way to show up/piss off your colleagues that are arrogant enough to think they're better than you are.  In fact don't just burn bridges, make the gap wider.  Apply scorched earth tactics to your professional relationships.

    Always worked for me since I was always right and the business owners respected me.

     



  • @Zagyg said:

    I think you did the right thing. The inconvenience of one "wasted" interview (itself arguable; experience of interviews etc etc) vs an unquantifiable amount of damage that may be caused through him badmouthing you for the next n months to all who would listen.

    Besides which personally I think it shows greater strength of character to exit gracefully than leave in the wake of a massive hissy-fit

     

    I completely agree. If you left a job because your experience with a boss/supervisor was so bad, I would think that in order to not have it happen again you would  insist on meeting any bosses/supervisors when considering a new position.  This makes sense not just to avoid the coincidence of working for the same guy again, but also to avoid working under a different person who is just as bad or worse.




  • Trouble with burning bridges is that word tends to spread around about what a jerk you make yourself look like while burning said bridges.

    You could, um, "toast" your bridges by explaining some sort of irreconcilable philosophical differences with your boss... "I respectfully disagree with you so much that I think I would be a better match somewhere else".  Probably keeps the guy from hiring you ever again, but (hopefully) without screwing up your reputation.

    OTOH, I pretty much did just this, and he keeps saying "I'm welcome to come back" whenever I bump into him.  Maybe he thinks he welcomes dissenting views more than he actually does...



  • @snoofle said:

    From that I learned that if your boss is a jerk to the point where you’d never ever want to work for, with or even in the same building as him again, that it actually pays to burn your bridges.

    I'd wonder about a similar situation, but where you are being offered a position higher up the management ladder, with said jerk being one of your underlings. Would you take the job?

    I'd rather not burn my bridges in the original case, though; even if the guy's a jerk you'd never ever want to have to deal with again, word usually spreads quickly among co-workers and potential employees. Think about your "bridge burning" turning into a full-blown firestorm.



  • Don't think that your "I will never..." positions will hold forever.
    10 years later, economy is bad, your wife has lost her job and there are three hungry kids at home. And then you regret that you have burned the bridges, since you don't care any more about how much of a jerk your boss is, as long as he pays you a decent salary.



  • @ammoQ said:

    10 years later, economy is bad, your wife has lost her job and there are three hungry kids at home ...

    ... you are 10 years older, CTS is already setting in, you need more powerfull glasses ...



  • @ammoQ said:

    10 years later, economy is bad, your wife has lost her job and there are three hungry kids at home.

    Solution: eat the children. 


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