Control your breaking point
By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor
Formerly published in The Other Press. Jan. 27, 2016
Oh, the satisfying feeling of completely destroying something—like a relationship—that you don’t want to be a part of anymore. Whether it be romantic or professional, leaving something is never easy. Sometimes it happens through mutual understanding, and other times it occurs as a tug-o-war, pulling until the tether that binds yourself and your counterpart snaps.
There are many articles and forums out there discussing the positives of burning bridges. One reason offered is so that you will never have to return to that place, be if physical or emotional, ever again. By severing your ties completely, you can only look forward and not back. It’s always tempting to go back to a comfort zone, even if the comfort zone is most often uncomfortable, and at times painful. Many people who break up from a relationship find themselves back together again, going through the same turbulence as before—but the turbulence is comforting because it is familiar. Sometimes burning the bridge is the only way to move on.
By burning the bridge with your former employer, you can almost be certain you would not have to end up in that shitty job again. However, while this practice might have been true, and perhaps advantageous, in previous years, it is not anymore. When you burn a bridge with a company, you don’t just burn it with the boss, you let the entire team down. People talk and they will talk about your tactlessness and your true colours. You let pride get in the way of your job.
It’s a small world out there and people aren’t fixed to one job anymore. While you’ve left your previous employment in a smoldering mess, others might have exited graciously. These people might even be your former boss. These people might cross paths with you again—odds are they will, if you stay in the same career path.
The next time you decide to rip your employers and/or co-workers apart before exiting into hellfire, remember that you are not making any grand statement. You are trapping yourself into a persona. Whatever attributes you obtained during your employment will be erased. You will be the loose cannon who wouldn’t compromise.
If you have a choice, which you always do, you should choose to take the higher ground and bow out with class and dignity. Nobody will feel sorry for you or congratulate you for burning bridges and posting about how you stuck you middle finger out at your superiors on social media. Nobody cares about you if you don’t care about others.
Yes, burning bridges will help you eliminate options you don’t want, but it’s like a wildfire: you might destroy some opportunities you desire in the future. You cannot control how other people will view you after such destructiveness. You cannot stop people from being wary of you. You were a bridge burner. What’s to say you won’t do it again?