It’s always incredibly tempting when we move on from a certain stage of our lives – be it leaving a job, school or even a relationship – to “go out with a bang” and have the last laugh.
It’s like when Walter White quitted his job at the car wash in season one of Breaking Bad, he screamed a few choice obscenities at his boss Bogdan on the way out; finally getting his frustrations off his chest.
Spoiler alert! – Walter and his wife went back to buy the car wash in a later season and were quoted an astronomical price by Bogdan, who was still smarting from Walter’s tirade.
What could have been an amicable transaction between two former colleagues was unnecessarily complicated by Walter; not having been able to control himself previously.
The moral of the story is to resist the temptation to burn bridges and to move on with grace.
The importance of networking
The need to maintain a network of people from your previous life experiences is not new advice, but I can’t emphasise it enough.
From personal experience, when I first left high school, I decided that I was done with my classmates and removed 90% of them from my Facebook friends list (a hugely rebellious statement coming from a Millennial).
Five years later, I left university and reconnected with one of the very few schoolmates with whom I had kept on good terms. It led to his father offering me my first ever full-time job.
Yes, I may have tried to distance myself from my school life, but had I made a bigger show of leaving the school with nothing but resentment for those around me, I would never have gotten that opportunity to kickstart my career.
Who knows where I would be if I had kept in touch with the rest of the masses?
Respect those around you
Think about that intern you force him to do the most degrading of menial work; that co-worker you just can’t stand; the boss who treats you like you’re subhuman, that difficult client; that incredibly self-important college professor; that ex who drove you insane…
Treat all of them with respect and dignity. Again, it may be tempting to have the final word and show them the finger once you perceive them to be no longer important in your life.
But those bridges you burn today may very well be the ones you need to cross tomorrow. The last thing you want to do is regret the way you previously treated them, now that they hold your fate in their hands.
It can be agonising to walk away and be courteous sometimes, but it just may be the best decision you can ever made.