Sara* was sick and tired of the way she was being treated at work. She decided it was time to leave and when she made her exit, she was going to let her boss know how she felt about things. What she could not possibly have known at the time was that three years later she would be interviewing for a job with a company–and her interviewer would be the very person she unloaded on when she left her former workplace.
“This is not unusual,” said Pamper Garner Crangle, President of Pamper Garner and Associates, a consulting firm that helps companies manage and measure “people problems.” “People get emotional and feel the need to vent before they leave a job. They often don’t care how they come across because they are leaving. But, I try to remind them that how they express their frustration is very important in the world of business. I tell people that your reputation often precedes you. If you handle things poorly at one company, chances are good that it will get around to other companies in the area. Like Sara, you never know when you will have to interview with someone you threw a tantrum in front of years ago.”
Studies indicate that one of the reasons people feel justified in not caring how they leave a company is lack of loyalty.
“Years ago most people were very loyal to their place of employment,” Crangle said. “Today, many young people have seen their parents work in a loyal fashion for many years, sacrificing time for their marriage and family relationships, only to be downsized. So they have decided they don’t want to put in extra hours or put their personal ownership in the workplace.”
Most experts agree that even if one does not feel a sense of loyalty to their company, it is not a good idea to leave on a sour note for many reasons, including future references and job possibilities.
“I think sometimes people forget the importance of relationships,” Crangle said. “In a day and age where broken relationships are all around us, people tend to think of leaving a job like trading in a used car for a new one or getting a new cell phone.”
Regardless of whether you feel loyal to a company or not, it has been said that attitude and presentation makes or breaks a conversation. Believe it or not, saying goodbye respectfully and finishing well can make all the difference in the long run when it comes to your career. Crangle encourages people to consider the following in order to avoid burning bridges when you leave your job:
In one’s life there are many entrances and exits, personally and professionally. Your reputation hinges on the first impression and the last impression you leave. It is sometimes tempting to sever ties with others, but we live in a small world. Although it takes much more effort, in the long run it will benefit you to maintain a good relationship with those for whom you worked. You never know when you will run into those people again.
*Name was changed
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