We’ll Build That Bridge When We Come To It

Welcome back to this occasional series related to my research on consumer dissatisfaction. I write about customers who hold grudges against businesses that do them wrong. Sometimes this means you walk out and plan on never returning and sometimes it means you take some action, from complaining to retaliating. When it gets to that point, I call it dysfunctional consumer behavior.

Today, I want to share some grudgeholding insight related more to your own behavior than to consumer behavior – about retaliation or burning bridges behind you.

When I left my first job in mall management (my choice), it just turned out that I never ran into any of my coworkers ever again, though I have remained in touch with a good friend from a different mall. That was fine with me.

Since the time I left my second job, an online service provider (my choice), I have stayed in contact with many coworkers over the years and across the miles, thanks to social media.

In the years since I left my third job, in higher education (their choice), I stayed in contact with a couple of important mentors and have run into a number of former coworkers in, professionally speaking, some high-stakes situations.

Don’t burn bridges.

Since leaving my fourth job (one-year contract) I have maintained several of the most important relationships of my career.

Now in my 18th year at my fifth job (in case you were wondering “can’t Doctor D keep a job?”) I repeat: don’t burn bridges. 

Burnish them. Make them better. Stronger.

Any satisfaction you might feel by scorching the earth behind you is temporary. Keep the important relationships and be ready… and brave enough… to bring back old relationships once time has passed and wounds have healed.

What do you think?

See you tomorrow!