You've probably heard the saying "don't burn your bridges before you cross them". Usually, it's a caution against doing things like suddenly quitting while telling your boss what you really think of him. Sales professional Tom Powers writes on LinkedIn that "burning bridges" is more often a slow burn that happens in small ways over time.
Picture: Kris Krug/Flickr
The metaphor of "burning bridges" in your life is something everyone understands. But the image that comes to the forefront is one of a blazing inferno. Maybe it's the image of quitting your job in a spectacular, memorable way or some juicy scandal. In reality, most burn bridges in a less sensational way. More of a slow burn - a series of small missteps, perceived slights etc that tarnish your reputation.
His recommendations? Treat competitors not like enemies, but get to know them personally. Quit or leave your job with class. And just listen and ask real questions to get to know the people you work with and meet -- have a genuine interest in them. Basic stuff, but it's how to build a professional network without the sleaze.
Powers writes that this is avoiding letting your bridges burn, but I think it might be more apt to say that by doing these things you're building bridges where otherwise there were just gaps.
Don't let your bridges burn [LinkedIn]