Never Burn Bridges

I’ve been trying to think of a witty or smart way to explain why there hasn’t been a post in a couple of weeks. However, if you’re reading this, then you’re already here. Let’s carry on.

Simply put, I’ve been working. Thank God!

Seriously

I’m very fortunate to have summer work, which will seamlessly flow into my August position and have me placed back at my old school as center supervisor. However, to think that I’ve been a “preschool principal” and struggled to find work is a bit of a shame. I’ve officially been laid off twice in consecutive years. Years of experience, degrees, and achievements don’t mean much. Seems like it boils down to who you know and who can speak on your behalf.

Moral of the Story: Never burn your bridges.

For those that know me in person, you don’t think about me having negative relationships with people. I cannot think of anyone I would consider an enemy: professionally or personally. However, you can’t always control how people think about you. People can harbor feelings about you over the silliest things.

I’ve had my fair share of challenges in the work place. I’m passionate about doing the right thing; doing right by people.  In those righteous moments, I’m unabashed to share my opinion.  I’ve challenged my superiors, interjected my ideas, and stepped on people’s toes. In those moments, I know that I can rub people the wrong way. Likewise, people have done that to me.

You can be the nicest person in the world and you’ll still have conflict in your life – because there are even people who don’t like others who are too nice.  So, when the day comes when you’re leaving – or better yet, that person is leaving for another job – resist the urge to royally unload on that person.

I did it once, in my youth, to one of the worst teachers I ever had.  On the last day of class, when I penciled in my final answer on the exam, I rose my arms in the air and said “I’m out of hell”, then walked out the door.  I didn’t care to look back at the teacher’s or other student’s reactions.  I really didn’t care.  All of that pent up resentment and feelings overflowed and for weeks I contemplated how, on the last day, I would express my disgust.

That moment sticks with me; mainly because I can’t believe I did that.

I’ve never done anything like that since.  Keep in mind that there’s really no one that pushes my button. Even so, I’ve learned how to approach people about things that bother me.  I’m not waiting for those emotions to overflow.  However, there are times where I hold my tongue; realizing that the next thing to come out of my mouth would do more bad than good; it’s an emotional reaction rather than a constructive response.  Also, you never know when that one little moment of frustration will linger and, when you run into that person years down the road, the tables have turned – and they’re not in your favor.

I realize that you never know when you’ll run into familiar faces and that one negative, emotional remark can burn a bridge. In fact, throughout my recent job search, I repeatedly ran into familiar faces. People that I thought I would never see again appeared at the other end of phone calls and panel interviews.  A few of them I had negative experiences with and I held my tongue – and I’m glad I did.

Deep down, I value relationships more than venting those feelings.  Approach people, share your thoughts, work it out.  You don’t want to be unemployed and asking your mortal enemy for a job – you want to ask a friend.

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