Is It Ever Okay to Burn a Professional Bridge?

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Although there are many occasions where burning a bridge is probably going to hurt you more than it hurts your employer, there are some situations where it will actually be your best bet – or even your only possible course of action.

Just what situations would warrant burning a bridge? Here are five of them:

1. You Literally Hate Your Job

Robert Tew once said, “Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy.” Life is far too short to work in a job that makes you miserable day in and day out.

Some might argue that your attitude affects your job, and this is definitely true to a certain extent. However, having to force a positive attitude each day just to cover up the fact that you are miserable is only fooling everyone but yourself. Do yourself a favor and find a job that makes you happy.

2. You Don’t Believe in the Organization

It is absolutely impossible to sincerely pour your heart and soul into work you don’t believe in. Maybe you never shared your organization’s values, or maybe you’ve started losing your faith, but whatever the case, it’s hard to be great when you disagree with your own mission.

Just like a relationship, you can grow apart from an employer. You may have shared the organization’s ideals and beliefs when you first started, but over time, that may have changed. And guess what? That’s perfectly okay. Accept it and move on.

3. You Tried Something New and Hated It

Perhaps you moved from a corporate recruiting role to an agency recruiting role. You thought you would be okay with running a full desk. You thought you would be okay with the external variables that affect your ability to fill a position. You thought, “Hey, I have an opportunity to make more money. This is great.”

Except, you tried it, and you hated it. Or perhaps you found that it just wasn’t your cup of tea. Sometimes, we have to make these types of career decisions to find out what we do or do not want to do for the rest of our lives.

4. Your Work Environment Is Toxic

A toxic work environment means more than just hating your job – it means you wake up dreading the workplace drama that you will have to deal with each day. You have a boss who constantly micromanages you or belittles you. Your coworkers do not have your back, and they often make the environment borderline hostile through their speech and actions. The toxicity is sucking you in, and you find yourself beginning to feed into it.

If this sounds like your life, it’s definitely time to leave. Why subject yourself to a highly toxic environment?

5. Your Position Is in Danger

This is probably the most obvious scenario in which you may have to burn a bridge. Perhaps your organization is going through an acquisition or merger, your department is downsizing, or you find that you simply don’t have enough work to do to keep yourself busy all day.

These are all signs that the existence of your position is in question. When it comes to dealing with this situation, it’s best to jump ship before you are thrown off of the ship. Beat them to the punch.

At the end of the day, you have to look out for yourself. If your position is facing potential elimination, you need to make a choice to burn the bridge now or get burned later when the inevitable happens.

Kristina Evans is the director of HR and recruiting for Exactor.

By Kristina Evans