Posted in Career Growth, Early Career, Leadership

Burning Bridges … how?

Living a life is like constructing a building: if you start wrong, you’ll end wrong. – Maya Angelou

bridgeEarly in our careers, we are all warned about burning bridges, and I have always taken that to be a rule in every volunteering, career or advisory opportunity I had.


Having said that, I am not sure if anyone (me included) really knows what it means, and as society evolves in understanding temperaments and social styles, clarifying life purpose and personal values, I can see how this advice may be outdated.

So, what does burning bridges mean?

I can see it referring to a lack of self control in one’s professional life  when any future communication with one or more colleagues, clients, members, etc… becomes impossible or will become a barrier to future growth and opportunities.

Then I thought, is it really something that one can control? What if it was a misunderstanding? What if it was simply a matter of chemistry? What if it was opposing temperaments and personal values?

So I realized, and like in all social relationships, it is those who do not listen, negatively pre-judge, do not believe others, ignore others’ contributions, depend on status and power to get ahead, are ones we would not want to deal with in the future in all cases.

So instead of seeing that burning bridges as an active verb representing mistakes one makes with lack of self control, we need to see burning bridges as an approach that lacks integrity and respect for others.




Image courtesy of Jeff Ratcliff /