A professional job search can be quite frustrating. It’s not at all uncommon for people to react negatively to other helpful or unproductive situations in this environment. It’s quite understandable, in fact that frustration and lack of results do not make people feel inclined to be friendly.
The problems start, however, when job hunters get actively hostile to employers whom they see as uncooperative or unhelpful. The frustration boils over, and things are said and done which shouldn’t be said and done.
Professional bridge burning, an overview
For professionals, there’s an added risk in this situation. Professional groups tend to be smaller groups, and people in the same industries tend to bump into each other more frequently. If you get into a hostile situation with an employer, there is a definite risk that you may clash again.
You may also find that you get a not entirely deserved reputation for being aggressive or negative. You probably know the famous Hollywood condemnation, “Hard to work with”. This saying actually means “Don’t work with this person, they’re impossible.”
It is usually difficult to know how professional reputation that can’t be written in resume like this is acquired. There is no doubt, however, that this type of reputational mud definitely sticks in professions. When you’ve got a bad name, that bad reputation will follow you around.
Good reasons for not burning your bridges
You don’t need to be a doormat, but you do need to control your bridge-burning tendencies. One of the most common ways of shooting yourself in the foot professionally is to go online on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn with an ill-advised rant. Another great option is to start making equally ill-advised remarks in an environment where those remarks will be circulated.
Let’s clarify a few points here –
- Even if your frustration and anger are fully justified, going ballistic will definitely not help the situation at all.
- There’s no point making things worse for yourself in the process of not getting a job.
- Stress is destructive – The more you stress out, the more damage you are doing yourself.
- You may be wrong. You may have misinterpreted the situation or the statements and actions of the other party. Being angry and wrong at the same time does not improve your position.
- There is absolutely nothing to be said for making a difficult situation worse. The best thing to do in an unproductive situation is to get out of that situation, not to allow it to cause you further damage.
When the bridges don’t burn down
There is one very important aspect of any professional career and job searching – Your professional relationships. These relationships are the working machinery of your career. They provide access to current and future career progression. If you keep these relationships in working order, it’s easier to overcome career obstacles.
Take the concerted approach to your professional relationships, not the knee-jerk approach. For more information about managing professional clashes in bridge burning, see this link.