I’ve been working for a long time now. I was an accountant for over 30 years and I’ve been a writer for close to 15. There has been some overlap between the two—don’t want you to think I’m older than I really am.
When it comes to these “jobs,” for the most part, I’ve had one simple rule: Don’t burn bridges when it comes to work and/or when you know it’s time to go someplace else or do something else. Maybe I haven’t taught my now adult children much, but I think they’ve learned this from me.
We all leave jobs to go to other jobs. Sometimes we have to leave a job when we don’t want to. In any case, I try really hard not to go down the sour grapes road. It doesn’t pay off.
Last October, when my editor at CityBeat decided it was time to end the Living Out Loud column, some of my writer friends said I should blast them in my last column for dropping it. To me there was no point in doing that. As I said in that wrap up column, I had a good run with it and thanked my editor and the co-publishers of the paper for giving me a chance to write it.
Thanks to you, the readers of that column, your mail helped to bring the column back to CityBeat. If I had written mean and nasty things in that last column, do you think it would have returned? No. When it comes to being a writer, or really in anything you do, it doesn’t pay to burn your bridges.
I have a friend who is an excellent writer. He has worked for various publications in this area. I use the word “worked,” because now he can’t. He leaves publications usually under a cloud, finds another publication to work for, then tears apart in print where he just left. This happens over and over again. He has burned so many bridges; he has no place left to write.
Of course, we all slip up on this. Back in my accounting days, I left a drug manufacturer in Pleasant Ridge to go and work for a clothing manufacturer in Forest Park. I left on very good terms.
The president of that clothing manufacturer was really a small time crook. I worked for this idiot for ten months. On one particular bad morning when he was chewing my ass out over something I didn’t even do, I was fed up with his ever present temper and his lying and told him to go fuck himself. I assumed I burned a bridge there and never used him as an employer reference when looking for a new job.
When I was looking for that new job, my old boss at the drug manufacturing place helped keep me afloat by offering me consulting work. We left on friendly terms and it paid off.
So that’s my words of wisdom for today on burning bridges. Please know should I ever decide to leave this blog and go elsewhere, I won’t burn my bridges here either. Of course, I’m the only employee at “Larry Gross Online,” but maybe you get my point.
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