5 Ways To Burn Bridges, Get Blacklisted And Stunt Career Growth

burn bridges career growthSure, there's a long-term payoff for practicing diplomacy in the workplace. Good career karma can come in the form of employee referrals, glowing LinkedIn recommendations, networking opportunities, leads on new jobs and more.

But who needs any of those things?

If you're looking for some surefire ways to burn professional bridges and leave a bad taste in the mouths of colleagues, consider the following tips.

1. The 'OMG I hate my job!' Update

Not classy. If you've been keeping up with our posts, you should know by now that social media is no longer a dumping ground for banal inanities. It's just too easy for any one of your 300+ closest "friends" to take a quick snapshot and circulate your incriminating words.

Susan Fignar, executive coach and founder of relationship management firm Pur*sue, makes the excellent point that there's a time and place to share our feelings and frustrations and offers an alternative method of releasing woes: "Vent with a close friend, get it out of your system and show up with a fresh attitude," she said. "I always tell people to channel their inner Jackie-O or President Barack Obama - both the epitome of poise and polish."

2. Quit out of the Blue

Plan on going MIA at your job? If you do, consider those professional connections gone. The purpose of giving the traditional two weeks' notice is so you can offer the company ample time to start looking for a replacement while you help make the transition easier.

Failure to give proper notice a shows lack of consideration and respect for your former company. And it's not just management who will hold it against you. Coworkers might be irked by the extra work your sudden departure causes them.

3. Steal Clients (or Tweeps)

Stealing clients not only exemplifies poor character - but could also infringe on your company's legal rights. We spoke with Angela Reddock, national workplace expert and Los Angeles employment lawyer, who said employees can be subject to a civil lawsuit and liable for economic damages to the former employer.

"The real problem here," she said, "is when a former employee takes steps to directly take or lure clients away from a former employer, such as calling, emailing or meeting with a former employer's client."

And here's a new one: Social media efforts could soon be "owned" by companies as well. An emerging precedence will result from Phonedog's ex-blogger Noah Kravitz who is being sued by his former employer for taking 17,000 Twitter followers with him. Regardless of the outcome of the trial, there's some highly publicized bad blood brewing between Kravitz and his ex-boss.

4. Refuse to Pay it Forward

If you become notorious for having an "it's not my job" attitude when others ask you to help out, you might burn a bridge or two without realizing it. "Inquire about new projects, come up with new ideas, ask to work on a project," Fignar said.

For the unemployed job seeker, Fignar still emphasizes the importance of going beyond the unexpected: "Do you offer to help others out? Offer to make an introduction or an e-introduction?" It's equally important to volunteer to work on projects, she said, in order to position yourself for more opportunities.

5. Get Drunk and Badmouth Your Boss

Georgette Pascale, president & CEO of Pascale Communications, has seen a lot of self-destructive career sins committed by professionals. One major sin, she said, is to gain a little too much liquid courage, and dis your company to others.

"This always gets back to the boss or leader," she said.

Next: Network Maintenance: Keep Your Old Connections

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Arthur Caputo

Seems to me this article is about kissing up to the employers You mention the lack of respect if you don't give an employer 2 weeks notice.I knpw a resturant chain that hasn'y given their employees a raise in 4 years, They have money for everything else but labor. Speaking of as lack of respect.Outsourcing is the ultimate lack of respect for American workers. Over 50,000 manufacturing companies leaving to exploit labor overses.Respect is a 2 way street.We shouldn't have to be performing seals to land a job.

February 01 2012 at 6:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Years ago I was on vacation 100 miles from my home and played golf with a husband and wife. We chatted about our families and lives over the 3 1/2 hours and eventually the conversation turned to careers. I was self employed and mentioned that and my former job. I actually praised my former employer and my former boss and when I said my former boss' name the husband and wife both laughed. Imagine my surprise, and relief, when I learned that my former boss was their next door neighbor.

January 31 2012 at 9:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Don't just quite without notice, go out in style by crashing all the servers on your way out the door. Log in with the password of one of your coworkers so they get in trouble. That way you'll have company while you are unemployed. Fight the power! Barring that, complain loudly about it to strangers on the train. Another good way to make friends and build connections for your professional career.

January 31 2012 at 8:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Remember there is a great deal of brainwashing going on by corporations and the newscasters work for these corporations. They pay top dollar for their "Think Tanks" to come up with all of these Ideas and it is being taught to your children in every college in America. It is imperative that you talk to your children. We are a little to old to to be brainwashed, that is why they try to retire out the older personnel. Remember when they make a bad investment they can write it off , walk away and start-up under a knew name. Their credit rating is not affected and they are called Job Creators. When you are upside down in your mortgage, it is a bad investment, and you should be ashamed , your credit destroyed and they think you should continue to keep on paying them???? Not, it is a bad investment
The same thing applies with their rules at the work place when it gets this crazy walk away. They are not your Mom & Pop!

January 31 2012 at 8:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Losing perspective and appreciation for the opportunities at hand can be a very bad mistake. Everyone can be replaced. Work hard and be a competent leader. As Ronald Reagan said: "It doesnt matter who gets the credit as long as it gets done"

January 31 2012 at 8:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Do sloppy work

January 31 2012 at 7:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Or you could tell customers about the dangers of the companies products and get blacklisted and fired like I did. It seems the natural gas companies don't like it when you tell customers that the gas leaking in the street could ruin their trees, lawns and shrubs as well as ignite.

January 31 2012 at 7:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to proffjimbob's comment

Do you regret blowing the whistle?

January 31 2012 at 8:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

These do not consider all issues with employers. I used to work with a boss that used to cut me off at every meeting . The market was difficult but no consideration was given. Then I was advised without regular production, there would be no job. Since 98% of the clients had refinanced and the rest could not qualify for loans. I had no clients and they were cannibalizing the ones we had. We were given all the loans the other loan officers could not do. We had no other answer but the same that there was no qualified prospects. I was glad to leave and am losing less as never supported us in any dispute. Its not customer relations if they are not paying us. So glad to go and never looked back. The market an now getting worse and the remaining officers are having less luck. I say to them every day..." I told you so." It feels good to be right.:)

January 31 2012 at 7:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Nancy's Honey

I had the privilege when going from a job where I was over qualified to one that I wanted very much and got and then told my "boss" to take his job and shove it.
Many other employees gave me a party when I left and I got a little stewed. And I did bad mouth the "boss" who dropped in. I told of his sexism in screwing one of the women in the office ( he was married ) and I told of his having porn in his desk which I'd seen. And I told him that there were lots of people who despised him because of his inability to manage them. I heard that not to much later he went down the road talking to himself.....fired. So maybe it's true. What goes around comes around.

January 31 2012 at 7:16 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

At will employment status means 'at will,' with no obligation on anyone's part to demonstrate consideration. Has anyone been given a two week notice when they were just about to be fired to make room for the boss' friend??? I don't think so.

January 31 2012 at 7:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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