img: gsdpuppypaws @deviantart
Should I burn those bridges?
It is commonly believed and accepted that one should ‘never burn those bridges’. But is that really the smartest strategy?
Whether you are leaving a company or a relationship, I’d suggest that you burn away.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting you go out of your way to be a dick about it.
If you know there is no going back, then you are more likely to think harder about it and to commit deeper and longer. The psychology behind is clear (one of Cialdini’s six principles) and is often used in behavioural change programmes like AA and Weight Watchers. By publically declaring something, the level of personal commitment dramatically increases. That is exactly what you need when you are making a big decision.
You can’t step through the same river twice, according to Heraclitus the philosopher, and it is quite true.
Drinking from the same well twice is very rarely healthy. That is why I coach people never to accept a counter-offer. The short-term need of the company to retain you eventually passes and is replaced with a subtle resentment that they were manipulated into paying over the top. It rarely lasts.
Whilst many people will have an example that proves that maintaining that second option has proven to be a good idea, those exceptions actually are a lot rarer than you think. And I will suggest that even if you do go back for seconds, you will never know what would have played out if you actually didn’t do that.
If you fail, fail forward. Burn those bridges and go confidently into the future instead of relying on the back-up plan.