23 Ways to be Happy at Work: #18 – Mend Fences, Don’t Burn Bridges

broken-fenceSometimes we are so hurt or angry in our work lives that we burn bridges. It’s easy to forget that experiences can come back to bite us. The work environment is so small that is it is inevitable that we will probably cross paths with someone with whom we left on bad terms. We don’t have to remain anyone’s best friend, but we should try to leave things cordial.

Who should you mend a fence with?

Is there someone in your work life that you should mend fences with? Did you burn a bridge after leaving one of your jobs? I know I did. While I was hurt and angry, looking back I realized that I should have left as gracefully as I first began my job. Fortunately for me, I was able to mend fences a few years later. Moving forward, I have committed to never repeating this type of exit again. For you, who did you burn a bridge with? What were the circumstances? Are you still hurt or angry?

Why, what, and where?

After asking yourself these questions, ask another one. Why are you still hurt or angry? Has enough time passed? Is it still an open wound? Will it take more time to mend fences? Can you even mend fences? Do you want to? Will the poor exit come back to haunt you? Do you hold yourself accountable for the circumstances? How are they responsible?

What would you tell them if you had the chance?

Assuming that you are open to mending fences, what should you say? What do you really want to say? What is the minimum you can say, so it’s gracious enough? I am a firm believer that by burning bridges, we limit our future career opportunities. It can come back to haunt us, when we least expect it. By mending fences, we minimize any potential damage to our future career opportunities. By mending fences, we have the opportunity to get over old issues that have caused resentment, even unhappiness. What fences fences can you mend today?


23 Ways to be Happy at Work Series

The 23 Ways to be Happy at Work series reflects on 23 ways to help you reflect about the course of your career. After deciding to identify what made me happy at work, my list became this list. Here the are the drivers to my happiness at work that may help you manage your career:

  1. Work by your values
  2. Love your work, love your career
  3. Decide what makes you happy in your job
  4. Work can be play
  5. Know the big picture
  6. Walk in your boss’s shoes
  7. What is the problem?
  8. Try the same old thing to get different results
  9. Try something new to get different results
  10. List your accomplishments
  11. Don’t gossip
  12. Don’t react
  13. Don’t worry
  14. Don’t be unhealthy
  15. Read up
  16. Read It
  17. Share knowledge
  18. Mend fences
  19. Be a squirrel
  20. Change your workspace
  21. Give yourself a gift
  22. Let it go
  23. Change this!

For previous entries in this series, click here.