Why is it Important to Leave Your Employers on Good Terms?

Oct 12, 2021

Elizabeth Houghton

Sutton Full Potential Founder

So, you’ve got an amazing job offer. It’s at your dream company and it has the biggest paycheck attached to it. You want to take it. But there’s a catch. You need to join tomorrow, or the job will be given to another candidate.

You haven’t told your current employer about applying for the new job. You haven’t even given your notice and put in your notice period yet. To get this amazing new job, you have to pick up the phone and tell your manager that you’re not coming to work from tomorrow. No sorry, no goodbye.

What do you do?

How employees burn their bridges

Nothing is worse for an employer than to find out that they’ve been unceremoniously dumped by an employee, without even a “Thank you for helping me in my career” or an “I’m so sorry to do this to you”. You’ll find that you’re burning more bridges than you’re constructing if you take any hasty decision to exit your firm.

It isn’t just quitting without giving any notice that’ll burn your bridges. You can end up destroying the relationships you’ve spent years building at your current company by:

  • Talking ill of your manager or your team to a third party.
  • Bringing up old issues/problems and justifying your sudden exit from the company.
  • Not informing your company about quitting and just disappearing from their radar.
  • Not asking permission from your employer & colleagues about listing them as references for your new job.
  • Poaching a colleague or a client during your notice period.
  • Giving the notice but making the halfhearted effort because you’re already out the door.
  • Engaging in unethical activities during the last days at work (such as deleting files you don’t want to share with others, forwarding client contacts to personal mail ID for a new job, etc.).
  • Constantly boasting about your new job to others (online and offline), while still employed at your old job.
  • Misbehaving during your exit party.
  • Not completing your handover properly before exit.
  • Taking advantage of and abusing your employee discount before exit.
  • Not showing gratitude to the people who you worked with.
  • Posting a negative review of the company online after leaving.


Drop that match – don’t burn your bridges after you cross them

Being disrespectful or callous towards your ex-manager or ex-colleagues may not seem much at first because you’re leaving the firm. But this can affect you terribly on your new job as well. Here are a few reasons why:

  • It can affect your ability to get a good reference 

All companies seek references to verify a job applicant’s temperament, work ethics, and technical qualifications from their previous employer. Just imagine writing to your ex-manager, asking them to give you a reference after you’ve destroyed your relationship with them.

Dear Previous Employer, I know I was the worst, but now I need a reference from you for my new job. Pretty please, yours regretfully.”

Sounds absolutely ridiculous, doesn’t it? No employer would indulge you in this, and it could lead to a lot of problems. For one, your employer may have forgotten all the good memories they had with you because the painful experience you left behind is still fresh in their mind. They may misrepresent you based on that. Second, they may actively discourage the new firm from hiring you because of your misbehavior.

You will be at risk of losing the job opportunity because of such bad reports.

  • It can prevent you from seeking help when you’re out of a job 

Employees who have left their current employer on good terms find it infinitely easier to seek professional help from them when they need it. For one, you can request that the old company hire you back. Or, you can ask your ex-employer to put in a good word about you with a different company.

None of this will be possible if you leave behind a nasty aftertaste by being unprofessional and insensitive towards your old company.

  • It can ruin your reputation in the industry  

Finally, your entire professional (and sometimes personal) reputation will be in jeopardy when you burn your bridges after you cross them. Many industries are small, and usually, employees move companies within the same industry. Word can spread quickly and information about your actions can reach your current employer, your clients, and any other partner with who you may have to work with. Their perception of you will be tainted right from the start, and you may find that you’re not getting any opportunities in the industry anymore because of this.

Instead, being kind even when you’ve not had a great experience in your old company will only serve to make you look better. It’s important to remember that everyone keeps a close eye on how an employee leaves the firm since it indicates how you may behave with them once you come aboard. So, be careful and be kind to your old employers and always leave them on good terms.

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