I started my career as a lawyer at a large law firm. I didn’t enjoy the work and my bosses were jerks*. It was the wrong job for me and I was miserable. I fantasized about the day I could strut in and announce, “This place is horrible. You’re horrible. Good riddance, I’m out of here.”
As that glorious day finally approached, a wise colleague, mentor and friend said:
“Don’t burn bridges because you never know when you’ll need them.”
Sigh. My hunch was he was right, but that wasn’t what I wanted to hear.
I followed his advice and my resignation sounded something like this, “While I appreciate this opportunity and it has been a pleasure working with the team, I’ve discovered this isn’t what I want to be doing and need to forge a different path.” These were all true statements. The additional thoughts and sentiments I dreamed of adding simply weren’t necessary.
Did I ever need that bridge that I didn’t burn? No, but I’ve always needed my dignity and that was fully intact.
*With hindsight I now know they weren’t jerks. I wasn’t happy so it was hard for me to like the people around me, especially the ones asking me to do things I didn’t want to do