Posts Tagged ‘ethics’

burning-bridges-clipart-1An architect friend of mine shared a quote he heard when starting out in this business, “We’ll burn that bridge when we get to it“.

Most people’s first thought is you shouldn’t burn bridges.  But some relationships, whether personal or business are toxic.  It happens, you try everything you can to keep them working but there comes a time when sometimes enough is enough and you have to walk away and may even need to burn that bridge.

We are in the service industry.  Really, aren’t we all?  Everyone is doing what they do because someone needs something, whether it is creating something for someone, fixing something, manufacturing, construction, healthcare, etc… we are all working for clients.  But, there are some instances in life where you’ve been pushed beyond reasonable limits and maybe it is a moral issue, or a financial one, or a compatibility problem, regardless something has to give.

Knowing which bridges is the tricky part.

A perfect example of that on a small-scale happened the other day.  I pulled into park at a job site I was about to inspect and was sitting in my car gathering my thoughts, checking who the contact on site was, etc., when a car pulled in and parked next to me so close I would have had a hard time opening my door to get out and she would have had the same problem. I just smiled, and moved forward into a different spot.  As it turned out, that woman was the person I was meeting on site.  Bridge not burned, nor even scorched a little.

And sometimes it is not you burning the bridge, but someone else leaving you behind and burning that bridge in front of you.  It happens, and it is always funny when they realize they DO in fact need you, and try to cross back over.  The clients that you’ve worked with for years, had a good relationship with and then one small problem and they hang you out to dry or move on to “better” companies?  Those I have a special place for.   Needless to say they are not tops on the priority list of which messages get returned the fastest.  It’s not a bridge I’ve burnt, but it is a shaky one I remain hesitant to rely upon.

Some bridges, as I said, should be burned.  Mostly it comes from being wronged or mistreated, whatever the reason, there are times, as my architect friend said, that a bridge needs to be burned.  You need to make a stand and be true to yourself in business.  Rely on your moral compass and know that you can’t be all things to all people, and that it is never good to be someone’s doormat.

Just make sure you have another route available though.  Bridges burn fast, but take a long long time to rebuild.

barkerp.