5 Alternatives To Burning Bridges

In this economy and job market, you need all the friends you can get.  

Negative sniping and backstabbing will hurt more than ever before, so think long and hard before you send that nasty email, tweet that snarky comment, or post a harsh rant—all because you lost a job or were not chosen for one in the first place. Nothing good will ever come of it and, even worse, you will be tainted with that negative response for the rest of your career. With the powerful means of communication these days, there will always be someone who remembers that footnote to your resume.

Author Charles Justiz (disclaimer: "Wonder Husband") recently received a most negative review online for his first novel. Here’s a portion of that review:

Beware of all the glowing, positive reviews that you see on this. I believe the majority are friends and family of the author. If not for an assignment, I would have tossed it aside fifty pages in, making it only the second book in my life that I would have scrapped without finishing.

Everyone has a right to their opinion, and something I learned in business a long time ago is to turn a negative into a positive, so I replied to the reviewer:

Thanks for taking the time to write a review, even a bad one. While friends and family like the book and have written reviews, the majority of the reviews are from strangers. Charlie and I are always curious when we run across the rare bad review as to what you didn't like, if you have more details you can tell us. That sort of feedback can only make both of us better writers. If you would be interested in being an early reader on the next book, we'd appreciate your feedback. If not, we certainly understand. 

Imagine my surprise to find out the reviewer was actually one of the first screenwriters considered by our producers for the movie version of the book. Seems once he was passed over in favor of another screenwriter, he started his smear campaign to discredit the book. His original email to the producers read:

Thought the book was a fun read. I have quite a few ideas that we can discuss when we both return from our trips. Look forward to being a part of this.

So, the next time this screenwriter—or you—decide to post a smear campaign against a former or future employer, try these instead:

  • Take a big breath and don’t do anything at first.
  • Then, take a walk. Or run. Or throw something. Or yell in the backyard.
  • Ask where you went wrong and what you could have done better.
  • Follow up with a handwritten thank-you note for their time.
  • Move on.

If you don’t, as they say in show business, "You’ll never work in this town again."

Dayna Steele is a serial entrepreneur, success speaker, and the author of the forthcoming book 101 Ways to Rock Your World: Everyday Activities for Success Every Day based on the crazy, viral Fast Company Expert Leader blog post 5 Things To Do Every Day For Success. Follow her on Twitter @daynasteele. She has been looking for a reason to fit the word "snarky" into a post for some time now.

[Image: Debbie Turner via Geograph]

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