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October 3, 2011

~By Erica Davis

So you finally got that job offer you have been waiting for. You gave your notice at your current job, they have accepted your resignation, and now it is time to party, right? For the next two weeks you are going to let it all hang out. You are going to speak your mind, you are not going to take garbage off of anyone and it is finally payback time! You can barely wait for the exit interview so you can tell your boss the meaning of micro-management with a mirror and you will do a burnout in the parking lot as you flip the old job the bird!

Now, before you commit career suicide, you should know that “It’s A Small World” doesn’t just refer to a ride at Disney World. It truly is a small world and you will not have to go far before you find someone at your new job that knows someone who knows someone at your old job. While it might be tempting to leave your old job in a blaze of glory and give the office gossip something to talk about for the next year, if you value your career you should think twice about burning those bridges.

It does not take making an epic scene as you exit your existing job for greener pastures for word to get around that you are abrasive, non-loyal, ungrateful, and even downright crazy. No matter if you work in a highly professional and targeted career or even your run of-the-mill business, leaving your old job on anything other than good terms can come back to haunt you.

Even if you are tempted to kick back and relax over the next two weeks, think about how that will affect your coworkers and your image as you wrap things up at your present job. Coworkers are not bound by anything that would keep them from telling anyone about how you became lazy and rude once you did not need your present job any longer. Your employer will also be keeping a close eye on you as your final days dwindle down to make sure that you are staying loyal to the company and not hurting company morale. Sometimes, if you have not had the best track record at your present job you might even be asked to leave once you give your notice, so it is best to be watching your P’s and Q’s well in advance of when you might be looking for other employment opportunities, especially if you presently live paycheck to paycheck. Can you afford to go without a paycheck for two weeks, or longer?

You also might want to think of it this way. Let’s just say that your new job does not work out. It has been known to happen! What if you do not make the first 30-, 60-, or 90-day probationary period or there are sudden budget cuts needed and you are let go from your new job? Leaving your old job on good terms with your employer might enable you to come back to your old job in a pinch. What if you wind up falling into a position that is even worse than your present job and you decide to go job hunting again? With the job market as unpredictable as it is these days, job security is a thing of the past and with you being the first hired you will likely be the first fired if the wind blows the wrong way and your new job is still a bit of an unknown when it comes to your future happiness in your career.

Even if things do work out stellar with your new job there might come a day when you wish to seek employment opportunities elsewhere. You are not going to simply leave out your last employer, are you? You might think that they are not allowed to say anything derogatory about you when someone calls to verify past employment but you should know that there are many ways of skirting around this and letting a prospective employer know that you were a handful without saying so. Your past employer’s tone of voice could torpedo any future job opportunities that you might ever think of getting and a disrespected employer is worse than a scorned lover because they can literally destroy your ability to find gainful employment, thanks to your brash attitude.

While all of us talk about it and dream of what we’d like to do in our last days at a job that has grown tiresome, leave those fantasies for if, I mean WHEN, you win the lottery. I hear the jackpot is up to 37 million but unfortunately for you, I just bought the winning ticket!

So, keep your cool, do your job as well if not better than you did throughout your tenure at your present job, and wish all that you worked with well as you move to your new job. After all, the best revenge is to be successful and with a winning attitude, success in your new job is a sure thing.