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How Not to Burn Bridges When the Employment Relationship Ends

Employment relationships are constantly in flux and the bigger the business, the more frequently employees will be joining and leaving the company. From an employer’s perspective, an employee leaving for a different job is not necessarily a bad thing, but certain employee behavior can burn the proverbial bridge no matter who ended the relationship.

Some of the behaviors that employers look favorably on when the relationship ends include:

  • Accept the employer’s severance package
  • Cooperate with your employer in order to make the transition seamless
  • Refrain from discussing the end of the employment relationship until details have been worked out and negotiated
  • Avoid making emotional decisions – take a step back, breath, and think before you take action that could be detrimental to you and your employer.

On the other hand, some behaviors are surefire ways to ruin your relationship with your former employer:

  • Negotiate in an overly aggressive manner
  • Be unrealistic in your severance package expectations
  • Provide little or no notice, if you are the one ending the relationship
  • Do not assist in the transition
  • Blast your employer and coworkers publicly, whether it be verbally or on social media
  • Quibble and argue over minutia in your severance
  • Attempt to “get back” at your employer or coworkers by making their lives more difficult
  • Threaten litigation

The most important characteristic in the end of any employment relationship should be professionalism from both the employee and the employer. A smooth, professional change in the employment relationship is best for both the employee and the employer. The employer is more likely to act as a reference and assist in the employee’s future job searches and the employer benefits with better employee morale, more time to plan, and (generally) a smaller legal bill.

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