Sunday, May 26, 2013

Not Burning Employment Bridges

While I didn’t always love the work involved at my old jobs, I always worked hard at it and did my best to respect my employers.  I wasn’t the best of friends with every director or department head I ever had, but I worked at living up to, and in many cases, exceeding their expectations, and I always tried to respect them as superiors.  I guess this is part of why I was already hired back by one employer after leaving for a promotion elsewhere.

Beyond just working my tail off for my employers, there are other reasons why I’m welcome back at previous employers.

Training a Replacement
In two out of the three situations in which I left my employer during my hotel career, I trained my replacement before I left.  This at first might not seem like a big deal, but having a person who can do this rather than just leave or who isn’t trustworthy enough to let train their replacement can be a big advantage to an employer.

And not only did I train them, but I trained them correctly and in one case, even offered to come back and help out if any unexpected issues arose or my replacement was having trouble.  Such willingness to make the transition for my replacement and my employer as seamless as possible went a long way in having them look favorably upon me once I was gone.  In fact, I even returned to one employer several years later in a better position.

“Owner’s Expectations”
One of the first general managers I had in the hotel business, promoted “owner’s expectations” as one of his main management principles.  It is really a quite simple rule, but it is amazing to me how many employees fail to follow it, and therefore fail in the workplace.

Owner’s expectations promoted employees understanding their superior’s or superiors’ main “hot points” if you will.  Knowing what was most important to the boss, and making it most important to me, allowed me to succeed in their eyes.  I made their objectives my objectives, and therefore did my best to keep happy the ones who had the power to form my success.

Polite Resignations Letters
Whenever I left a role or employer, I ensured that I did so in the most polite and business-like manner I could.  One step in this process involved writing a polite, gracious, and appreciative resignation letter.  Just shooting out an email or leaving my intentions on voicemail wasn’t going to cut it if I wanted to leave in good standing.  Therefore, I took time to form, read, re-read, consider, and possibly re-write my resignation letters to ensure that they were looked upon in a positive light.  This was especially important when moving to a different hotel within the same chain, as my employee file would likely follow me.

Continued Contact
While over the years the number of people from previous employers who I stay in contact with has dwindled, as has the frequency of that contact, this doesn’t mean that I still don’t make an effort.  I find that an occasional phone call or email between myself and those with whom I was closest, not only allows us to catch up on old times, but keeps me informed of the situation at those previous employers as well as any opportunities that may arise.


  1. This is something to keep in mind. The wrong way is to burn your bridges and leave a bad taste behind.