Bearly Accurate – Common Career Conundrums: “It’s okay to let a professional relationship end badly — I’ll never see that person again!”

“Don’t burn your bridges.” This is one piece of advice my mom told me growing up that has really resonated with me. It is relevant in so many different situations… but what exactly does it mean?

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Everywhere we go, we make connections. These connections are valuable and should be treasured, especially since you never know who you’ll encounter in the future. We meet people everywhere who have the potential to become lifelong friends, study partners, mentors, co-workers, counselors, physicians, bosses, etc. These connections are important and help us expand our networks.

However, relationships are not always easy to maintain and can sometimes turn sour. This is where the “don’t burn your bridges” mentality comes into play. Whatever happens, you should make amends or end relationships on amiable terms. You never know if and how this individual may re-enter your life, whether through mutual friends, as a co-worker, on a date with his/her best friend, or even as your interviewer for a job… you just never know.

This concept is also particularly relevant in professional work environments. So when you are at your internship (or future job) this summer, make sure to maintain a positive relationship with everybody you encounter. For example, your boss may ask others in the office for input when evaluating your overall performance or writing you a letter of recommendation. Make sure that you are a reliable and responsible individual. If a conflict arises, be able to communicate openly and honestly. It is important to handle situations maturely, regardless of where you are working.

Working at the Career Center this past year, I have learned that recruiters from different companies know and talk to one another; after all, they frequently attend the same events. To avoid being labeled as the not-so-stellar intern, complete your responsibilities in a timely manner and be courteous to all you meet in your professional and personal life.

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