6 ways to avoid sabotaging your career with burned bridges

We’ve all had those days when we want to yell at our boss, quit, and storm out of the office. But burning bridges isn’t the best way to build your career, and chances are you’ll probably regret how you handled it.

Even if it is time to leave for new opportunities, you’ll usually be better off looking for a job when you still have a job. After accepting a position where you can be truly happy, you can put in your two-week notice and say good-bye to your boss and co-workers without damaging those relationships.

The challenge is keeping your cool when your frustration level with your job is off the charts.

Here are some tips for avoiding a meltdown your office will be talking about for years.

1. Call an understanding friend or your spouse to get your concerns off your chest.

Instead of sending your boss an angry email or storming into his office, tell someone you trust first. Just talking about it usually helps you feel better. (However, don’t complain excessively to your co-workers, which can create a toxic environment.)

2. Take a mental health day.

After a really bad day at work, consider calling in sick and taking a “mental health day” the next day. This shouldn’t be a regular occurrence, but if you know you would probably quit or explode at your boss if you go to work, you’re probably better off staying home.

3. Go to a therapist.

Venting to spouses and friends can be cathartic, but they’re not therapists. If you need more support, consider seeing a therapist. It’s not a sign of weakness and doesn’t make you “crazy.”

4. Keep a diary, or write a letter to your boss.

Writing about your feelings can be an amazing release. If you like writing, try maintaining a diary to write about your workplace frustrations. You could also write a letter to your boss on your home computer, but never send it.

5. Wait until calming down before sending an email.

Hitting “send” when you’re fuming is usually a bad idea. Some experts recommend setting it aside for 24 hours before sending. At the very least, read your email before sending it and ask yourself if everything in it is respectful and professional.

6. Don’t be disrespectful.

As in any personal relationships, tone is key. If you need to address concerns you have, avoid accusatory and inflammatory language and state plainly what the concern is in a non-judgmental manner.

In career and life, relationships are everything. Don’t burn bridges with an employer by behaving unprofessionally.

This article by Kelly Donovan first appeared on Tim’s Strategy.