Fireproof bridges

Did you ever have that girlfriend or boyfriend that you just couldn’t seem to stay broken up with when you were younger? Well, I’m beginning to see a parallel in the workplace.

I got talking with a friend who leads some of our new-hire training today and he mentioned to me that when we lose new-hires to other jobs, its almost always to their old employer. As I pondered that, I bumped into another old friend who had just returned to the company after working elsewhere!

You know the drill. A company offers you a job, and you think you’ve won the lottery. You take your job on romantic carriage rides and take closeup pictures of the two of you with your digital camera. After a while, the romance wanes but you’re happy not being on the market, searching Monster for available hotties. Pretty soon, you can’t figure out how this slouch of a job ever earned your affection in the first place and you are just certain that there’s truckloads of hot prospects waiting for you to become free. Ah, romance.

But who am I to talk? I was an intern at our company in college and then left after the summer. I came back the next summer and left again. Then I came back as a contractor, finally got hired, only to leave the company five years later to go back to school. Then, you guessed it, I came back to the company less than a year after getting my MBA. The lessons in all of this?

I learned two. First, our capacity for taking our employers for granted is pretty darned high. The cliche is often true – it’s not always sunnier on the other side of the street.  Second, it’s best not to burn your bridge because you might find yourself doing an about-face as you take that last step off of it.

James tells us in James 3 that, “the tongue is a flame of fire” that can set those bridges ablaze. Being thankful and keeping our tongue in check is key.  Paul tells his friends in the Colossian church in Col 3:16-17,

“Let the words of Christ, in all their richness, live in your hearts and make you wise… And whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus, all the while giving thanks through him to God the Father.”

Yep, that should pretty much keep us out of trouble.

2 Responses

  1. Another reminder that the tongue is a potent instrument and needs to be under control.

  2. I’ve seen some co-workers burn their bridges on the way out. Sometimes I was not surprised but sometimes I just scratched my head and wondered what they were thinking. The problem is when you are dealing with an emotional situation, it is easy to not stop and think how God wants us to handle it.

    Great reminder to keep Christ’s words in our heart so we’re not taken off guard in those unexpected emotional situations where we act with our heart and not our head.

    Thanks Ryan.

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