Don't Burn Bridges - Build Them

November 4th, 2010 2 Min read Don't Burn Bridges - Build Them Blog
I've been tracking the story of Steven Slater and it isn't difficult, he's all over the news. If you don't recognize the name right off you probably will when I mention he is the Jet Blue guy. You know, the flight attendant that after a long day and a tough shift went crazy on a customer and walked off the job. When this story broke, Mr. Slater was being touted as a "working class hero." The guy who finally told the customer how he really felt then called it quits. Many of you may have fantasized about telling an annoying patient how we feel or telling an over demanding colleague or boss to take a hike. Those feelings are normal, but before you act on that feeling, keep Mr. Slater in mind. He's still in the news, but not in a good way. He's no longer the hero, he's now the guy no company would touch with a ten-foot pole. On a bad day, we may be convinced that we would never go back to an employer who treats us badly. The fact is, it is likely most of us will return to a previous employer or at a minimum we'll cross paths with former coworkers. In fact, a Careerbuilder survey earlier this year found that 57% of surveyed job seekers who found work again after being laid off went back to former employers. Think Mr. Slater has that option? Probably not. The healthcare staffing business is not immune. Long work hours, low reimbursement, staff shortages, competing demands and lack of coordination are enough to put even the most calm and mild mannered healthcare provider over the edge. The research shows that acting out in frustration often makes us more frustrated. Acting in a collected and professional manner may actually make us feel less stressed about a situation. And remember, the anger you feel will fade over time but the impression you leave will last long after you, your patient or co-worker leave. People talk. Employers make it common practice to reach out to others in their organization that may have crossed paths with a prospective candidate to find out what they know. If you are remembered as the person who yelled at the charge nurse in the heat of the moment, threw a chair through the office window after an involuntary separation or had a patient complain to the CEO about your tone - it is a good bet that prospective employer will PAs on your CV. Have you been asked to provide a reference on someone who's lost their cool in the office? How did you handle it?