Following graduation from my first degree, I had three jobs in a year before giving up on the working world and moving onto my masters. To say I burnt bridges is an understatement. I had a job offer rescinded because I wasn’t prepared to be treated badly in the workplace. People weren’t happy with me and considering there was no other job lined up I did doubt my life choices for a while but I ended up better off. I stood my ground, got a better job with nicer people and I genuinely liked it, I managed to leave on terms were pleasant enough to send a card this Christmas. I never got round to it, but the thought counts.
The main reason these working relationships went south so fast and so dramatically is because I didn’t address the issues in relationships when they started. HR are like professional fire fighters in the workplace and sometimes you have to do the same in your personal life. If you have the social aptitude to notice when a relationship is turning sour or isn’t healthy any more, it’s time for an intervention. That’s probably the time to deal with it, as in my experience the situation is so small there will hardly be any waves. Make it stop before its way too late. I could fill this article with funny anecdotes of all the disasters I’ve lived through because ironically I’ve not wanted a fuss, but by the end of it you’d probably come to the conclusion that I’m not ready to live as an adult. You’re probably right.
But ending relationships can be a difficult and delicate process; one that varies depending on what sort of relationship you have with them:
Unhealthy relationships are always difficult to kill, so before you approach any situation you have to be armed. Do you know the pros and cons of letting this person stick around? Chances are there are a fair few pros, which is why you’re pandering about the decision. Plan B then, perceive the consequences of the cons. Your personal identity is most important, and sometimes you’ve just got to take back control of your life. If you’ve decided it’s time to let go of that poison in your vein, then do it. Don’t bluntly declare, “You know what, I just don’t like you!” as I did in sixth form to a girl I famously didn’t get on with too well. That’s both harsh, unnecessary and resulted in a Facebook unfriending that survives to this very day.
You don’t need to hurt someone’s feelings to get them out of your life. Maybe you just need to start spending less time with them. Sometimes, no explanation is necessary. Then again, if the friend you’re letting go in the one who always does one too many MD bombs on nights out when you’re trying to reign it in for final year, then perhaps honesty is the best policy. You will have done nothing wrong if you’re both soft spoken, truthful and sensitive to their feelings whilst being assertive about your priorities. Friendships go both ways. Sometimes you could be a bad influence on someone else, and the same will apply. Dragging down the grades of your previous straight A student friend? Maybe see them a little less, hmm?
It really comes down to the social contract, and what’s expected of you and them. You owe your hairdresser nothing. It’s a service you’re paying for. If you’re not pleased with your hair, make them fix it – they might be offended for three seconds but you’re the one who has to walk around with that disgrace on your head for three weeks. Don’t befriend the help, you’re just a client to them and thinking there is anything more just complicates things. It would be nice to retain the pleasantries you have but when it’s time to move on, don’t worry about it. Are you going to say hello to your old hairdresser in the street a year later? Probably not.
The Christmas card list
I go by the Christmas card list. It’s old fashioned but it helps me keep my priorities straight. If we’re close enough for you to get on my coveted list then perhaps it will factor into my decision when going elsewhere but beyond professional courtesy, I’m not obliged to do anything else. It’s a bit brutal but it stops me feeling guilty: then I know that anything else I do is going above and beyond. If you have a regular appointment, you can either let the hairdresser know you’re trying something new. Donate your perfect lunchtime slot to the needy. You can avoid confrontation by telling the receptionist, but the most important thing is not to feel trapped. When I left my last job, it was a new situation for me and I felt a little bit out of control – what are the routines, how do I say goodbye? My previous experience of leaving jobs amounted to, “I’ve had enough of this, here’s my notice LOL.” This time around, things were different but I wanted maintain some authority over the situation. I did what made me feel comfortable. After all, these were wonderful people who I’d known a few months and had done only good to me.
If all else fails: cake!
I end this article with my final, tried and tested perfect solution. It works for literally every situation:
I bought in a giant cake, and had iced it with the message, “LATERS!” *
*rejected messages include ‘Sorry for your loss, I’m awesome’, ‘My deepest sympathies for your recent loss of ME’, and ‘later bitches, I’m out!’
Bad news? Say it with cake. Bitches love cake.
What do you think? What advice would you add? Have your say in the comments section below.