Best career advice ever – don’t burn bridges

It’s easy to say, but not always easy to do. I’ve tried to not burn any bridges as I’ve wound my way through my career. This has included working at agency that started small and grew until it was acquired, then leaving to go to a startup agency that cratered, going in-house to a networking start-up founded and run by one of my best friends (and getting laid-off on my honeymoon as the company shut down), going to Apple, leaving Apple and working for Apple’s former PR firm and leaving there to start my own firm.

It sounds like a lot, but it really wasn’t.  The thing is, along the way, I was hired everywhere by people I had worked for or with in the past.  When I started my career at Alexander Communications (which became Alexander/Ogilvy and now just Ogilvy PR) I was an intern. About two years after completing the intern program and becoming an employee, I became the intern program coordinator. One of the first interns I managed in that role was Nicole Jordan.

A few years later, I was hired by a former colleague from Alexander at Apple, where one of the staffers on our agency team was…..Nicole Jordan who was now working at Edelman.  Eventually, Apple brought all of their US PR work in house and let Edelman go.  After a few years at Apple, our family made the decision to leave Silicon Valley and the Bay Area (believe me, not an easy decision with my wife having grown up in Saratoga and me in Marin) and move to El Dorado Hills, outside Sacramento. I began interviewing for positions in Sacramento, and made the decision to tell my supervisor at Apple what I was doing and why and give my notice, before I found a new job. Maybe not the best financial decision, but I didn’t want to be sneaking around and leave on a bad note.

After contracting for a little VoIP company that was launching (Skype) I was hired by Edelman in Sacramento. Since this was a public affairs focused office and I was at the time mostly a technology kind of guy, my being hired was greatly influenced by the input of people with whom I had worked before.

This is a bit of long, rambling way to say that no matter what your industry, it’s an incredibly small world, and getting smaller.  Do all you can to not burn bridges. The impetus for this thought right now was a great post, by…yes, Nicole Jordan. She now runs communications for the Rubicon Project down in Los Angeles.  Her post reminded me of this advice, and my post is to remind myself.

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3 thoughts on “Best career advice ever – don’t burn bridges

  1. Very sound advice. The story of your career also happens to be the founding idea behind LinkedIn. Well put.

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