The other day a new friend, a colleague, was driving me from the airport and we had to cross a bridge. She hesitated in her speech, looking flustered. She then revved up the car. She turned to me and noted she hated bridges. Rather, she hated driving across bridges.
I told her it would be ok and I appreciated her effort. I didn’t ask her why she hated bridges. I figured she would tell me if she wanted or needed to. We got through the bridge and we’re back on our merry way. Well, as merry as one can be in bumper to bumper traffic. To me, that state of crowded highways is more unnerving. I will admit something to you here. I don’t drive which is a good thing for everyone as I believe I would get some bad cases of road rage. Because I do not drive, I am doing a public service for all. Can I get a hero tag?
Her fear got me thinking about bridges. I have traveled throughout the world and have been on sturdy bridges, tall bridges, iconic bridges such as the Golden Gate Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge and rickety bridges in the middle of nowhere. They can be scary in rural town at night and they can be thrilling.
I love getting on bridges as they can showcase a community. They are also very poignant now as our country and the world is so readily divided. We need bridges or rather bridgers to bring differing sides together. Sadly, it almost seems like no one wants to serve as a bridge.
The cable news channels these days no longer offer insightful coverage or news analysis. they offer debates where a news anchor just sits back and lets crazy people scream at each other for a minute or two. Psychological research does show that the more a person professes an opinion the more rooted (stuck) in it they become. How can we move forward as a society when people are becoming more and more entrenched in divisive thoughts, actions and conversations (rather screaming matches). I do not see how school children can ever stop having schoolyard fights when we gleefully highlight fights (which should be debates) on a daily and at times hourly basis. Its a scorched earth mentality out there these days. I see this a bit in the workplace these days as well.
My workplace mantra has always been “start on on good terms and leave on good terms.” Yet, more and more people are choosing to leave on either a take them all down mentality or a “they will truly miss me when I am gone” orientation. Neither one is helpful for moving forward unless you plan to leave your field entirely and I mean completely. Have you heard of six degrees of separation? Well, the world, now through social media, is even smaller than that. Think hard about how you exit your workplace for there are bound to be individuals that know one of your past colleagues. Recently, the gossip pages were all a flutter because a People Magazine writer widely circulated her resignation letter that was basically a tell all in terms of how horrible at her workplace was. I sure hope she already had another job lined up that can’t fire her before she starts. I read the letter, and I have to say, it wasn’t even that good. If you are going to go scorched earth, really burn everything down. Otherwise, don’t bother. Life is too short to burn bridges. Instead consider being a bridge. This earth needs more of those.