My core belief in life is ”Work hard and be nice to people”, but I have a second thing that regulates the first one: never burn a bridge.
I can’t even count the amount of times where people have come back to me—sometimes years later—and asked me to do some work for them. Sometimes those people come back to Genius Division to design them a website after they’ve gone to another agency.
This is a popular thing that happens in the web design industry. Somebody will collect 3 quotes, often go with the cheapest agency, and not like the results. They’ll then go out and try and acquire another agency.
Because we’re always nice to them and keep our doors open, we’re often the agency that people come back to. Once they come back to us they never usually leave, because we keep working hard and we’re always nice.
Sometimes they’ll have been an opportunity for me to be angry with them, to have told them to go forth and fornicate, but I decided not to. I decided to be nice to them, even if they weren’t nice to me.
The only thing that stops me from burning a bridge is this knowledge that things always come back around. The same goes for grudges: I never hold them.
I nearly always keep my bridges unburnt. Sometimes the people who have previously pissed me off years ago become good friends and business partners years later.
Unless you’re Doctor Who, you never know where things might lead in the future. When time has passed and the dust has settled you’re never as angry about that thing as you were 4 years ago.
People nearly always come back around, and it’s always useful to remember that.