So you lost a gig. Maybe your client felt you weren’t a good fit. Maybe she ran out of funding or maybe it was you who wasn’t feeling the job. Does that mean you should go openly badmouthing your former employer all over Twitter or the forums? Does that mean you should ignore this former clients emails and questions? No. No, it doesn’t.
You may be unhappy with the present circumstances, but burning bridges doesn’t do anyone any good. Before you start talking smack about the people you used to work for, consider this:
5 Reasons Not to Burn Your Bridges
1. Your Client May Be Back in Business One Day
If your client had to let you go or take a break because his funding ran out, that doesn’t mean he has no intention of using you again in the future. That money may begin flowing again soon. By burning your bridges, you’re erasing the possibility of him contacting you once he’s back in a position to hire your services.
2. Your Client May Want to Recommend You to Others
If you did a good job for your client and parted on good terms, she may want to recommend you to others. If she doesn’t trust you anymore, this won’t happen. Every future client has the ability to recommend you to another client or two and so on, don’t blow it by saying or doing things you may regret.
3. You May Need that Client One Day
What happens when you need a job recommendation or testimonial? If you’re bashing your former clients on your blog and it’s not pretty, they’re not going to want to put in a good word for you.
4. No One Wants to Hang Around with Mr. Grumpy
Self explanatory, really.
5. It May Turn Off a Potential Client
Why would any potential client want to hire someone who is indiscreet or saying unkind things about the people he has worked for before? Before you bash a client, keep in mind that words do stay online forever and they can come back to haunt you.
Bad feelings happen, it’s only natural and writing is a good release. Before you fire off angry missives and hit “enter” or “send”, think about what you’re doing and how it will affect your future.
When you burn bridges you’re not hurting your client as much as you’re hurting yourself.
Jonathan Cohen says
On the other hand…bad clients tend to bet on freelancers relying on those five reasons you wrote about. If nobody brings a bad client to somebody else’s attention, aren’t they just compounding the problem by letting them off scot-free?