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The Importance of Not Burning Bridges in the Defence Industry

By Kinexus on 15 June 2017

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The Australian Defence Industry is about to experience unprecedented growth over the coming decade due to increased Government spend; with the majority of our major platforms being either replaced or significantly upgraded and changing technology to counter new and emerging threats.

This will create a lot of opportunities and present people with more career/employment options than they’ve had in a long while, particularly when demand starts to outweigh supply. This is an opportunity you can seize and make the most of, but conducting yourself in the correct manner and with respect is as vital as ever.

Essentially, ours is a small community and reputations do go a long way. You never know who you may work for or with again in the future and therefore not burning bridges is important.

Some situations to be aware of:

BEHAVIOUR AT THE TIME OF AND AFTER RESIGNING
An amicable split is ideal. You could be in the middle of an important project milestone or being bid in to a client for future work. I’d recommend making your boss/employer aware of your situation as soon as you can to assist them in making alternative plans, also where possible agreeing on an end date that works for all parties concerned. The tendency can be to slack off a bit and take your foot off the pedal during your notice period, but again, I’d recommend working as hard as you always have, to leave a good impression and also handing over any work in a manageable way.

CONTRACTING
Contracts come in various lengths and models (i.e time and materials and deliverable based). Where possible completing the contract you are currently undertaking is advisable, particularly if it is at a critical stage on a project. It won’t take too many broken contracts before you develop a reputation and word gets around, this will likely make prospective employers wary and potentially consider you too much of a risk to employ. Contracting can be rewarding in many ways but a positive reputation is critical for gaining regular contracts.

APPLYING FOR A JOB
If you are applying for a job it’s important to be committed to that job application and aware of what you are actually applying for. I do not recommend turning up to an interview for a job that you are not interested in, committed to, or prepared to progress with, as you will only be wasting the employer and your time; therefore ultimately damaging your brand.

TURNING DOWN A JOB OFFER
People with in-demand skills and good reputations will definitely have options for employment in the future and it’s not inconceivable that multiple employers will be after your services at the same time. This can be a tricky scenario and sometimes out of your control as to how employers will act, but it’s imperative to conduct yourself in the right way to try and avoid burning any bridges. Communication is key here. Communicate as much as you can during the interview and offer processes, evaluate all employment proposals, select the role that best fits your needs, then communicate with everyone involved.

GENERAL CONDUCT
When opportunities are plentiful, it’s likely you are constantly being monitored or assessed by people for a promotion or new role somewhere. In the Defence Industry, there aren’t too many degrees of separation and you will either be known or someone will have access to someone that knows of you. Therefore, it’s critical that your quality of work and conduct is of the highest standard. This applies in your everyday workplace, when you are representing your company at an event or meeting, and when you are looking for new work.

The next decade should be constant and busy for all of us in defence. Now is the time to start thinking about how you can make the most of it. Having a good reputation, great attitude, and consciously not burning bridges will help significantly.

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