Leaving your job is a big decision. Whether it’s due to dissatisfaction or the desire for greater career opportunities, how you leave will have a lasting impact on your future prospects.

If you are leaving for negative reasons, don’t make the mistake of thinking this is your big chance to set some people straight that have caused you grief over the years. Burning bridges is never beneficial and it could come back to bite you when you least expect it!

Think you’ve got the next job in your pocket? Wait until they call upon your last employer for a job reference. You may discover they are not so eager to hire someone who left an aftermath of unfinished projects and offended coworkers behind. Here’s a better course of action: Hold your tongue, finish up important projects and assist in the transition process. In so doing, you will demonstrate the kind of professionalism that demands respect and underscores your value.

References not enough to keep you from unleashing years of repressed unhappiness out on your boss? Don’t underestimate the power of social media to expose it! What you say and how you act will be remembered—it is not confined to the four walls of your soon-to-be ex-employer. Social media has expanded the boundaries of professional networking and made it easy to identify someone that knows someone in the industry. If you have burned bridges and behaved unprofessionally toward a former colleague or supervisor, it could hinder future career opportunities.

You also have to consider the obvious: People who work in the same industry tend to run in similar circles throughout their career. It’s not uncommon for a previous coworker to reappear as a potential client or worse, your new supervisor. Though it may be years later, it can resurface and make life miserable for you.

So, if you have decided it’s time to part ways with your employer, don’t burn any bridges in the process. Determine to leave on a positive note and graciously move on to greener pastures!