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Ghosting is a topic that has been discussed ad nauseam on this site since it first became popularized in the era of Tinder and other dating apps. We’ve also seen this practice spread to the job world, as employers have taken to ghosting applicants mid-way through the interview process. But, unbelievably, this has progressed even further.
According to The Washington Post, employees have begun “ghosting their employers like bad dates.” That’s right, you heard me proper people. Workers. People hired for a company and getting paid actual money for their labor. They’re just straight up leaving work one day, not showing up the next day, and never contacting their boss again.
I honestly couldn’t believe when I read some of these passages. Like I would understand people ghosting out of interviews in this more mobile and employee-friendly job market. I wouldn’t advise it, it’s still an unprofessional, trash move, but I would get it. People get busy, overwhelmed, it can be easy to not respond to an interview request.
But if you’ve already interviewed, if you get offered the job, if you get the job? No, no fucking excuse. You have to at least have the courtesy to fire off a quick text or e-mail to the boss saying “no thanks” or “I quit.”
This isn’t about protecting these poor companies. I’m all about screwing “the man” after multiple years of job searching while getting no response, dick-ish responses, or, worse, a terrible job. I get the instinct, that these companies don’t owe you anything and they’ve acted like it for years, so turnabout is fair play. Totally understand.
But this isn’t about them, this is about you. You may not owe those companies anything, but you owe yourself and your career prospects something. Ghosting out of a job is a career killer if you want to work in a remotely similar field. No matter what the field, no matter if you’re moving across the country, people talk. Your reputation follows you and eventually being known as the guy who left his job and never came back will kill you. Just take a look at some excerpts from this piece:
“A number of contacts said that they had been ‘ghosted,’ a situation in which a worker stops coming to work without notice and then is impossible to contact,” the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago noted in December’s Beige Book, which tracks employment trends.
I’ve always said that ghosting is fine when it comes to dating in situations where neither side feels invested and there is sort of a mutual understanding that this wasn’t going to be a wrong term thing. That’s the reason you don’t expect employers to follow up with you within a week of submitting your application and why it’s not a big deal if that girl you went out with twice stops returning your texts. This is not that.
Ghosting out of a job is like ghosting out after you and a girl agree to become exclusive. It’s not doable, it’s stupid, it’s uncouth. That employer and that girl have a right to an explanation as to what happened to you because they have invested their time and energy into training you (except in the girl case where…no you know what training is still accurate).
As for being “impossible to contact,” that’s just plain a wuss move by anyone. If you’re quitting a job, be a fucking adult and tell your boss. Lie if you have to, say you’re moving across the country, whatever. It’s corporate America, where everyone talks shit to people they hate working with through the big smile they flash that same asshole.
Applicants blow off interviews. New hires turn into no-shows. Workers leave one evening and never return.
No, no, and fuck no. Blowing off an interview, without even giving an explanation, is pure laziness. You can get away with not going to an interview, and not providing advanced notice because you got a new job. That’s a shitty thing to do, but you can salvage it by at least touching base after the fact, let them know you’re sorry and it was because you got another offer. It’s still not the right and professional move, and you’ll be on a blacklist for that employer, but it’s not going to annihilate all your career prospects.
Getting hired for a new job and not showing up, that’s a lot harder to justify. You’ve taken the job, you’ve filled out your W-2 form, and most importantly you signed a contract. As a lawyer, let me tell you: just not fulfilling your contractual obligations can get you in some pretty hot water. Yes, most states are at-will employees meaning you can terminate at any time, but still, you should have enough decency to give someone a reason why you’re breaking an agreement you signed with them.
Finally, as discussed above, a worker leaving one evening to never return is the height of unprofessionalism. Even worse than microwaving fish in the communal kitchen. You’ve not only left your company high and dry, but all your work is going to be passed on to your hapless co-workers, as they struggle to do your work and theirs until a replacement can be found. Two weeks notice exists for that very reason, so employers can plan out the next phase after you leave, rather than scrambling to see if you died.
Over the summer, he heard from clients emerged in his own life. A job candidate for a recruiter role asked for a day to mull over an offer, saying she wanted to discuss the terms with her spouse.
Then she halted communication.
“In fairness,” Howarth said, “there are some folks who might have so many opportunities they’re considering they honestly forget.”
As someone who spent months grinding the application and interview process, let me play a song on the world’s smallest violin for those people who get so overwhelmed with job opportunities that they forget to reply on existing offers. Must be so tough swimming in your piles of money since the money pool won’t finish construction until next week. Fuck you, no one just forgets that someone offered them a job. You might forget to return an e-mail offering you an interview, but if you’ve met with an employer, interviewed, and followed up with them, there’s no chance you forgot when they finally do drop some money. These people are cowards.
“We generally make two offers for every job because somebody doesn’t show up,” said Rebecca Henderson, chief executive of Randstad Sourceright, a talent acquisition firm.
This is how companies adapt, by taking steps that screw other potential employees because a few of us were so goddamn greedy and selfish we can’t have a shred of decency or integrity to make the employment process work somewhat easily. I mean, how awful would you feel if you were unemployed, going on interview after interview, finally getting a job, and on day one you show up and your boss points to another guy at the desk you were going to be taking and saying “this is Steve. We, uh, didn’t think he’d take the job so we offered it to you too, but since he’s here…you’re gonna have to go home.”
A few of his staffers were college students who lived in park dormitories for the summer.
“My favorite,” he said, “was a kid who left a note on the floor in his dorm room that said ‘sorry bros, had to ghost.’ ”
Someone who ghosts doesn’t say they’re going to ghost. By giving notice that you’re ghosting, you negate the ability to ghost. It’s like getting up in the middle of the party and shouting “I’m Irish goodbyeing now!” That’s not how it works.
Zach Keel, a 26-year-old server in Austin, made the call last year to flee a Texas bar-slash-cinema after realizing he would have to clean the place until sunrise.
Oh, fuck all this guy. He worked at a bar-slash-cinema and left because he realized he might have to clean for a while? Newsflash dude, at my first job I had to clean an ice rink for hours after it closed. I was 16 and I did that shit because if I understood that sometimes you have to do hard, menial labor that you don’t want to do if you want money. You’re ten years older than I was, and you still don’t appear to have grasped that concept.
More work, he calculated, was always around the corner.
I’m sorry my jaw just dropped onto the floor so hard I think I knocked five teeth out. More work is around the corner at this job, so fuck it I’m out? That is literally every job in the world. As a lawyer, I don’t just win one case and then everyone says “perfect, you’re done forever. Here’s the yearly salary forever and have a nice life.” Good luck to him finding something where there won’t be more work around the corner.
“I didn’t call,” Keel said. “I didn’t show up. I figured: No point in feeling guilty about something that wasn’t that big of an issue. Turnover is so high, anyway.”
“I figured, no point in feeling guilty about stealing all that money from the bank,” the robber said. “More money will get printed, anyway, it’s not that big of an issue.” Of all the reasons to justify not quitting, the fact that they’ll just hire someone else has to be the stupidest of them all.
Someone who feels invested in an enterprise is less likely to bounce, write Melissa and Johnathan Nightingale, co-authors of “How F*cked Up Is Your Management?: An uncomfortable conversation about modern leadership.”
“Employees leave jobs that suck,” they said in an email. “Jobs where they’re abused. Jobs where they don’t care about the work. And the less engaged they are, the less need they feel to give their bosses any warning.”
Again, I get this. If a job is abusive, pays poorly, and destroys your psyche, you should quit at the first chance you get (read, the first job that gives you an offer). Even in this case, though, don’t just not show up one day. Be a man (or woman) and do the right thing: drop your pants mid-call with a conference, tell your boss to kiss your ass, and walk out pantsless, middle fingers extended until security hauls you out. I’d rather be the guy who goes down making a scene than just vanishing. At least you can respect someone going out in a blaze of glory. .
[via The Washington Post]