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  • Nick Powills

Ghosting in the Workplace, Are You Kidding Me?

Updated: Feb 10, 2019

In a world that’s afraid of productive communication or constructive criticism, it is much easier to just quit, cut off communication and walk away.

By now, one of two things has happened. You have either heard about ghosting in the workplace or you have participated. Either way – WTF.

Ghosting has been around in dating forever. In a world that’s afraid of productive communication or constructive criticism, it is much easier to just quit, cut off communication and walk away.

Our office was ghosted only twice (I can’t believe I am writing “only”). There have been a few who quit without another job lined up or quit with seconds’ notice (the true FU to business), but ghosting – it’s incredibly brutal. Both instances took place nearly 10 years ago.

The first time we were ghosted, our employee just didn’t show up. They were there the day before, seemingly happy, and then they were gone. So, what did we do? Naturally, concerned for their safety, we called the police. Not immediately, but after the phone went straight to voicemail throughout the morning and early afternoon. We called the police and expressed that we were concerned. One of their teammates even contemplated going to their home, but paused, because of our collective fear for safety.

The police went to check on our teammate, only to report back she answered the door and said she was okay, but she didn’t care to go to work anymore. That simple.

The second case of ghosting was similar, but they wanted to make a change and didn’t want to have a conversation about it.

Being on the other side of ghosting both times sucked – primarily because the human care side was stronger than the frustrated part.

But, it happened. And we learned from it.

My fear with the burning of a business bridge, however, is that it is burned often by those with little work experience. It is burned by those who don’t think about the long road ahead. It is burned without a future vision.

My fear is that in a good economy, bad behavior can be rewarded with another gig. In a bad economy, though, bad behavior is not rewarded. The fact is, in the ghost’s future, there will be another bad economy. If they don’t correct those behaviors before then, they will be a statistic as a part of the unemployed.

Logic would tell me that I will never live in a world of peace and fairness. It’s just the way the world works. But, I feel like if bridge burning was just slightly improved, it would make relationships much better upon exit. Doors would be open, pleasantries would be shared and Glassdoor would file for bankruptcy.

I know, it’s a pipedream that ghosts will come out of hiding and behave like “adults”, but, this ghosting is crap.

Unfortunately, this is probably not the worst term that will hit the business world. I am sure there are other nasties that will travel from the dating world to the business world.

But, at the end of the day, you, me and good people should continue to do our best to be good. Because in the end, niceness should extinguish a burning bridge.

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