If my computer had worked on Day One at Wang, I would have used it to type up a resignation letter and high-tailed it out of there. Instead, I sucked it up and spent a miserable 2 years, 6 months, and 13 days there. I hated nearly everything about working at Wang: the miserable commute, the numbing bureaucracy, the shabby and dirty offices, the toilets that made me fear typhus, the Scrooge vacation days, the poorly lit parking lots, the distrust of employees, the travel policy from (and to) hell… Other than my colleagues, who were great, Wang was my absolute worst professional employment experience.
My worst non-professional employment experience was at the Valle’s Steakhouse on Route 9. My friend Joyce and I, just returned from a three month cross-country camping trip, were looking for a waitress gig to fund our next excursion: backpacking through Europe.
After a lunch shift at Valle’s, we went out to a late lunch at Friendly’s and looked at each other and began to laugh. No way we were going to hack it at Valle’s! I can’t remember exactly what set us off. It’s not as if we hadn’t had other wack waitress experiences. We were pros, with Union Oyster House and Durgin-Park on our resumes. Maybe it’s because Valle’s was tray service vs. the arm service we were used to. Maybe it was the petty rules. Maybe it was the head waitress. Maybe it was the bartender, the manager, the chefs. But we were in complete agreement that Valle’s wasn’t going to work.
We flipped a coin to see who was going to call in our resignation. I lost, and used the pay phone at Friendly’s to call the head waitress and tell her we were quitting. She was pissed, but, what the hell. It’s not as if we didn’t let them know. And we’d brought our own aprons with us.
Not bothering to quit, according to an article in the Washington Post, has become something of a trend.
“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.
National data on economic “ghosting” is lacking. The term, which normally applies to dating, first surfaced on Dictionary.com in 2016. But companies across the country say silent exits are on the rise. (Source: WaPo)
I don’t think ghosting in a dating situation is such a commendable thing to do. If you don’t want to break up F2F or on the phone, you can at least send a goodbye text (or, old school: email; or, old-schooler: Dear John letter).
Date ghosting reminds me of a scene my husband and I witnessed decades ago.
We were at the (old) Ritz Bar, and sitting near us was a fellow we recognized from our neighborhood. We didn’t know him, but had seen him around and written up in the local rag. He was in real estate, I believe, and a presence in the Beacon Hill social scene. Sitting with him was a woman, and we were close enough to figure out that they were on a first date.
She excused herself – we thought she was going to the ladies’ room – but then we saw her getting in a cab out front. Her date was facing away from the window, and he waited for quite a while before it dawned on him that his would-be GF wasn’t coming back to the table.
The least she could have done was make up some social lie: not feeling well or just remembered I left the iron on or whatever. In those days, there were no cell phones, so you couldn’t pretend to have received an emergency text. But you could always make something up that would allow your date to save face.
Anyway, date ghosting seems pretty poor behavior, especially given that non-ghosting is just a text away.
But ghosting your way out of a job seems to me like career suicide. Cities are small and networks are large. One would think word would get around.
But apparently it’s happening.
Applicants blow off interviews. New hires turn into no-shows. Workers leave one evening and never return.
I was never ghosted as a manager, but on two occasions, I put out emails welcoming a techie to a product team I was running, only to have the person up and quit after a day or two. I never blamed the person quitting. As with my Wang situation, you pretty much know from the get-go whether it’s going to work out or not. But I was always a little ticked that I’d put out an effusive and welcoming email…
Those studying the ghosting trend chalk it up to a healthy job market and the youth of the ghosters. Whatever it is that’s causing you to quit a job, unless the situation is really dangerous or threatening, it’s pretty simple to leave your manager some sort of message. You can always use the tried and true communications avoidance trick, and leave a voice mail at a time when no one’s gong to be at work – think 1 a.m. on a Saturday. (Unless you work in a bar.)
And this should be a two-way street.
I’m sure most people have been in the situation where they’re interviewing for a job when everything just gets cold and silent.
This happened to me a couple of times, and it’s annoying. At some point, you figure out that you’re going nowhere and there won’t be an offer, but I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want to put the period at the end of a sentence, the final nail in a coffin.
One time, I had gotten pretty far down the path towards an offer when there was a dead halt.
I decided I wasn’t going to let the guy who would have been my manager off the hook, and was gong to force him to tell me he wasn’t making an offer. I tried calling a few times, but he was pretty nimble about refusing to take my calls. Eventually I gave up, but getting ghosted really ticked me off.
As for today’s young ghosters: DON’T DO IT! This is the sort of behavior that – guaranteed – can come back to haunt you at some point in your career. At least have the courtesy to call in and leave a message, even if there’s no Friendly’s pay phone to drop your dime into.