If the sound of “job ghosting” sounds familiar to you, then it’s probably for good reason: it’s a trend that’s becoming more and more popular with the millennial workforce, who’ve decided to take a page out of modern romance’s book and apply it to their jobs.
In theory, it kind of makes sense. If you’re willing to ghost someone you thought you were romantically interested in, you could do the same with your job. At the end of the day, both are relationships with some pretty heavy implications in your life.
But the idea of this newfangled “ghosting” isn’t sitting well with a lot of people online, and there’s some heated discussions about whether it’s cool to “ghost” an employer. As always, Twitter users had their fair share of opinions.
What does job ghosting mean?
Let’s say you’re in a job that you’re planning on leaving. Traditional wisdom says you should give two weeks notice as a courtesy to your employer. Depending on how long you’ve been with a company, a meeting may be in order, too.
Anyone who’s gone the conventional route of leaving a job knows how taxing it can be. Personally, I left a job and workplace environment I really loved in the past, but knew it wasn’t in line with my future career goals. I had a couple of conversations with my boss, and things even got heated, just like they would in a romantic relationship.
It was uncomfortable but ultimately a good experience, and I’m on good terms with him to this day.
Job ghosting cuts out all of the “unnecessary” awkwardness. People leave their employers without a text, phone call, email, or any type of notice. They just… disappear. Just like they would if you met them on Tinder, shared drinks with them a few times, and then all communication suddenly stopped.
The Washington Post recently wrote about this much-discussed phenomenon, which ignited a conversation about why this phenomenon is happening in the first place.
The crux of that discussion: should the blame fall on employers or employees for such dispassionate attitudes towards the workplace?
A tweet from David Fahrentold, reporter for the Post, encapsulates the side of the argument blames a booming job market and poor millennial social skills.
Although the first portion of his argument is nuanced and arguable with facts, the second was seen as totally subjective and met with staunch objections online. Some people pointed out that being able to dip after getting a better job offer is proof that social skills aren’t a problem for millennials.
One might argue that there are plenty of people who can provide great auditions / first impressions. To hearken back to the online dating world for a bit, how many of us have seen photos and videos on the social media accounts of people we’d want to date?
Sure, they look utterly fabulous online and appear to be master fitness instructors and ultimate yoga gurus, and they’re great for a few dates. But who hasn’t experienced that fizzle out after a while? I haven’t met too many people with a good “long game” who can maintain that level of enthusiasm and fabulousness for extended periods of time.
Now maybe people are jumping from job to job because they’re constantly looking for something new that’s going to excite them, instead of considering what they can bring to the table.
Some people shared their own workplace horror stories to combat the narrative that workers are the ones at fault and that same discourteous “ghosting” attitude is an unjustifiably accepted behavioral trait for companies and employers to embody.
So why can’t workers do the same?
It’s evident that tons of people felt really passionate about the issue, especially when they’re given work “assignments” as part of their job application. After basically working for free for an employer, getting nothing in return, not even a notice that you didn’t get the position, doesn’t sit right with people.
Generally, there wasn’t much sympathy for employers out there. You’re not going to make workers feel bad about leaving a job that stinks or treats you like you’re replaceable. And if I’m being totally honest, I have to agree.
Personally, years ago, I left a job in the middle of a shift to go on a job interview, without telling my boss. He was constantly late in paying me and would always mess up my salary, despite having a store that did exceptionally well.
Not to mention the fact that I kept my mouth shut about all the fraud that went on there. So no, I didn’t feel bad about leaving for three hours to take a shower, slap on a suit, and charm my way into an actual job. And when he asked why I was “late” to work when he finally walked in, I said, “Well, since you don’t pay me on time, I didn’t think I’d have to come in on time.”
The look on his face is something I cherish to this day.
So if you’re an employer and you’re thinking of treating your employees like dirt, maybe think twice. Because it looks like people have zero problems ghosting your butt.
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