Service of Ghosting

May 16th, 2022

Categories: Airlines, Ghosting, Ghosts, Jobs, Pandemic, Restaurant


Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

Maybe I am excused for living in the dark, until recently, about the meaning of the expression “ghosting” because I wasn’t dating in the early 2000’s when it became a thing and my friends who do haven’t used the term. It has nothing to do with what New York City Mayor Adams accuses Gracie Mansion of containing: Ghosts. Nor is it related to a homemade, untraceable firearm–a ghost gun.

Wikipedia defines ghosting as “also known as simmering or icing, [it] is a colloquial term which describes the practice of ending all communication and contact with another person without any apparent warning or justification and subsequently ignoring any attempts to reach out or communication made by said person.”

A TV producer, in a recent email, apologized for not previously responding to my queries saying that she wasn’t ghosting me. Then I read The Wall Street Journal article “Hiring Is Hard Enough. Now New Workers Are Vanishing Before They Even Start. More companies find that people who accept offers are never heard from again; ‘It was just crickets.'” The reporters are Chip Cutter, Lauren Weber and Ray A. Smith.

They wrote: “The practice, often called ghosting, isn’t new. In the tight labor market that preceded the pandemic, employers reported that some staffers quit without giving notice or just stopped showing up for their shifts. The practice picked up its own shorthand: ‘no call, no show.'”


Image by Lukas Bieri from Pixabay

They reported “Add another head-scratching new feature to the post-Covid employment landscape: A job isn’t filled until the new hire actually shows up for work.” The hardest hit in this regard, they wrote, were manufacturers, restaurants, airlines and cleaning companies. Never before have so many been no-shows after accepting a job.

“In posts on Twitter,” wrote Cutter, Weber and Smith, “workers offered all sorts of reasons for blowing off new jobs. They said they got better offers between when they were hired and when they were supposed to show up. They claimed they discovered the pay was lower or the hours or conditions different than what they were told. Some even complained that the hiring companies had previously ignored them after interviews or applications.”

Quoting Keith Wolf, managing director, Murray Resources in Houston: “We have a generation of professionals who grew up on dating apps, where ghosting has been accepted as an annoying, but common, phenomenon. I believe that is leaking into the professional world.”

The manager of a home cleaning service in Texas said that “80 percent of new hires eventually disappear without notice.”

Have you known employees who ghosted a business? Does this phenomenon explain why services you once depended on are no longer reliable? Can you think of reasons, short of death or sudden severe illness, that excuse a newly hired employee for not showing up without a word? What can we expect to be the next chapter on the spectrum of “I can’t believe this happens in the workplace?”


Image by LuckyLife11 from Pixabay

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8 Responses to “Service of Ghosting”

  1. ASK Said:

    Mr. Wolf calls them “professionals”? People brought up without being taught manners or polite behavior, those who subscribe to the notions of victimhood and those with a sense of entitlement are hardly good employees. I could go on with more reasons, but the trail these so-called professionals leave behind will no doubt ultimately catch up with them. Social media has done absolutely nothing to contribute to civil society…

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:

    ASK,

    Managers in some industries have had to deal with mild forms of this behavior and learned to adjust. I knew a woman who would call in the afternoon of her evening shift at a major department store to tell her department manager that she wasn’t feeling well and wasn’t coming. At least she called. Most of the time she felt fine–she wasn’t in the mood. I always sided with the manager and thought my personality would not have done well with such a practice that I imagine was–and still is–standard and according to the reporters, much worse: employees simply wouldn’t show. I can imagine what would happen: I’d be working 12 hour shifts 7 days a week and eventually you’d find me collapsed in the storage area.

  3. Debbie Kunen Said:

    Debbie on Facebook: You mean MORE BAD BEHAVIOR with NO CONSEQUENCES??? 😡

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Debbie,

    It’s hard to predict what the repercussions might be if employment numbers change course, jobs disappear and businesses keep the names of those who ditched responsibility in their databases. Expect to hear a lot of Jackie Gleason style “humma humma” and mumbling during interviews.

  5. lucrezia Said:

    I only remember one instance of a no-show as described. Another person, undoubtedly a much better fit was hired. No big deal. Service jobs are often grueling and ill paid, so negative behavior is understandable.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Lucrezia,

    I don’t know how managers/owners can run businesses with rampant irresponsibility by employees–potential or actual. I’ve always wondered how people can stand all day in a retail, fast food kitchen or doorman’s job, for example, especially when things are slow with no activity to distract. I can’t fathom any viable excuse for not letting someone know you’ve changed your mind about taking or staying at a job.

    How much should an employer pay for a job that requires no training? Would a few dollars more an hour make a difference in attitude? Money alone can’t change the difficult nature of some jobs. I stood behind a machine that placed price tags on clothes in the basement of a department store one summer vacation and I remember thinking that this was the forever job for some of these people. One woman, who had done it for years, stood all day in high heels, dressed for an office job, hair perfect. I couldn’t wait to leave every day and only had to do this for a few months.

    Similarly I don’t excuse being spoken to rudely by someone who is in a traditionally low paying job yet time and again I hear, “But they aren’t paid much.” Why are 98% of employees at Trader Joe’s gracious and helpful, walking customers to a shelf with the desired item and 60 percent of other grocery store employees grouchy, mumbling instructions to look in aisle 5?

  7. Martha Takayama Said:

    I thought “ghosting” meant ghostwriting. I didn’t know this definition or that it was a very common phenomenon. I can’t imagine ignoring people or accepting a job and being a no show. I only knew the now outdated concept that would call this standing someone up. I don’t have any examples from online or other interaction to cite. I do think the phenomenon is just another example of the incredibly self-centered world governed by misbehavior, denials and lies that unfortunately permeate all areas of our lives today.

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Martha,

    There are many advances that I appreciate and am grateful for. I couldn’t get as much work done as I do and have without a computer for example. But some human interaction baffles me. Just yesterday a young woman, who was nearest the elevator door, didn’t charge out. Nobody shows that kind of manners these days–some barely thank when you hold open the door or apologize if they crash into you. But this ghosting of an employer is at another level of bad behavior. We will all pay for it figuratively and literally.

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