Workplace Ghosting


Woody Allen once said, “80% of life is just showing up.” That means that if you just show up you’ll probably succeed. Which is why workplace ghosting is such a waste.

According to Wikipedia, Ghosting is breaking off a relationship by ceasing all communication and contact with the former partner without any apparent warning or justification, as well as ignoring the former partner’s attempts to reach out or communicate.

I recently got ghosted by client. Ouch. They said they wanted to move forward with a project at the price we discussed. The next step was that they would be sending over a “work order”.

That was my first clue. I never do “work orders”. But for some reason it didn’t click and I said ok.

It’s been radio silence ever since. That was back in March. Even though I followed up a few times the guy is long gone. Poof.

Workplace ghosting is bad for the ghoster as well as the ghostee. My lost client is probably in the middle of a big disorganized mess.

Maybe he thought he had his client’s commitment to the project but really didn’t, and is now facing lost income and looming bills. Or maybe something happened on a personal level that I’ll never know about.

But ghosting doesn’t just happen to freelancers like me. It happens to managers at big corporations all the time. They spend a ton of time and effort carefully searching for just the right person, only to have them disappear on the first day.

Ghosting happens a lot during a UX job search. You send out a ton of resumes and cover letters with links to your portfolio. With every submission you eagerly anticipate a positive response, only to hear crickets on the other side.

Yes, it sucks. But you can’t take it personally. You have to keep going. Results will come eventually, but only by taking consistent action.

If you’ve ever been ghosted in the workplace or otherwise, let it go and move on. It’s not worth your time or energy to pursue it. You are worth a lot more than that.

Think of the all energy expended worrying about something that’s completely out of your control. It’s good to remember that the only thing that is ever within your control is how you think. You know, the stuff between your ears.

Likewise, if you’ve ever ghosted someone there’s always an opportunity to make things right. Sure, you might be embarrassed, or you might be annoyed that I would even suggest you consider it.

Whether or not you take action to rectify the situation, it will always be there until you do. There is a huge emotional and psychological cost to ghosting another human being.

Even though it might seem difficult at first, taking personal responsibility is much easier and faster in the long run. And it’s the only way to build any relationship.

So reach out, clear the air and clear your conscience. You’ll be glad you did and so will your karma.

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