Have you ever been "ghosted?"
For the uninitiated, ghosting is when someone ends a personal relationship by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication. Usually the term refers to situations that occur after an uncomfortable romantic breakup.
But it happens at work, too. During my career in human resources, I encountered multiple cases of warehouse and factory workers quitting their job without notice. It would be time for someone's shift to start, they'd be a no-show. Then it would be mad scramble to reach the individual and found out what happened, only to find out they started another job and didn't bother to mention anything.
In recent years, this practice has increased. Reporting on employee ghosting has shown up quite a bit in the news, and I've been hearing anecdotal evidence from several individuals in HR that their white-collar employees are disappearing from their jobs without any explanation.
I’m shocked that ghosting an employer has become “a thing” in the workplace. It’s immaterial how lousy the job is, how annoying your boss is, how hostile the work environment is, or how juicy the salary offer a competitor made.
Unless you had a medical or other major emergency (which does happen) rendering you incapable of making contact, leaving a job without notice – much less without telling anyone – is grossly unprofessional. Part of being a professional is being accountable for your own actions, and that includes leaving on professional terms.
Your former employer (they don't yet know they're a former employer) will want to know what happened to you. My recommendation is to the call from your old boss – even better call him or her first. Thank them for their concern, apologize for leaving without notice, inform them you won’t be returning, and thank them for the opportunity.
Our professional reputation is our most valuable asset. It’s what inspires an employer to hire you or an acquaintance to recommend you. Ghosting an employer will immediately (and potentially irreparably) undermine your reputation. Repair your bridge, and move forward.
Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at firstname.lastname@example.org, or via the website, www.insidercs.com.