Well it appears that there's a new trend that our digital culture hath wrought: "ghosting" on jobs.
That is, just up and leaving a job without a trace, as if it were a Tinder date, according to a recent article in The Washington Post. The article cites the Beige Book, the Federal Reserve Bank's monthly tracking of employment trends, which stated earlier this month:
"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."
And employers are reporting the same thing happening with job interviews, with some saying about 20-50% of their interviewees just never even show up.
The reason for these trends? Well no one is exactly sure, but the most likely culprit seems to be the wildly open job market. The Post reports that job openings have surpassed job seekers for the past eight consecutive months, and the unemployment rate has been at a 49-year low for four. As Michael Hicks, a labor economist at Ball State University put it:
"Why hassle with a boss and a bunch of out-processing, when literally everyone has been hiring?"
But that didn't stop one reporter, The Washington Post's David Fahrenthold, from citing the usual bugaboo, especially when it comes to millennials: "weak social skills."
A new trend in the workplace: "ghosting." As in, employees just leave for a new job without telling anyone at the o… https://t.co/YTgVbfpBZQ— David Fahrenthold (@David Fahrenthold)1544628371.0
And that didn't go over well on Twitter at all, for reasons not least of which is that none of the articles make such a claim, nor do the data support it.
More to the point, as many pointed on out on Twitter, employees seem to feel they're just showing their employers the same respect their employers show them. After all, nearly everyone who's been in the working world long enough eventually has the experience of giving two weeks' or more notice to an employer in good faith, only to be treated like a criminal for the remainder of their tenure--or escorted out the door by security on the spot.
And that's before you even factor in issues like wage stagnation, which only just recently began turning around after nearly a decade. What do employees really owe their employers in this day and age?
Or, as Melissa and Johnathan Nightingale, co-authors of "How F*cked Up Is Your Management?: An uncomfortable conversation about modern leadership" simply put it:
"Employees leave jobs that suck. Jobs where they're abused. Jobs where they don't care about the work. And the less engaged they are, the less need they feel to give their bosses any warning."
Taken all together, the dragging of Fahrenthold and America's employers reached a fever pitch:
@Fahrenthold Weak social skills but able to pass 2-3 interviews at a new company offering better compensation lol ok.— Black Domon Kashu is 6'2 (@Black Domon Kashu is 6'2)1544634072.0
The phrase "social skills" doesn't appear in the story - that's completely @Fahrenthold's invention. Text that *is… https://t.co/u10mLBYWJM— David Gerard (@David Gerard)1544710030.0
@Fahrenthold what if it’s not the social skills and instead it’s a lack of feeling of obligation to a company that… https://t.co/6fz1mTlbF1— Jodi Beggs (@Jodi Beggs)1544633731.0
This article warms my cold heart. “Employees leave jobs that suck,” they said in an email. “Jobs where they’re abus… https://t.co/ssOI7H5o0G— Matthew Strugar (@Matthew Strugar)1544641279.0
Don't want your employees to ghost on you? Try not treating them like shit. Try fairly & consistently enforcing w… https://t.co/kLqMeFLzOE— 𝒯𝒽𝒶𝓉𝒞𝒽𝒾𝒸𝓀𝒲𝒾𝓉𝒽𝒞𝒶𝓉𝐸𝒶𝓇𝓈 (@𝒯𝒽𝒶𝓉𝒞𝒽𝒾𝒸𝓀𝒲𝒾𝓉𝒽𝒞𝒶𝓉𝐸𝒶𝓇𝓈)1544726186.0
I have ghosted two jobs, one tried to make me work cleaning with a broken collar bone & one told me I was getting t… https://t.co/sA0hvyQSSn— Holy Mackerelle (@Holy Mackerelle)1544711066.0
Never done this, but I have had companies ghost me after agreeing on a contract in principle. A certain major Ameri… https://t.co/jC1OtlmdGy— Jason Davis, The ⚽📻 Maker (@Jason Davis, The ⚽📻 Maker)1544720320.0
If this is really a trend, it seems incomplete to talk about it without mentioning how often employers ghost Millen… https://t.co/scuDrVguu7— Lauren O'Neal (@Lauren O'Neal)1544729526.0
My point is: companies already treat people like that. Why would I care if it happens to companies.— Morgan ❄️ (@Morgan ❄️)1544723190.0
Employers have been "ghosting" employees for decades. They just call it a layoff. https://t.co/ryWWqB0QJ4— Dan Lavoie (@Dan Lavoie)1544720173.0
2 weeks notice is a courtesy to the employer. When was the last time you heard someone getting 2 week notice when… https://t.co/kwLo5VjowE— Brewer Bump (@Brewer Bump)1544721768.0
Yep, I still have zero sympathy for employers when employees violate some perceived norm that hasn't been applied s… https://t.co/peaGQQtvw5— Gray Kimbrough (@Gray Kimbrough)1544636402.0
If only there was something, anything an employer could do to make their employees want keep their jobs https://t.co/B13r4nQ5Qc— Heidi Shierholz (@Heidi Shierholz)1544714068.0
Sounds like maybe it's the employers who need to re-evaluate their "social skills."