When you are stuck in a bad job, life can be a living hell, like a church lock-in consisting of people you hate and tasks that have no relationship to your future. No one listens or cares about you outside of the job and, most frustratingly, there is a lack of concern for you as a person pursuing your own path. I’ve said it once, I’ve said it again: you are not your job. Decent people, nay employers, should realize that, too.
While this sea change likely won’t take in our lifetime (If ever.) (Hashtag capitalism. Hashtag economics.), a call for employer and company compassion doesn’t seem like too much to ask when it comes to something as simple as manners. An example: getting ghosted by a company, a prospective employer, a co-worker, or even a distant colleague that you hope to connect with.
This, people, has got to fucking stop.
In an economy and country where everything is turning upside down and people are turning to each other for help, you would think we would all be willing to lend an ear, to listen, to entertain each other – especially when it comes to working. Is that happening? No, not at all, at least as it relates to my own experiences this year and in what I’ve heard from friends.
One friend eager to get a new job went through four rounds of interviews – via Skype, via phone – only for the perspective employer to drop off without a word, without notice, without any comment on if they were still in the running or not.
Another friend had a great phone interview for a job after months of searching for a potential new gig and was told that they’d get back with an answer by the following week. The following week came and went. No word.
Myself and a handful of other friends continually reach out to former bosses or colleagues who are doing well, in industries or jobs that we’d like to be in, about getting a drink or having a de facto informational interview. An initial conversation is had. A follow up is made. The person stops responding to messages.
After pitching a fairly large LA publication for a few weeks and speaking with an editor, I was invited out for coffee to chat further about working together, discussing pitches, and was given instructions to redevelop some ideas with sources. After a few weeks of work and research, I revised the pitches and sent them to the editor who I had met in person. They didn’t reply. I followed up. They didn’t reply. Two months later, still dead air.
This is career ghosting, where a prospective employer or friend or co-worker you are seeking help from or hope to work with completely fucking drops you. This happens across the board and across industries, between people who know each other and between people who only met via application. Do you know how frustrating it is? It’s completely maddening. Yes, this happens in love and between friends and is never not fucking infuriating. But when it comes to work? The matter seems even more exaggerated since no one wants to be working “for the man,” doing something they don’t want to be doing, particularly in a sociopolitical climate that is so taut and pressurized, poised to break.
Perhaps this is the fault of Millennial and technological communications making it easier for people to illustrate that they don’t care about you with ease. Perhaps it represents a dehumanizing disposability that you are not as good as someone else who might pop up. Perhaps it represents that we are all selfish and everyone is at fault. Who the fuck knows. What I do know is that it is a shitty situation for everyone, proven to elicit the same feelings as physical pain while making a person feel worthless. You know how much that compounds one’s hopelessness?
Let this be a reminder to everyone: listen to each other. Have some manners. We are all busy but treat other people with the respect you’d hope to get in their position. Unless someone you completely fucking hate is reaching out to you, give them the benefit of the doubt. Entertain them, to a certain degree. Practice self-care but also realize that the person on the other end might be practicing self-care as it relates to their career.
No one wants to be landlocked in their career. Getting ghosted when it comes to job exploration only keeps someone further confined: fucking stop with that, people.