The art of ghosting in the workplace

Dec. 4, 2022, 11:23 p.m.

When it comes to human relationships, there’s only one universal truth: ultimately, they all end. Often through attrition, sometimes by mutual agreement, and always through death; as in death do us part. For some relationships, it’s “good riddance to bad rubbish” and a swift kick in the ass that couldn’t come sooner. For others, the preferred separation method is the slow burn, where both sides drag out the insanity. Today’s lesson on breakups – professional, not personal – revolves around the former, where you end your connection to another living, breathing human being by suddenly disappearing, ninja style. This method has a two-fold benefit: one, you rid yourself of the offending party, and two, you derive a measure of perverse satisfaction in knowing you’ve left the other person confused and insecure. If you are in a position of authority or power, like a hiring manager, consider the hours you’ll save simply by ignoring pleas for updates from the hapless masses looking for employment. What do you care? You’ve already got a job. And because of COVID-19, no one expects you to be in the office anymore.

When you’re out with your bestie looking for the latest fashion statement, forward your office calls to voicemail and never bother answering them. When questioned, say you were working remotely and helping someone else. Who’s going to know? You’re not in the office anymore. And just in case people try to visit you at your place of business, initiate a policy where the doors are always locked, and people are forced to come only by appointment. But I digress, back to ghosting. The term is mainly used for personal relationships between lovers or loved ones. But recently, it’s taken on a new, more exciting, and interesting phase where you can practice the art on perfect strangers. 

No longer do you have to wait to satisfy your inner sadist by not returning your brother’s call – he thinks he’s mister perfect because he got married and has two kids – but, now you can get a tiny bit of satisfaction daily from your co-workers, your customers, and even, your boss. “Forget” to check your emails, let the text messages slide, and for goodness’ sake, don’t pick up the phone. Someone you’re ghosting might be on the other end, and you’ll have to come up with yet another lame excuse of how you were sick with Covid for the 10th time. When confronted, deny. Play the “confusion” card. “Wait, what? Was I supposed to call YOU? I thought you were gonna get back to ME.” This doesn’t always work, especially on the ones who insist on using logic. So, you’ll have to get creative. The “I’m sorry, let me take a look at your email, and I’ll get right back to you” is always good as a stalling technique. Most people will believe you and hope that.

NOW finally, you’ll answer their burning question. But this is your opportunity to get them yet again. Fooled them twice, shame on them, as they say. If the requests come by way of Whatsapp, don’t click on the messages, but instead, read from the preview pane and remain undetected. This way, the sender thinks you haven’t even seen their messages. If you receive an email with a read-receipt, decline the option. Better yet, go into Outlook and turn the damn thing off. Why should people know you’ve received their messages? This isn’t the 19th century, where a courier brings back confirmation that a message was received. Technology and the pandemic have created the perfect conditions for someone like you to thrive. And someday, when you’re on the other side of the glass door, looking to cold-call a place of business because no one seems to answer their phones or emails anymore, you’ll not even notice the irony of it all. You’re not one to believe in the silliness of Karma. Ghosting is good. Ghosting is power. It’s even better than “I have a hard stop at 3:30 to jump into another Zoom meeting”. The power plays you’ve pulled have made you who you are today. Keep your head high, be proud, and binge Netflix while the phone rings off the hook.



Editor’s Note: This article is purely satirical and fictitious. All attributions in this article are not genuine, and this story should be read in the context of pure entertainment only.

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