The Ghosting of Emily

Emily opened her texting app and selected the group thread she had looked at so many times over the past couple of weeks. Though she knew almost every word on that thread, she re-read many of the messages her team had sent over the past few months. It was more than a work discussion. They joked, talked about their private lives, and interacted like friends.

That was until a couple of weeks ago when the layoffs came. Emily and her co-worker Harold were laid off from the company while their manager and the manager’s manager kept their positions. It was then the group texting, and all communication from the two managers, suddenly stopped. There were no check-ins, no inquiries about how she was doing, or any kind of message whatsoever. If there was a professional form of ghosting, this was it. The only person who had kept in touch with her from her team was Harold, who checked in with her on a regular basis to see how she was coping.

Though she had received dozens of messages from co-workers expressing how much they would miss her and offers of assistance for the asking, it still saddened Emily that two people she considered friends had completely dropped her from their lives without explanation and without cause. She guessed she misread all the friendly banter and non-work conversations.

Shaking off that disappointment, she looked at all the messages she received, and all the kind words said in those messages. With practiced movements, she brought up a menu on the text app, paused for a moment, and replied ‘yes’ to the question on the screen, ‘Do you want to delete this thread?’ She then sent a message to Harold seeing how he was doing with his job search.

How many times have you heard executives of companies say, “You are not just an employee here. You are family.” Many job seekers and employees know those to be only words, but when management is given the opportunity to prove those words true, do they? Or, do they follow the safer and easier path, making sure they avoid anger and sadness by avoiding the person who only a short time ago they were interacting with on a daily basis? How is that treating people like family?

Or are they just words in a recruiting folder, an employee manual, or on a group text thread?

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