[Edit] Ghosting: the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication.
Ghosting. It’s a horrible word to describe an act that has always existed, but has become all-the-more common in this age of Whatsapp, social media and dating apps. I’ve been on the end of it, and also done it – playing both ghoster and ghostee.
Gosh, it’s a horrible word.
A week ago today (actually, 2 weeks ago at the time of publishing), I was on the end of the ultimate ghosting. After taking some time off, I’ve recently started to actively look for jobs in a new field(s) – writing. I’ve been looking at journalist positions as well as content/copywriting positions. Rather than lean into the anxiety of starting a new job and working for someone again (the last time I worked for someone else – in sales – was nearly 3 years ago, and by the end I really wasn’t happy), I’m trying to embrace the opportunity for a new challenge and somewhat through caution to the wind – looking at businesses/roles that feel right, ideally doing something I give a damn about. #typicalINFP
After 5 years of sales experience, this is a completely new avenue for me, so I appreciate that I’m going to have to earn my stripes, and enter at the junior end of the market. As someone who was earning fairly decent money what I was doing before, applying for junior positions – and even internships – has been a humbling experience.
One of these positions was a part-time role with an animal welfare organisation, as a ‘media & communications intern’.
Perfect, I thought. this is something that I feel is important and a worthy cause. It’s a small team, and I’ll be working closely with the Media & Comms Manager. I should have broad exposure and the chance to learn a lot… exactly what I’m after. Even though I’d only be paid .a pretty small amount, pretty much just covering my travel expenses, that was okay. It’d be a chance to dip my toe back into the working world, learn and gain experience, and in a capacity as a volunteer – so with less pressure than an official employee on the payroll.
I met the Media & Comms Manager that I’d be working with at a co-working space with a cool vibe. We got on well. She asked the usual stuff, about me and my career so far, and why I liked the look of this particular position. I was honest about my career story (why I’d left sales, etc.), and what I now wanted, and we had a useful back-and-forth conversation about what was needed, and how I could help / the ideas I had.
I was offered the role there and then. Great, I thought. It was somewhat a surprise to be offered right there, but not so much as I knew this was a voluntary position and I had a fairly reasonable portfolio of articles, plus ideas I had about how to engage on social media without potential donors. She encouraged me to think about it over the weekend, and let her know by Monday. She even mentioned getting me in for training next week if I accepted. And the fact that, in a couple of weeks, they were moving to a different office, and confirming that that was okay.
Pretty confident I would accept, I went away and reflected. I texted her on the Saturday – thinking it’d be nice to show I was eager, and also not keep her “hanging” over the whole weekend; I also wished her a good weekend, and that I wasn’t expecting a response till Monday as I’m sure she had better things to do on a Saturday, and so forth. I sent her the same message on email and text, in fact (again, figuring that it was nice for her to see the message in some capacity, so she knew one way or another).
Monday came around and… nothing. Close to noon on Tuesday, I sent her a follow-up email to make sure she had received my last one. Nothing. I added the number that I had texted to my iPhone phonebook – there she was, on Whatsapp, looking all bohemian and carefree in the pic.
I mean, this was a little old. I was confused, and a little p*ssed off too.
How can you go from talking about my joining one minute and then, in the space of a couple of days, seemingly do a U-turn? What’s happened here?
I actually wasn’t as gutted as I might’ve been, thought. Returning to work for someone for the first time in nearly 3 years (Masters, doing my ‘own thing’, then taking time out), there was some going-back-to-work anxiety as I mentioned earlier, especially as it would be doing something new where I don’t feel super-confident in my abilities. #fakingit #impostersyndrome
Also, I think I’ve become more introverted as a result of being in my own space more – ironic as, in my sales days, I was in an open-plan office and talking to/meeting clients all day long. It brought out the social side of me, but it was exhausting.
Probably the worst thing is – she seemed really nice! I know I had only know her for an hour, but *still*. I like to think I’m a pretty good judge of character. #IThoughtWeWerePals
Either way, my feeling is that what has happened here is probably a blessing in disguise. They may well have messed me around when I started, and this could have been stressful.
By Wednesday that week, I had decided that, even if I did hear from them, it was gonna be a “thanks, but no thanks” from me. It just wouldn’t feel right. I’m a believer in things happening for a reason, and the universe was doing me a favour here.
It’s not the most pleasant thing to be ghosted after a job offer – or at all, for that matter. But if it potentially saves me from future sh*t that I don’t need, I’ll take a ghosting any day.
✏️ Written: Friday, 23rd February 2018 @ 0.00am
What about you? 👻
Have you been ghosted, online or in-person? Have you been a ghoster? (be honest!) I’d love to hear your ghost-related experiences – whether shocking, hilarious, or frightful.