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This past weekend was the 12th night.

Perhaps you know the night of Jan. 5-6 as Epiphany or as the night that the three wise men stopped to pay a visit to Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. Our Sunday School lessons were a bit vague on the subject but the three Wise men did not show up on Christmas Eve but 12 nights later. 12th night was also a play (comedy) written by William Shakespeare in about 1600 but that is for another day.

I have written about the ghosts of Halloween and the Ghosts of Christmas but I have not written about the ghosts of employees past, present and future. It seems when your kids come home you always learn new things. I learned about ghosting.

The phrase was not unknown to me as I have heard it regarding ending a bad date or a relationship. A person simply vanishes by not returning texts, returning phone calls or answering e-mails. They disappear into the mist and they are gone; with the current job market this trend has entered the workforce.

It appears that employees are beginning to leave companies with no official notice, no resignation, no trip to the Department of Human Relations for an exit interview they just leave. The don’t return employers texts, they don’t return employers phone calls, they don’t return employers e-mail — they just fade into never never land and are gone.

For my generation and what we passed down to our kids this is a bit out there. We were raised to never leave a job until we had one, to give the company we were leaving two weeks’ notice and to work hard up to the day we left the company. If we failed to do so somewhere we knew that it would be reported on our permanent record. Also if we left early with no notice we would not get a good recommendation or would be denied some kind of after employment benefit.

Well, times have changed. I had coworkers and friends at the state walked out of the office by the Capitol Police with no notice they had been laid off or fired. I have had friends told on a Friday afternoon that this was their last day at a job and at 5 p.m their services would no longer be needed.

I have had friends told that there would be no work for them next week and that they would be notified when work became available again. The call never came and they never went back to work at that company. Of course, you have the auto workers in Indiana who were told jobs would return to the factories they worked in only to be told later the plant would be closing.

So did we as parents and grandparents feed our kids and our grandkids a line of bull? I am beginning to think we did. In driving through Chippewa Falls and Eau Claire over the Christmas holidays I saw plenty of “help wanted” signs. Just a simple drive down Melby Road and Starr Avenue in Eau Claire showed manufacturing workers being needed as well several other skill sets.

In talking with my kids and others younger than me there seems to be several universal truths: in almost all parts of the country wages have not kept up with the rising costs of a home; in most parts of the country child care takes almost more out of your paycheck than you take home and finally many, many people are staying in jobs they don’t like just for health insurance.

I know several firefighter/paramedics who have reported for work as a new hire then after three to five months simply walked in and told the fire chief that the 24-hour work shifts, weekends and holidays simply did not work with their partners’ work schedule so they went on to other jobs in the medical field.

With baby boomers leaving the work force in droves and others simply staying until social security sets in we have a problem. Perhaps it is time that employers look at the wages they are paying and the benefits they are providing. Ghosting is a phenomenon that will not go away soon.

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John R. Andersen of Lake Hallie is a former state employee who remains active in the fields of fire prevention, government and education.


(2) comments


The average US wage in 1958 was $1.98/hour..
The average US wage in December of 2018 was $24.57..
If you take the 1958 wage and run it through an inflation calculator you can see that an inflation adjusted 2018 equivalent wage would be $17.38/hour
That means that our present US average wage is running over 41% higher than 1958 wages..
That positive news is compounded by the fact that nearly everything we buy has fallen is real, inflation adjusted cost...
We get better stuff at lower cost..
Our standard of living has improved dramatically in the last 60 years.
There are two things which have shot up in cost at a rate far beyond the inflation rate..
Healthcare.. has 4 times the rate of inflation...
And college tuition... rising at ten times the rate of inflation... our institutions of higher learning seem to have morphed into shameless dens of thieves... places where, too often, critical thinking is frowned upon and conformity trumps originality.
But, to stay on point, I disagree with your notion that employers are some sort of ‘problem’ in America...
Employers are the folks who pay all the bills by transforming their creativity and ability to tolerate risk into jobs and productivity.


....December 2018 wages are over 41% higher than, inflation adjusted, 1958 wages...

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