In Defense of Ghosts
Updated: Jun 3, 2021
By Lisa Grazan
The first time I ever heard the term "ghosting" was a few months ago during a conversation about how "out of touch" younger generations are with employment etiquette. My initial reaction was quick and decisive. The idea that a new hire would deliberately choose to vanish without a trace after only a few days on the job was not only appalling, it was downright rude and disrespectful. Disrespectful, indeed. But after further thought I began to wonder, disrespectful to whom?
What if after a day or two the new hire realized that the job they committed to really didn't suit them after all, and that staying any longer would be tantamount to self-betrayal? Wouldn't it be more disrespectful to sell yourself out? To voluntarily stifle your creativity, surrender your personal power and waste years of your life making someone else's vision a reality? Perhaps "ghosting" is really about respecting yourself enough to leave a situation before you commit self-betrayal.
But how can an employment relationship which seemed so promising in the beginning end so abruptly only days later? I mean, just like in any relationship, there had to be some form of "attraction" in the first place, right? So how can so much go so wrong so quickly that people want to literally run away and disappear for good? Likely it's because they gave their true nature and natural talents short shrift. They simply bartered them away for something fake and flimsy and something that made them so uncomfortable they couldn't stand another minute of it. Remember this: your true nature and natural talents are the ingredients that will take your recipe for success over the top. They add that one of a kind sweetness like nothing you've ever tasted before.
The problem is that we present ourselves to the working world with artfully crafted resumes as we try to capture on one piece of paper exactly who we think we are. Just like everyone else, we list our career objectives, our educational background, our prior positions, our work experiences, and our hobbies in a condensed yet aesthetically pleasing format as we desperately hope to stand out from the crowd. Our power words and action verbs cry out "This is who I am!" and "This is what I'm all about!". Our goal is to land the perfect job that matches our paper life; the job we believe we're "destined" to have.
Well let me tell you a story about landing a job that perfectly matched my own paper life. About twelve years into my legal career as a sole practitioner I came across a job listing searching for an attorney with trial experience to join a large law firm headquartered in Pittsburgh, working on the litigation defense team for their biggest client, a German pharmaceutical giant, as they headed into extensive and on-going litigation. Let's see, I had twelve years of litigation experience (check), I happened to have a bachelor's degree in German language and German literature (check), in fact, I honed my foreign language skills when I spent my junior year of college studying in Germany (extra credit check), and at that point in my legal career the promise of a steady pay check and a more structured schedule really appealed to me (check). I also found out that working as a translator, I would be one of the top earners at my level (double check).
Perfect timing, perfect language qualifications, perfect litigation experience, perfect geographic location, perfect salary; a supposedly perfect match, right? After the initial novelty wore off I was absolutely miserable. It was by far THE worst job I have ever had. I was confined to a cubicle all day long staring at two computer screens in front of me. Day after day I had to sit still and produce. My body slumped, my focus narrowed, and my spirit eroded but all that was apparently irrelevant because I was part of a "team" now whose visions and goals were already determined by others. We were working to defend our client's reputation and preserve its vast wealth and earnings. And the work was plentiful with no end in sight. Isn't this great?
Sure, my skills were a perfect fit for the job requirements but it wasn't my nature to stare at computer screens for hours on end. And it wasn't my nature to simply sit and produce. There's a fine line between skills and natural talents and what begins as a crevice can quickly widen into a crevasse.
What this new trend of "ghosting" tells me is that people are realizing there is so much more to life than just going through the motions of working at a job that doesn't resonate with them. There's a spiritual awakening afoot and it's not waiting until midlife to emerge. People want to know: "What is the meaning of my life in the scheme of the Universe?" It's no longer about finding a distraction, it's about finding fulfillment.
The path to fulfillment begins with discovering your Dharma, which is your purpose in life. Your Dharma is your calling; it's what you were put here to do. Dharma isn't a title or a description on paper. It's that undefinable stirring in your heart that you're yearning to embrace, embody and manifest. It's your desire to realize who you are at your core, recognize your talents, and use those talents to serve humanity; to realize your destiny and manifest your divine role in the Universe. That duty to your employer now becomes a duty to your spirit. That devotion to a career now becomes a career of devotion.
"The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away."
~ Pablo Picasso
Dharma is the ultimate fit; it's the alchemy of your true nature, your unique talents, and your mission here on earth. Forget the employment contract, this is a sacred contract and now your time is of the essence.
So how do you go about discovering your Dharma? Here's a clue: it's not out there to be found. It's inside to be revealed. It's engraved in your heart. What does it look like? It looks like your ease. It looks like your effortless movement. It's that twinkle in your eye, and the object of your smile. What does it sound like? It sounds like your voice when you're enthused, and your laughter when you're caught off guard. It sounds like the rhythms of your favorite music. It's your passions that make you come alive, and the causes that call you to action.
Keep in mind that your destiny is beyond your resume, it's beyond your conditioning and, if you stay true to yourself, it's even beyond your wildest imagination. Spending the days of your life using your natural talents to do work that you love will bring you unparalleled joy. Following the path of your Dharma is one of the most important journeys you can ever take. Not doing so deprives you and others of a light so stunningly bright and emotionally healing.
"If there is one sin - or rather one waste - it is not doing what you have the inclination or gift for"
So here's to all those "ghosts" out there and to those of you who are haunted by the voices that beckon you to follow the stirrings in your heart. Listen to you inner wisdom and fearlessly continue to uncover your true nature and unique talents and express them without reservation. May you always have the courage to respect yourself and never settle for less than you truly are.
Copyright 2020, Lisa Grazan. All rights reserved.