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Work Horror Stories
3 Women Who Were Ghosted at Work and Lived to Tell The Tale
AdobeStock / puhhha
AnnaMarie Houlis
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Ghost sightings are a rarity, but they haunt the offices and workplaces of unsuspecting professionals all the time. They're not the good ghosts, either; rather, they come in the form of clients, colleagues and new-hires who go missing over time, never to be heard from again.  But their absence still disturbs their former workplaces, leaving surviving staff to hold down the forts on their own. Three women share their own paranormal ghostlores from throughout their careers.

1.  Bankruptcy bites

"My firm was ghosted by not just one person, but an entire company," says Jessica, a landscape architect. "We had a contract with them already but they started to dip out over time. First, they didn’t meet the established timeline for the deliverables we needed as part of said contract, then started making up information to fill in instead of getting the correct stuff, and eventually escalated to full-on ignoring our calls."

Jessica's company was paying the contractor nearly $300,000, but they never completed the work. They fell off the face of the earth, and no one ever heard from them again — as if they never existed in the first place, like a figment in Jessica's imagination.

"Over the course of a few months when they — for lack of a better term — completely screwed us over did we hunt them down. They finally admit they were not capable of producing what they needed to get to us because they had a federal tax lien on their company; they were going bankrupt and didn’t have the resources to complete the job."

2. Colleagues serially disappear

"My first day they asked me to help with our docketing department, which I had zero experience in; I agreed and the guy running it, also named Guy, introduced himself and said that he would be heading out to lunch before we got started on how to basically do everything that the job entailed," says Kelly, who works for a law firm. "So an hour and a half goes by and he still isn’t back in the office. I go to the lead paralegal to ask if she knows when he’ll be back. So she responds saying he actually just emailed the firm a few minutes before stating that he wouldn’t be coming back and they could consider this his last day."

After Guy left, Kelly was put in his office and expected to figure out how to log into the system and operate on her own. Determined, she did it. But as she got more colleagues to help her out, they all slowly started disappearing over time — one after another.

"Two months later, I’m running the department and they hire someone else named Jose to help me. He’s there for two months, everything is going fine. I take off a few days for my birthday in August and, when I return, I noticed that nothing had been done. So I go to my boss and he responded saying that he basically stopped coming in on my first vacation day. He texted her the next day saying he didn’t want to come back. So it was back to square one."

3. Intern goes MIA

"I hired an intern who seemed like a great fit for the company — a college kid I could see myself hiring once they graduated; they aced their interview with flying colors," says Amanda, who helms a PR agency. "The intern showed up for the first day of work, and I went over everything with her. It was sort of a training day to introduce her to the programs, systems and the way we do things around here. It was a lot of information to take in, but it's how it goes. Before she can dive into the fun stuff, I needed to get her up to speed."

Well, after the intern got up to speed, she must have realized she didn't want to take on the workload. Or something else unspeakable had happened to her that prevented her from ever showing her face at work again.

"She was scheduled to come in three days a week. On day two, I assumed she was running late — she was commuting from New Jersey into New York, and public transportation isn't always so reliable. I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt, but she never showed up. In fact, she never came back again. No word. No nothing."

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AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreport and Facebook.

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