Where’d They Go?

Building SkillsAt a recent professional development session focused on essential skills for the workplace, the Human Resources director from one of our large local manufacturing plants listed the top reasons for “separation from the company,” which is evidently business-speak for “losing your job.”  What would you guess? a)Drugs? b)Poor performance? c)Insubordination?

The correct answer is d) None of the above. The number one reason for separation from the company is “job abandonment,” which means “No show, no call for three days.” Why, I wondered, would anyone with a good job think it’s acceptable to just not come to work? Why wouldn’t you call to let your supervisor know that you aren’t coming? Why would you think that everyone else in your group would be willing and able to pick up your slack? Where do crazy ideas like that come from?you_re_fired

This week I thought about the session again. Some of my students—a tiny fraction to be sure—have simply stopped attending class. I’ve checked our database to see if they have dropped the class. Nope. Some of them are still doing assignments in our online platform, even as they miss quizzes, labs, and exams.

Quite a few advisees have dropped by the office this week to make academic plans or to review their progress toward graduation. A surprising number of obviously capable students have dismal or failing grades in their histories. “What happened there? How did you fail ‘College Experience?'”

6561055891_d33dee7930_z“Well, this thing happened. (Fill in illness, family emergency, job shift change, whatever.) So I never got around to dropping the class, and then I got this grade.”

Job abandonment. No show. No call. And so it begins.

How do we nip this noxious weed in the bud? I point out the consequences of failure to communicate to both advisees and to my own AWOL students when I can track them down. Knowing your bones and muscles is great, but knowing how to show up is a pretty important trick.

Losers make promises they often break. Winners make commitments they always keep.

—Denis Waitley

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