Sometimes the problem with coworkers isn’t what you see, it’s what you don’t see that becomes the issue. When you want them to be there, they aren’t. When you try to find them, you can’t. To make matters worse, in some cases these “ghost” coworkers make such a lasting impression when the do materialize, others just simply don’t believe your story.

ghostI believe in ghosts. This comes from personal experience. For nearly 4 years I worked with a ghost as a colleague and business partner. And man, when he materialized before a client, they were left in awe. But when the client engagement was over, so was he. He would disappear. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t seem to get him to materialize when I wanted him to. I would send him e-mails, leave him voicemails, and try other ways to wake the spirits. Nothing. The only thing that I ever found to work was to call his house, get his wife on the phone and persuade her to “wake him from the dead.”

Ghosts are tricky to work with. They are unreliable, unpredictable and usually materialize when they want to – not necessarily when you want them to. To complicate things, they love to make unexpected big entrances and positively “surprise” important people, leaving you dumbfounded, frustrated and more than a little pissed off.

How to Work with a Workplace Ghost

So what do you do if you have a workplace ghost on your hands? You have a few options:

  1. Figure out where they live – if you’ve ever watched any of those ghost shows or even cheesy horror flicks, you’ll hear the paranormal investigators talk about finding the part of the house that has the most paranormal activity. You need to find that room. In practical terms, this means finding out where they go when they vanish so you can plan on how you are going to communicate with them.
  2. Get a medium – Ghosts don’t respond to any and all mediums. You need to find the right medium in which to contact your ghost. No need to find someone with a Long Island accent, however you do need to be thoughtful about identifying a medium that works with your particular ghost. This can either be a person who has a certain connection with the individual (boss, friend or in the case of my story, a spouse) or the right kind of communication mechanism (e-mail, voicemail, Twitter, etc…). Having woken more than my fair share of spirits, I find that texting is particularly useful. It’s the 21st century version of the ouija board.
  3. Threaten to leave the house – Deep down, ghosts actually don’t want you to leave. They need you to play your part so they can be, well, ghosts. Without you, they are left to do the work. So, threaten to leave. That will get them to show up… for a short period of time, anyway. But be realistic. They are ghosts. It is only a matter of time until they disappear again.
  4. Call for an exorcism – Eventually, the day will come where you need to make up your mind. Either you leave the house and find another home (i.e. find another job) or you get the ghost removed. That’s when HR and your boss need to be brought into the mix. Just be prepared that they may not believe your ghostly tales. You may have to leave until they ultimately see it for themselves. Comforting or not, they will eventually see it and you’ll be proven right. It just may not be on your timeline.

What if Your Boss or Employee is a Ghost?

Now, what if the situation is different. What if you are dealing with a workplace ghost but it’s not your coworker?

  • What if your boss is a ghost?  If your boss is a ghost, follow steps 1-3. Unfortunately, exorcising a ghost that has been around a lot longer than you is hard to do. You’ll likely need to leave the house. Look for an internal transfer to another department and let your replacement deal with the hauntings.
  • What if your employee is a ghost?  If you have a ghostly employee, follow steps 1-2, skip step 3 (you aren’t going anywhere) and move to step 4 quickly. Force them to permanently materialize or they will be exorcized. Just know, exorcism will be the solution in over 90% of workplace hauntings. Getting ghosts to change their sheets is no easy task.

Workplace ghosts are tricky to deal with. However, if you can find where they live, get the right medium and layout your expectations, you’ve got a shot at a happy haunting. Start your ghost hunting today before things turn even more frightening.