My boss ghosted me, what do I do? – #DearTBC – The Border Collective

*From the archives of old posts and questions, specific situational questions are now answered in a more complete way (because ya’ll deserve that) through #DearTBC. Today’s episode comes originally from 4 Specific Questions about Interning. 

Read on to find out about 1 anonymous reader’s problem with a boss that stopped replying, and what to do if that happens to you.

I have been interning for this company for three months already but it just so happened that the third month was December aka holiday break for the company and school.

Work has already resumed for the company and I messaged my boss if it’s still okay to continue with my internship. She hasn’t replied ever 🙁

It’s an unpaid internship naman but would it be rude if I like don’t go back na? I just feel iffy about it because parang there’s no closure??? (parang love life choz) haha

What do I do? 🙁

Justine: This is a fairly common occurrence for people who have no contracts with their companies, or if they’re interning somewhere that doesn’t have a formal mechanism or system to take care of their interns. Sometimes, they’ll see you as more hassle than you’re worth. And that’s ok. Don’t take it personally, these things happen.

Emotional Advice:

Don’t think it’s because of something you did. Most likely, they’re really busy and they’re not used to having extra labor around. Managing people is a lot harder than it looks, trust me, I’ve learned that the hard way.

Most people are better at individually taking on 200 tasks than they are delegating 10 tasks to someone else. The head space needed to teach someone else how to do things the way they have to be done? You don’t learn how to do that in a formal setting, so again, your boss probably doesn’t have the capacity to deal with you.

So, don’t blame yourself.

Don’t agonize over what you did. Don’t think about what a slow reply-er you are, how you totally messed up that one time and even though you apologized 14 times, you’re super sure they all hate you and that’s why they never want to speak to you again.

Don’t go down that worrying rabbit hole. Instead, pick up a book, preferably on how to manage your subordinates so that you don’t make the same mistakes they did. (My recommendation for people starting out is First, Break All The Rules.)

At the end of the day, you’re the kid. Not everything is your responsibility. Lighten up, and enjoy your new vacation.

Practical Advice:

Email boss up to 3 times, 2 days interval in between, a different email each time, and the ending of it is a politer version of “Get back to me, thanks.” And in between those intervals, email co-workers about it. If you want to have a solid topic to ask about, ask about the work you left unfinished, and what does this mean for you all moving forward. Do you need to show someone else what you were working on to transition it to them?

In a wider perspective, what kind of work were you doing? If it was a project, then you most definitely have to go back and finish it. (Because you can’t add it properly to your resume if you don’t.)

A more important question for me though is, do you want to go back?? If so, just show up at your normal hours and talk to your boss about the situation. Show up and have them tell you to your face that you don’t have to come in anymore or that you can continue on with your previous work.

If there’s an HR person at the company, bring this up to them so that they can form intern protocol. You could make that into your own project even, forming the company’s intern protocol so that they don’t do this to someone else again.

But if you don’t really want to go back, or you just think of it as a good way to kill time, let me burst that bubble. You don’t have to go back, there are better ways to spend time than interning somewhere that didn’t care enough to get back to you.

In the end, you made effort to get in touch with your boss and she never replied. I’d say that the burden is off you. Sometimes you never really get the closure you deserve (awow) and this might be one of those cases.


If you’ve got any internship, resume, or career-related questions that you’re afraid no one else understands, because you’re so young, you’re afraid of coming off as a whiny rich kid, you don’t have anyone else to ask, or whatever other reason, you can send them into The Border Collective’s Google Form or ask.fm. Being a kid myself, I’ve probably gone through the same situations. And at the very least, I can tell you what NOT to do.

#DearTBC is a slot for really specific situational questions that you’re worrying about, but you’re not quite sure who you can turn to. We answer in-depth so that anyone else who’s never wondered but wants to know, will know what to do next.

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