A midnight run is usually some journey that involves some kind of sudden, unannounced escape from an untenable personal, career, or business situation. For example, a small business owner, sensing his creditors are about to foreclose on him, might do a midnight run. He would back up a panel van to his shop's alley exit in the middle of the night and loading up his most valuable assets and stock in an attempt to keep it from falling into the hands of a bailiff.

In the argot of overseas ESL English teachers, a midnight run is a sudden breaking of a contract and leaving the country on some nighttime flight with all the possessions one can pack into suitcases and a backpack full of the local currency saved. Many schools tend to play fast and loose with signed contracts, insisting teachers uphold their end of the bargain yet rarely review their own contractual obligations (like paying the teacher on time, maintaining a livable apartment, abiding by contracted hours, etc).

Of course, some ESL schools provide a great work environment but some teachers can't hack the foreign environment and do a midnight run. This of course creates an increasingly antagonistic relationship between schools and teachers, akin to the downward spiraling relationships that exist between tenants and landlords. Each approaches the situation like the other is just out to rob him or her blind and treats the other like a rapist. The other senses the unwarranted antagonism and responds in kind. Or one begins to do things like create excessively harsh contracts or leases that address only the most insane employee or tenant but ends up appearing invasive and dictatorial to any reasonable signee.

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