rats abandon a sinking ship

rats abandon a sinking ship

The least loyal, trustworthy, or dependable people will be the first to begin abandoning a failing endeavor. Times of crisis will test the loyalty of the people you've hired. Rats abandon a sinking ship, while the people worth holding onto the most will stay until the very end.
See also: abandon, rat, ship, sink

Rats abandon a sinking ship.

 and like rats abandoning a sinking ship
Prov. You can tell when something is about to fail because large numbers of people begin to leave it. (Can imply that the people who leave are "rats," that is, selfish and disloyal.) Jill: The company next door must be going bankrupt. Jane: How do you know? Jill: All its employees are resigning. Rats abandon a sinking ship.
See also: abandon, Rat, ship, sink

rats abandon a sinking ship

Smart (and disloyal) individuals will desert a failing enterprise before it is too late. This observation was made long ago about rats, which would remain on board devouring a ship’s stores in the hold until the ship foundered in a storm or ran aground; then they would disappear so as not to be drowned. The transfer to human desertion was made before 1600; in some cases it was a ship they abandoned, in others a house about to collapse. “It is the Wisdome of Rats that will be sure to leave a House somewhat before its fall,” wrote Francis Bacon (Essays, 1597).
See also: abandon, rat, ship, sink