The Problem With Email

Email has gotten me into all kinds of trouble since it became a way of communication.  It doesn’t matter if it’s at work or something of a personal nature, it never fails.  The problem stems from an inherent shortcoming with the medium – lack of inflection.  Any one email message can be perceived in several different ways depending on who is reading it.  The more self-expression you put into an email the more likely it is to be taken incorrectly by the recipient.  Especially if you’re like me and you like to infuse sarcasm, fact and fiction all at the same time into your message.

Email at work is a dangerous thing because when you delete an email from your client it’s not being deleted off the email server.  Every email you send at work is saved and becomes part of your personnel file and can be used against you at any time.  Most companies warn you of this and provide you with a nice, legal notice you must sign.  However, once you sign that statement agreeing to the company’s email policies, it’s easy to forget them when in the throes of battle at work.  Even if your intentions are good, it can turn out badly.

Here are some examples of how email can be misinterpreted even when you’re just trying to be nice and foster a positive correspondence…

To: Richard Head
From: KDawg
Subject: Good Morning

Good Morning, Dick!

RE:Good Morning

KDawg, STOP CALLING ME A DICK! MY NAME IS RICHARD. If you call me a dick one more time, I will talk to Human Resources.

To: Jennifer Goodhead
From: KDawg
Subject: After Work Invitation

Hi Jennifer,

Just wanted to let you know a few of us are getting together at Joe’s Bar after work for some food and cocktails. You’re welcome to join us if you’d like to.

Hope to see you there!

Kindest Regards,

RE:After Work Invitation

KDawg, this sounds very unprofessional. I think all you’re trying to do by inviting me is to get me drunk enough to dance on a table so you can look up my skirt. Just because I have the reputation as the office floozy here doesn’t mean you can just try to take advantage of me. I don’t screw around with anyone at the office unless there is a raise and possible promotion in the cards for me. Until you are in a position to do that, might I suggest you just keep it in your pants or try your little game with the girl in the mailroom. I’m thinking of forwarding your email to the Human Resources department.

Beat it, punk!

To: Bhahark Vijahruve
From: KDawg
Subject: Database Query

Hey Bhahark,

Did you get that database query fixed yet? I need to run the Accounts Payable report sometime this afternoon, no big deal, just checking in on your progress.

World Peace,

RE:Database query

Mr. KDawg,
I look this query for the database. Seeming it running slow it is. Table joining on left outer apparently problem is caused by. Slow is this data return. I am hearing about party at Joe. Not making me eat cow meat, please. And stop with upset of Jennifer as control she is of my green card. If eating cow then report you to Human Resources department for religion violation.

Ghandi And Such,
Bhahark Ghendi Vijahruve (Pete)

To: James Dandy, CEO
From: KDawg
Subject: Employee Reviews

Mr. Dandy,

Per your request I have completed the employee reviews for my group. Here are my opinions:

Jerry: Nice guy but completely incapable of performing his daily job functions because of massive alcohol consumption in the workplace. He has been caught on video surveillance urinating in the bushes outside of the front entrance. We have lost 8 customers because of his complete disregard for deliverable deadlines. And he wears a really bad toupee. Recommendation: Termination.

Jennifer: She has a very nice phone voice but also has a severe sex addiction. When she’s not doing someone in the server room she is using office supplies as sex toys at/under her desk. Her conduct is counter-intuitive to our corporate guidelines and serves as a major distraction especially when she wears that knit sweater/beige skirt/knee-high boots combination she always wears on Fridays. Recommendation: Termination.

Steve: Spends most of his work day either walking around chit-chatting about his golf game or he is on his computer buying and selling stocks. He also has a serious gambling addiction and has been accused of embezzling the pot for the office football pool four times. I asked him during his review if he knows what his job title is. He had no idea, and neither did I. Recommendation: Termination.

Peggy: Can really juggle. No, not work tasks, she can juggle eight balls at once! Last week she juggled two Samurai swords, three bowling pins, a watermellon and a tomato all at the same time. She is very proud of her degree in Clowning. Unfortunately, we don’t have a position here for a full-time clown (we use a temp agency for that). She is supposed to be a data entry clerk but she can only type ten words per minute. Recommendation: Termination, send her to the local circus.

Bob: Bob tries hard but he’s just a bit annoying. He constantly uses stupid phrases like, “It is what it is” and, “At the end of the day…” Sometimes he even says, “At the end of the day it is what it is.” He tends to wear his shirt untucked and inside out and he wears one of those pocket protector thingies. Recommendation: 3 month probationary period and a hygiene appointment with our staff nurse.

Flo: Goes the extra mile to make sure the refrigerator is always clean and the coffee is always stocked, and that’s not even her job. Fluent in several languages, she bridges the gaps between our sales staff and international customers. She always brightens up the place with her smile and positive, can-do attitude. She is always willing to chip in and help. Recommendation: A real keeper, a stellar employee, destined for management.

Those are my reviews. I don’t know who did the hiring around here but whoever did was a complete bozo. Almost everyone is my group is dysfunctional as both employees AND human beings. I’d have a better staff if I hired zoo animals or some of those crazies from Bellevue. The only way I can justify most of these people being hired is if they are related to ownership or management. If this place ever wants to succeed, someone is going to have to start hiring qualified people or this place will go down the crapper in no time.

Thanks for your time, let’s do lunch sometime soon!


RE:Employee Reviews

Mr. KDawg,
Please stop by my office immediately so you can turn in your security badge and cell phone. In case you hadn’t noticed, everyone included in your review except Flo has the same last name as mine. I will fire Flo as well. I’ll talk to the Human Resources department to have your vehicle taken off the parking permit list.

Good luck in your job search.

Your Boss

James Dandy, CEO


Jim Dandy, CEO/Guy Responsible For Your Paycheck

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