Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Toddlerism, Thy Name Is E-mail

Sometime ago, I made a post about why people should never be allowed to use a telephone. Today's will be about why some people should never be allowed access to a computer.


E-mail has been the bane of my existence since January 2007. That's when I started a hellacious 1 1/2 year stint handling tuition reimbursement for my office.

Handling tuition reimbursement, while looking good on my resume, put me on a road to almost complete obliteration. Because of the pervasive double standard that applies within my office, I was in a lose-lose situation when it came to e-mail.

Toddlerism is well entrenched and well represented within my office. What I'm about to show you for examples, is the end result of combining arrogance, poor communication skills and a strong sense of entitlement.

Now, not everyone that I deal with on a daily/weekly basis is a toddler when it comes to e-mail. In fact, I can say about 95% of the work e-mail I get are brief, concise and to the point, which makes them a pleasure to deal with. It's the other 5% that has resulted in the following annoyances being inflicted on me:

a} A written reprimand that sat in my personal file for 18 months.
b} A verbal reprimand that is still in my file, along with having to attend a class on professionalism.
c} A strong lack of respect by upper management to the staff in payroll.
d} One poor job evaluation.

All of these things can be directly tied into the scourge known as e-mail. So without further ado, here are a few examples of why certain types of e-mails have caused me to have a sign hidden in my cube that says, "Don't Answer Stupid Staff's Stupid Questions First Thing In The Morning".

1. Demand that I do something, then getting upset when I say no. Click on point "c" for complete details.

2. Not liking my original answer, so they spend the next few e-mails rephrasing the question in order to get me to change my answer. Union reps are notorious for this. They firmly believe that a labor contract is good only when it agrees with their point of view, bad when it doesn't. I can't tell you how many times that I quote lengthy sections of labor contracts (I know four of them like the back of my hand) to them, only for them to turn around and say, "Yeah, but...."

3. Not liking my answer, so they bring in other people to ask the exact same question and still getting the exact same answer. This was especially infuriating because this usually was asked when certain people were getting their tuition reimbursement before others. This aggravation lead directly to all four points listed above, including the links. Note: Never, ever add on the following tag--Do I make myself clear, crystal or otherwise?

4. Responding to an e-mail that I sent to you six months ago, asking the same stupid question that I answered six months ago in that e-mail. Self explanatory.

5. Your e-mail is as clear as mud. Really, do you have problems explaining your point in under 50 words? Or do you have a problem stringing nouns, verbs, adverbs and adjectives together in order to get your point across? Or is it a combination of both?

And finally, one of my personal all time favorites.

6. Retrieving an old e-mail from a year ago and asking me a completely different question, because you're too lazy to spend fifteen seconds creating a new e-mail. Self explanatory.

In conclusion, so long as I stay in my current dead end job (and from the looks of the labor agreements worked out between the unions and the Governor's office, I ain't going anywhere, any time soon), my work e-mail will continue to be a major thorn in my side and a impediment to a harmonious cubicle existence.


  1. I used to work for a large telecommunications company and there was never ending paperwork and emailing about stuff like that. You have my sympathy.

  2. WOW, they are like kids. Don't like mom's answer, go ask dad.

    Wake up, it's the same question to be followed with the SAME answer!

  3. Whether it's email, snail mail, phone calls, I have the feeling that with some people, there's always a conflict. But email sure makes it more immediate, doesn't it?

  4. Lynn: It's unbelievable the amount of garbage I had to wade through back then and still do.

    That One Girl: I'm telling you, if you ask me and I say "no", chances are if you ask my supervisor the same thing, not only is the answer gonna be "no", but you'll tick her off in the process. And make an enemy of me as well.

    Joanne: E-mail makes it so immmediate that to this day, five years after doing payroll, I still have to have my supervisors proof my e-mails before I send them out.

    Everyone, here is another example of why people shouldn't have e-mail.

    I've spent the past two and half weeks explaining to someone why it doesn't concern me how you schedule your furlough day (short version, unions aggreed to a giveback for May 22nd, so everyone gave up 1/10 of their salary) because all I'm concern with is taking your money.

    Two and half weeks people, which involved myself, the employee in question, someone from another unit who had nothing to do with this issue, her dolt of a supervisor, and her HR rep.

    Why is it the more money someone makes, the stupider they get?

  5. Don't get me started on unions. It's one reason I am no longer with the telecommunications company.

  6. Ha. #6 cracked me up because that's a pet peeve of mine also.

    Hey, there's a meme sitting over at my blog if you want to join in.

  7. I doubt I have it as bad as you but I do get a lot of stupid emails from other faculty members. That reasking the same question over and over really bothers me and it's a sign of them just not wanting to do the work to make the changes you require and then hoping you'll just give in. What a waste of my time.

  8. I'm laughing (with you, not at you) because these same people are the ones who shouldn't drive...

    Seriously, way back in the day, you used to learn the proper etiquette for sending business correspondence and how to make professional phone calls. Where is all the training for this now when the world has gotten so bogged down with technology? We need some serious netiquette training. Voice mail - don't get me started!

  9. Lynn: I have a a hate-hate relationship with my union. As you know, the state is a closed shop, so unions are a necessary evil.

    The amount of crap I could tell you from first and second hand knowledge would turn your stomach.

    David: Thanks for the tip, I'll check it out.

    Sad part is that I get #6 with such a greater degree of frequency nowadays that I simply delete the e-mail unread.

    Charles: I really do feel for you when it comes to the academic world. Having spent time in it (via the library) and currently dealing with it in the form of about 65+ teachers, instructors, etc., I can truthfully say that sometimes, the more more money that they make (from carrying a MA and assorted pieces of paper), the stupider they become.

    Talon: You should read that post of mine about voice mail. That was just the tip of the iceberg in regards to being stupid.

    There is no such thing as proper etiquette anymore. Where I work, I am treated with such disrespect by my superiors (not my immediate superiors in my unit, who I respect dearly), that even if I was completely right in pursuing a course of action, I would still be wrong.

  10. My biggest pet peeve is from friends. They have nothing going on a particular day so they email asking if I want to get together that night.

    Hello. I don't sit by my email waiting for you to send me something. 9 times out of 10 I get it the next day. To which I reply.

    "Hey I was there...had a great time, why didn't you show up?"

  11. Can understand that.

    Actually, my biggest pet peeve at work used to be when people didn't respond to my e-mail inquiries that same day. But gradually I understood that when it came to doing a payroll for a criminal facility, sometimes I was last in line.


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G. B. Miller

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