Friday, October 7, 2011

Email Etiquette - another Cautionary Tale

The following has nothing to do with being a mommy.  It has nothing to do with having boys.  It has everything to do with me being an a$$ in the workplace. 

In my former life, pre-children, I was a high school English teacher.  (I’m sure you can tell, given my many references to classic literature and my mad skillz with the words.)  On the administrative of "teachering," I had a major flaw:

It's the evil known as The Reply All.

For example, (you knew I’d have an example, right?) my department head received an email from a former colleague of mine in which he expressed interest in working in our department.  Since my department head knew that I had worked with “Paul” before, she asked me for my opinion.  It was all very professional on her part – what was it like working with him, is he a team player, what’s his relationship like with the kids, etc.  MY part?  Not so professional.

Obviously NOT BoyMommy.
I read her email, which included Paul’s email, and responded, “He seems like a nice guy, but I think he has some issues.”

And then I hit Reply All.


I’m such a jackass.  Sure enough, I get a WTF email from Paul.  Um, he was NOT happy with me.  (So sensitive, that guy!)  All I could do was apologize, admit I was an a$$, and put my tail between my legs.

Anyway, he did not get the job and I don’t think he even stayed in the county much longer after that; not because of anything that I did, but because he just moved on.

Fast forward 10 years.  

Guess who’s in jail for a series of crimes, including attempted murder, malicious wounding, and abduction?  It seems he DOES have some issues.  Of course, according to him, he’s the good guy who made many personal sacrifices and he’s been wrongfully accused.  He’s the misunderstood criminal, rotting away in jail for a crime he didn’t commit.  He’s a literary archetype!

I’m a firm believer in trusting your gut about people.  Yes, I’ve been surprised before, but I think our instincts are usually correct.  When that little voice inside you keeps telling you that somethin’ ain’t right, listen!  Back then, I felt that Paul was a tad narcissistic and, to use the technical term, skeevy.  I should NOT have hit reply all, and perhaps it was out of line to insinuate that he might not be a good match for our department, but I gotta say, I’m feeling a little smug vindicated.

There’s a lesson to be learned, kids.  Only slander people on email behind their backs.  Trust your instincts.

* a little disclaimer – the stuff about Paul being in jail I learned via word of mouth, so I don’t have any actual facts.  But it sure makes a good story.

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Be nice, kids.