Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thanks for sharing

I've occasionally ranted about ridiculous emails that people in my office send to the entire company. They've been coming fast and furious lately, sometimes with as many as four or five completely irrelevant emails per day -- often, followed by the dreaded "Reply to All" dialog in which a couple people feel the need to go back and forth seven times (while cc'ing the entire company).

So I thought analyze this phenomenon in a little greater detail today for you entertainment. These emails fall in several major categories:

1. Personal Assistant. Example: "Does anyone have an advil?" usually followed five minutes later by, "Thanks, got one!" Seriously. Can't you just ask someone next to you, or, god forbid, walk downstairs to the 7-11 and get your own damn advil?

Some recent subject: "need a small philips-head screwdriver," "fish bowl for trade show booth," "URGENT - help needed in 5 minutes to bring fridge doors upstairs." Don't ask.

2. Useless information. These are typically emails advising us of something that either you couldn't care less about, or about something that's already happened. Examples include: "Window washing today" (I care??), "Severe weather warning" (umm, yes, I noticed that there was a torrential downpour outside), "fire alarm testing today" (thanks for the head's up, I caught on after the third time we evacuated the building).

3. Thought you'd like to know. This is generally a link and brief "analysis" of some article online that's related to the environment. Usually, it's stupid anyway. But even if it was relevant to our industry at large, do you think I care? If you work for, say, an accounting firm, do you think that everyone in the entire office wants to hear about the latest tax code updates? Wouldn't those who give a crap about that already be reading whatever industry news sources are relevant to their job?

Priceless example:

Subject: Wikipedia. I was scared already.

Body: You are probably all familiar with the Web page Wikipedia. Really? Wikipedia? I think I've been to that "web page" before.

In doing some research yesterday, Ralph and I were pleasantly surprised by the amount of information we could find on a company, including facts and statistics. Shocker! Wikipedia has stuff about... er... stuff!

It is particularly helpful that it is all collected in one place. That's so cool! Have you heard of this "google" thingy? Someone told me it can be very useful in finding stuff on the interwebs.

Verifying the information with other sources takes a lot less time than gathering it all greenfield.Thanks!! And to think, I was getting ready to spend all day in front of the card catalog at the Library of Congress today.


4. Mule Requests. "Is anyone going to (insert client) today? I have a package to go there." Ummm... there are probably five people in the entire office who EVER go to our client sites. Figure it out.

5. Bizarro You read it, and then again to make sure, but you just can't be sure that you haven't been slipped some kind of hallucinigenic drug.

In this category, I'll leave you with this one to think about. This is an actual email.

Subject: In the ladies restroom...

Body: Did someone happen to leave a pair of jeans in there? If they are yours I have them at the front desk.

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