Email conversation I had with a co-worker yesterday. We were discussing a certain customer’s quirky “overly-enthusiastic” behavior and I compared this client to an old client who was even more enthusiastic. My co-worker email-laughed and boasted that this new customer is “way cooler” than the old customer.
I tapped out the obligatory laugh, but really, I disagreed.
The new customer is not cool. Not in my book. The measure of a person I get over email (especially business email) may not be representative, but it is all I have. This new customer is a stick in the mud, compulsively unfriendly and a brittle-dry email correspondent. All her emails are short and clipped and devoid of demonstrativeness. It’s serious business with this chick. I try to inject levity (as I do in all business interactions, to my detriment) but it is met with a weeping blank page of silence. She never addresses by name, rarely makes the slightest bit of gooey friendly gestures, and just seems like an uptight, humorless wretch. Now it could be that in real life (as my co-worker has met her in real life due to the nature of her specific job) she is a real card. A hoot. Who knows. I’m judging based on professional, superficial email conversations. Business emails are dry, curt and bland. Some people in the “professional” environment attempt to liven up (individualize) their email correspondences, but they are the exception. You can’t get a thorough sense of a person via email. People park their personality at the door before embarking on “official” emails.
I’ve always been terrible at dissociating my immature and playful child-ego from my responsible life and it is irresistible for me to glibly make light of the serious matters which cause high blood pressure in most responsible adults. The more seriously people tend to take themselves and their situation, the less likely I am to. In fact, if pushed too far, I tend to react in the opposite direction and treat serious matters with great displays of mockery.
Unforutnately, work email is one such avenue of rebellious expression in a dryly staid context. When tapping out a work email there is nowhere to go. Especially if it is to be widely dispersed and the subject of the email calls for gravity. I find many times I can’t refrain from throwing in a little caustic or sarcastic witticism, maybe a happy or puzzled face, even a “LOL” once in a while. It is so disparagingly unprofessional. I like to address people by name as well, especially in an initial email contact. Once the email chain has been established, I don’t see a problem with resorting to nameless replies. But I know some people who just launch into emails without so much as a “Hi” or a “Hey” and commence to close their emails without so much as a closing greeting. I think it’s rude. Even in my busiest times, I make time to at least say something like “Hi Tom.”
I hate that company emails dampen our spirit.
I hate this whole self-important aura of ostensibly measured workplace behavior.
HR sees to it that you don’t make any untoward comments or that what you say doesn’t run the slightest chance of rankling someone’s overly indignant sensibilities.
I think it’s a more glaring shock for someone like me who writes all this bullshit in a blog like 5 days a week in which there are no real limits and a stream of consciousness parade of thoughts keeps me spitting out posts and incessant streams of free-style crap.
To compose and read work emails is to subdue my nature to a level I can’t handle sanely.
Yet I still have a job.