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OKAY?????!!!!

Ladies and gentlemen, it is time to talk about a serious problem plaguing the internets today. The AOLspace and the Facetweets and the YouVideos of the cyberspaces are really the least of our problems indeed.

No. Today I am here to talk to you about a two far more serious matters: caps lock and excessive punctuation.

Lately I have been opening a lot more emails from these passive aggressive asshats.  The sad part is, they are usually high-level professionals. I would like to pretend that they don’t have a good grasp of proper internet communication etiquette. But I think they know exactly what they are doing.

Take this note I got this week:

Hey, can one of you get this (insert task here) done TODAY???

After I explained that we were working on it, I received a follow up email: How are we coming with this???

Here’s example of one I got from my former psychopathic boss:

WE NEED TO DISCUSS THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He insisted that his emails did not have an angry tone, but rather in his exact words, “Sometimes when I am typing something, I get so excited that my finger gets stuck on the key.” He insisted when he used caps lock and excessive punctuation, it was either a mistake or had no undertones whatsoever. Sometimes his emails were simply douchey. Other times his emails were downright confusing. Once, I asked him a pretty straightforward question via email and his reply was exactly this, and only this:

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

(This guy had a few things to learn about the interwebs. He once asked a donor for money by posting a request on her Facebook Wall…a whole different post could be devoted to this guy.)

Yesterday, I was trying to figure out how I could blog about this problem in an educational manner, without coming across as a grammar-Nazi. After all, I can fully admit to my share of typos and email snafus. I don’t take issue with the grammar so much as the use of email to convey aggression that you would otherwise be too chicken to say to my face. Besides, it’s important for professionals to realize that the more passive aggressive you are with your emails, the less likely you are to be respected as a professional, ahem, Judith Griggs.

I shared my frustrations with a former colleague, Pam. She shared what I believe is one of the best instruction manuals I have ever seen. I am reprinting her words here with permission. (Even though I don’t need permission because the web is public domain after all.)

OH NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

MAYBE THIS PERSON SHOULD LEARN THE PROPER WAY TO RIGHT AN EMAIL.  THE STEPS FOLLOW:

  1. IF YOU REALLY WANT TO GRAB THE ATTENTION OF YOUR READER…TYPE YOUR MESSAGE IN ALL CAPS.  THIS ENSURES THAT YOU RELAY JUST HOW UPSET YOU ARE THAT YOU HAVE TO ASK FOR SOMETHING THAT YOU THINK THEY SHOULD HAVE ALREADY DONE.
  2. WHEN FOLLOWING A QUESTION WITH THREE QUESTION MARKS YOU FAIL TO GET THE POINT ACROSS.  IF YOU ARE GOING TO TAKE THE TIME TO TYPE 3 QUESTION MARKS, GO AHEAD AND TYPE IN A WHOLE LINE OF THEM SO THE PERSON REALLY KNOWS HOW CONFUSED YOU ARE.  THE SAME GOES WITH EXCLAMATION POINTS.  TWO IS BETTER THAN ONE, BUT FIFTY REALLY DRIVES IT HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  3. ALWAYS, AND I MEAN ALWAYS, END YOUR INFLAMMATORY EMAILS WITH A “THANK YOU” OR “THANKS” FOR SHORT.  THE READER WILL ASSUME THIS IS CONDESCENDING IN NATURE CONCLUDING THAT YOU REALLY DON’T MEAN IT.  TO ADD MORE INSULT SIMPLY END YOUR MESSAGE WITH “YOU’RE THE BEST, I KNEW I COULD COUNT ON YOU!”

Some people are so old-school.  They haven’t quite caught up with the new “trendy” ways of communicating via email.

Thanks for the laugh, Pam. And we all thank you for this handy instruction manual.

2 thoughts on “3 Easy Steps to Douchey Email Writing

  1. Had to quit a job because my “supervisor” only communicated via email (never in person) and it was all like those you wrote about. Here are other tips for clueless Executive Net-iquette:

    1) ALWAYS DO EMOTIONAL THINGS VIA EMAIL. THIS WAY YOU DON’T HAVE TO LOOK PEOPLE IN THE EYE. FIRE PEOPLE. BREAK UP WITH YOUR BOYFRIEND. MISREPRESENT THE TRUTH.

    2) BEGIN EVERY LINE WITH, “I TAKE EXCEPTION TO….” or if you cannot manage that phrase, “I TAKE ISSUE WITH…” AND THEN PROCEED WITH YOUR ISSUE. ALWAYS BE SURE TO REFERENCE SOME SITUATION FOR WHICH YOU NEVER ACTUALLY SHOWED UP IN PERSON.

    3) COPY ANY DIFFERENCE OF OPINION YOU HAVE WITH YOUR SUBORDINATE TO YOUR IMMEDIATE SUPERVISOR!!!! SO THEY THINK YOUR SUBORDINATE IS CRAP. EVEN IF THE SUBORDINATE MIGHT BE VERY KNOWLEDGEABLE IN THE AREA WITH WHICH YOU “TAKE ISSUE”!!!!!!

    4) BE SURE TO TAKE CREDIT FOR EVERYTHING GOOD YOUR “SUBORDINATE” ACHIEVED, EVEN IF IT MEANS LYING…FOR EXAMPLE SAYING YOU PLANNED SOME SUCCESSFUL EVENT YOUR SUBORDINATE SPENT MANY HOURS PLANNING FOR AND ACTUALLY SHOWED UP FOR AND FOR WHICH YOU DIDN’T EVEN BOTHER TO SHOW UP!!!!

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