Becky says things about … work emails

Ah, the work email. A minefield of misinterpretation, ambiguity and passive aggression. I once received an email that was so laden with classic passive aggressive venom that I’m surprised it managed to waddle into my inbox:

Hideous, yes? No. Being a happily passive aggressive person myself, this gruesome missive in fact provided me with the holy grail: the Smug Passive Aggressive Email Counter Attack. I swiftly responded with:

Listeners, that gem of an email encounter kept me going for weeks. 

Aren’t work emails fantastic? Oh, the multitudinous ways you can imply that you consider the email recipient to be a moron! The unabashed glee of being able to write ‘For clarity…’, knowing full well that the email recipient will, quite correctly, translate that short phrase to mean ‘To hammer home this point that has been made literally millions of times before and which you seem incapable of grasping and which is screamingly obvious to the other 3,407 people who are copied in to this email, who now also see that you are a monumental luddite…’

The giddy revelry of beginning an email with ‘Thank you for your email’, being completely aware that the recipient will – again, correctly – translate it as ‘I am about to launch into the most scathing attack on the pitiful incompetence you have displayed in your previous email and I will do it under the guise of polite professionalism so there’s no way you can complain that the obvious subtext is YOU’RE A MASSIVE DICK’.

And, if you’re very lucky, the perfect beauty of being able to end an email with ‘Happy to discuss’, which basically means:

But emailing is not all glee and smugness.

You must deal with non-responders.

There are various levels of non-responders, dependent upon their previous experience of not responding, their incompetence, and their inherent knobbishness. They all deserve a lifetime of misery.

The softcore non-responder will be embarrassed into submission after a couple of ‘I look forward to hearing from you’s, and may well display some contrition in their eventual response, however unfeeling:

The hardcore non-responder is a different beast. The hardcore non-responder will retreat into a mire of silence, sit back in their chair and simply watch as your emails get more and more desperate and less veiled with professionalism.

The hardcore-non responder is not even flustered by the dynamite of passive-aggressive email tools: the Read Receipt. A hardcore non-responder simply will not accept your Read Receipt, and therefore you have no way of knowing whether you are emailing a rude person or a dead person.

But there is a level above that: the extreme hardcore non-responder. This Dr Evil of the workplace will accept your Read Receipt, knowing that this will trick you into thinking that, as they have definitely seen your email, they will, at some point, respond.

So after 2 years and 437 increasingly demonic emails from you, it becomes patently clear that this extreme non-responder saw your email and made the conscious decision that you are not worthy of a response, and, they not only do not care that you know this but they want you to know this. 

This warrants only one response.


Then there are the email typos.

Unless you have actually made this mistake yourself, you won’t necessarily appreciate how perilous the innocuous phrase ‘Kind regards’ is, and how the proximity of certain letters to other letters can result in a potentially catastrophic email sign-off:

Fortunately, in the half-second before I pressed ‘Send’, my eyes fell on my terrible error, and my left hand was able to stop my right hand from committing a potential disciplinary.

And as for email greetings and sign-offs – well. Just look what a difference it makes.

This is okay, isn’t it?

Then this. This is not okay.

What about the accidental kisses? A strongly worded email to your local MP advising them that you think they are a useless sack of balls is slightly undermined by:

Equally, a misplaced ‘xx’ at the end of an email attaching a job application may as well scream ‘I WILL SUCK YOUR TOES IF YOU GIVE ME THIS JOB’.

I look forward to your comments.

Best wishes

Becky xx

SHAMELESS PLUG:

I publish greetings cards! If you fancy one (or two, or three, or ten), check out my shop on Etsy here! 

A few lovely examples…

 

 

 

Becky says things about … monstrous things about working in an office

Fairest and most magnificent Listeners, I salute you.

Do you work in an office? Yes? No? Not sure? (If you’re not sure I suggest you rethink your suitability to the workplace in general.)

If you work in an office, as I have done for the last five years, then you will understand that it holds many joys. To name but a few:

  •  office banter (only yesterday I mused out loud ‘What’s my password?’ and my boss replied ‘ ‘I’m a fuckwit’?’);
  • office pranks (who doesn’t enjoy covering every single item on their colleague’s desk with pictures of David Hasselhoff?);
  • office cakes (raspberry lamington from Jean in Finance, anyone?);
  • office insults (tip: insert any office or stationary item before the word ‘wanker’ i.e. ‘hole-punch wanker’ or ‘spreadsheet wanker’ (isn’t it fun? (okay, thank The Inbetweeners for that one)));
  • unbridled access to lots and lots of stationary.

Yep, working in an office can be an absolute joy.

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HOWEVER.

There are some truly monstrous things about working in an office. Things that make you question the very nature of human existence and contemplate the annihilation thereof. Take a deep breath, oh trusting Listener, and dare to face, in no particular order,

MONSTROUS THINGS ABOUT WORKING IN AN OFFICE

1. The Toilets

Forget the ‘in no particular order’ thing, this is definitely the number 1 most monstrous thing.

Now, I can’t speak for you blokes. I do not frequent the men’s toilets and therefore can’t make legitimately scathing remarks about your sanitation habits. However, I am extremely qualified to be scathing about the women’s toilets. Picture this: you have been on the phone for an hour. The person on the other end will not shut up and you are about to suffer an MBM (Mortifying Bladder Malfunction). You finally get off the phone, sprint to the toilets, barge through a cubicle door, and are faced with this:

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That’s right. The woman who used this toilet before you deemed it appropriate – necessary, even – to defy social convention and wee on the toilet instead of in the toilet. Yes, menfolk, it’s not just you who suffer the odd wayward wee. The sight you see above happens ALL.THE.TIME.

And I know who the culprits are. They are The Crouchers. The women who cannot bear to have their precious behinds touch the odious filth of the toilet seat.

I have three things to say to The Crouchers:

a) The toilet seat was not odiously filthy before you crouched over it to avoid touching its odious filthiness. It was odiously filthy after you crouched over it to avoid touching its odious filthiness, thus making it odiously filthy. Do not crouch. Your wee will go wayward. You are odiously filthy.

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b) Unless you are odiously filthy yourself, you would never, ever, be fine with leaving your own toilet in your own home in that it odious state. That is how The Plague started. If you must crouch, clean it up. For the love of God. Clean it up.

c) Your wee is always, without fail, always, this colour:

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You are not drinking enough water.  Drink some water.

2. When People Don’t Respond

Imagine you meet your friend at the pub. You’ve got a lot to chat about. You sit down in front of her and the following occurs:

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Aside from being a very unsuccessful night out, there may be a number of reasons why she is not responding to you:

  1. She has taken a vow of silence.
  2. She can’t be bothered.
  3. She is in a bad mood and just doesn’t want to talk.
  4. She is abominably rude.
  5. She hasn’t noticed you are there.
  6. She is dead.

Whatever the reason, it will exasperate, peeve, and infuriate you. That’s what it’s like when people don’t respond to emails. It makes you want to send an email along these lines:

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They still won’t respond.

3. When You Don’t Respond

So you got on your high horse about people not responding to your emails. You curse their incompetence and their appalling rudeness. You would never do such a crass and unprofessional thing. Then you receive the following email:

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Realising you are not perfect is a harsh cross to bear. A harsh cross.

4. Food Smells

You understand that people need to eat at certain times of the day. You yourself have a lovely ham and cheese sandwich in the fridge that you are very much looking forward to. But some of your colleagues are insistent that they must feast on the smelliest of foods for their lunch and think nothing of inflicting these pungent aromas on the rest of the office. Is last night’s curry necessary? Mexican? Smoked mackerel? Chinese cabbage? A chilli so spicy that it causes the rest of the office workers’ eyes to fall out?

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This is monstrous.

5. Colleagues who provide a running commentary on their daily activities 

You know the sort I mean. The colleagues who lack an interior monologue. Who tell you everything. I mean everything, from how many emails they have in their inbox, to how they have responded to said emails, to which documents they have just printed, to their intention to rise from their chair to collect said document from the printer, to how they have just inserted a formula into a spreadsheet, to how they are waiting for someone to respond to an email and how they are going to heat up last night’s curry for lunch.

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It is unnecessary. Unnecessary and monstrous.

6. The Fire Alarm Test

Despite the fact it happens every week, on the same day, at the same time, it will still take a year off your life and give you a small heart attack.

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7. People who leave long voicemails

We’ve all had them. The ones that begin: ‘Hi, it’s Barry – just after a quick catch-up on mousemat situation…..’

THREE HOURS PASS

‘…. anyway, give me a buzz when you’re back and we’ll chat about it.’

Please, Barry.

‘Hi it’s Barry, give me a call back when you can’ will suffice. Listen to me, Barry. Life’s too short.

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8. Technology

Our world is very high-tech. Isn’t it great? Of course it is. We don’t need to use pens anymore, we can send messages across the world at the click of a button, we can do anything, ANYTHING.

Except that we can’t.

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9. People who have in-depth conversations in inappropriate places

Namely: by the sinks or fridge in the kitchen or in the toilets. How many times have you been frightened to retrieve your salad from the fridge because these people are standing right in front of the fridge?

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Perhaps more monstrously, why do people choose to reveal their deepest, darkest secrets in the toilets? Toilet conversations are best left for nightclubs, where you can cry, shout, or throw up in the sink to your heart’s content, and everyone else is too drunk to notice or care. I appreciate that you may be concerned about your son’s marijuana habit – although you should be grateful it’s not heroin or sheep (terrible thing, a sheep habit) – but when I go to the toilet I do not want to hear your conversation, just like you do not want to hear my tinkling. I’d like to tinkle in private thank you very much. Hearing about your son’s marijuana habit a foot away from me as I sit on the toilet gives me stage fright and I’ll just have to sit there not weeing until you leave.

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Yes, I know. It’s been a painful journey of monstrous situations, many of which you may have experienced only today. And you will experience them again tomorrow. And the next day. And the next.

But keep smiling. It’s Friday tomorrow.