Saturday, December 06, 2014

Imaginary email responses (a cranky post)

I'm rewatching The Office on Netflix while folding laundry, because it is more soothing than getting stressed out about the work I'm not doing when I'm folding laundry, and laundry constitutes a delightful break in the day at this point in the semester. Those of you who watched The Office may remember when Pam tried to get people to reply to the wedding invitations she sent out.  Short version: no one would send an RSVP. Kelly said she'd only come if Ryan would be there. Meredith said she'd text Pam on the morning of the wedding for driving directions. Ryan said he liked to keep things loose. On and on.

That episode struck a chord with me.  Some of these are hypothetical; others, not so much.
  • If you send me an email that says nothing more than "See attached," here's a news flash: I have an equally terse two-word reply in mind that I am too polite to send.  Best case scenario: I open the attachment and don't respond. Usual case scenario: it goes into the junk mail file immediately.
  • If I've asked you to respond to a poll so I can schedule a meeting, and you reply with a message listing all the various times you are not available but never answering the poll, here's a pro tip for you: I'm not going to enter them into the poll for you, or indeed take any notice of your special unavailability at all. If you think I care more about having you at the meeting than you care about being there, let's just call it a grievous error of judgment on your part.  Just click on the link and fill in the poll like the rest of us.
  • If I ask you to fill out a form and you write back with an email saying "you know I always do X and Y," do you think I will fill out the form because your time is so much more important than mine? Seriously? If the most eminent people at the university are courteous enough to take the time to fill it out (and they do; maybe that's how they got to be eminent), you can do it, too. Get over yourself.
  • If I write to ask you a question after a lengthy email exchange during which you changed your mind 5 times, would it kill you to answer the question instead of saying"I thought we cleared that up"? If we "cleared it up," I wouldn't be writing to ask you the question, now, would I?
  • If after failing to respond, you send me an aggrieved email that you or your wishes were not considered, that sound you hear is me playing the world's tiniest violin for your distress. Oh, and also shuffling your complaint to the bottom of my considerable email pile.  
  • I am also not interested in a lot of attitude if you outrank me in the academic worldsphere. Unless your 10-line self-promotional sig file includes the name "God, Ph.D." I am unimpressed with your attitude and will take special pains to indicate that. 
  • Edited to add: Northern Clime University, I love you, but at this point in the semester when we're already drowning in email, could you please refrain from sending those all-employee messages every day about "Next Tuesday is take your kitten to work day!" and such?


Janice said...

The see attached bit drives me RIGHT UP THE WALL.

*hates on it a little bit more*

Fie upon this quiet life! said...

Omg. Yes to all of this. Who do people think they are? Apparently, God, PhD. Argh!!

I also watch TV while folding/putting away laundry. I find that it's the only incentive that can make me do such a boring, yet necessary task. Sometimes I mix it up and use audiobooks during that time. That was how I fell in love with Paradise Lost.

Notorious Ph.D. said...

I am trying to tame the e-mail beast, so I'm with you on the many, many nonessesntial e-mails that come pouring in faster than I can keep up with them. EVERYBODY PLEASE STOP TALKING TO ME.

undine said...

Janice--I have a special and complete hatred for "see attached." What, the writer couldn't be bothered to write 10 words to tell me what it's about? Let me join you in the "hates on it a little bit more."

Fie--ever since I discovered Netflix for laundry, I look forward to laundry. Pathetic, but true.

Notorious--And why do the nonessential emails ramp up this time of year? It looks as though *someone* doesn't have enough work to do, but that person wouldn't be me.

PhysioProffe said...

Why do you hate kittens!?!?!?!?!?

xykademiqz said...

Hehe -- loving a good rant!

undine said...

CPP--Heh-I would totally be all over a "take your kitten to work day," if only the actual announcements were that interesting.