Yes, it is true. E-mail is not your friend. (And no, I’m not going to digress into a Twitter or texting discussion; this is about e-mail in business.)
We’ve all seen examples of this happening – someone hits “reply to all” or copies a person that should not be copied. Well, I recently witnessed this horrible event in a very upclose way.
A team that I work closely with was sending e-mails back and forth, trying to hit some deadlines. As the team is fortunate to get along well, they started making jokes within the e-mails. Specifically, they made fun of a client. AND THEN SOMEHOW MANAGED TO COPY SAID CLIENT.
Oh, the horror! You know how they felt once it came to their attention. Think of all the emotions and thoughts they are going through:
Then, the questions probably going through their minds:
- What can we do to fix this?
- Should we do anything or let sleeping dogs lie?
- What about our individual reputations?
- What about our team reputation?
- What will the team lead do? Create new working arrangements? Leave everything alone and let it pass now that it’s been addressed?
Not the best way to start off the day. The client took the high road with the “better me than someone else” response. But what does that really mean? Anyone? Bueller?
The long and short of it is this: e-mail is not your friend. We all know that verbal sarcasm and comments go on in the workplace, but once it is written down, it is there forever. I tend to think that this is far worse than an embarrassing picture on Facebook.
What about you? What do you think? How would you handle this situation?