The following is an e-mail I wrote while working in an office in Boston which enjoyed a very lively patter of non-work-related email threads that often included the entire office.  While I don’t mind this in theory, I soon realized that one can only read so many threads about how the Patriots and/or Red Sox Rule and/or Suck before one grows resentful.  Anyway I don’t think this email helped much, but apparently it still got sent out occasionally at that company, even after I’d moved on.

Dear Everyone,

I would like to suggest some guidelines for consideration before you hit ‘send’ on an e-mail to your entire office.

1)  Has someone already stated this?  Or is it very likely that there are ten other people who have just hit send and stated the same thing at this very moment?  Don’t be like them.  Be mysterious.  Play hard to get.  It’ll make us want you more.

2)  Does your e-mail contain more than five words?  If you are going to fill the e-mail boxes of a hundred people with a personal statement, does that statement really need to be sent out if it’s simply the words “I’m in”, or “ha ha good one”?  Is this statement funny enough that you’d shout it out in a crowded room full of people who are trying to work?  If not, hold your fire.

3)  Is this an in-joke, and if so, will this in-joke be understood and appreciated by more than five other people?  If not, why not just e-mail those five people?  Then you can all share a good laugh, and it won’t be over the sound of me grinding my teeth because my computer has essentially become a paperweight due to an overloaded server.

4)  Did the person in the original e-mail tell you NOT to reply to Everyone, but just to Them?  Then, yeah.  Maybe do that.

5)  Is this a question that can be answered verbally by someone in your immediate vicinity?  Or maybe with a quick Google Search?  Questions like, “Where can I catch the Red Line from here?” or “is Beer Pong that game with beer and ping-pong balls?  I like that game.”  Maybe go ahead and ask the people around you first, before you fling yourself on the mercy of the entire office.

Thank you for your time.  I hope this has been helpful, or at least passive-aggressive.  I’m not trying to stifle creativity or spontaneity here.  By all means, keep the brilliant bon mots coming.  I’m just saying I’d appreciate a little more selectivity.  For the love of pete, don’t ask the entire office what time the game starts.

-Molly

PS- a really funny thing to do, would be to reply to everyone in the office on this e-mail, and say something like, “I’m in.”  Someone do that, it’ll totally be funny.

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