Another Rant About Email Etiquette

You’ve heard me fuss about email before…spam, forwards, reply-to-all…I’m adding another one to the list. CC’ing people into the middle of a one-on-one discussion. OMG, where do I begin.

Before I tell you the present story, let me mention some past occurrences. My first point is that, as the director, I feel like I’ve been entrusted to make decisions and solve problems. I was hired, so I must have made the impression that I am capable of doing this. And I feel like I do a pretty good job. I’m open, I listen, I gather the facts…then I make a decision. In other words, I like to be able to handle things on my level. I feel like upper management (above me) is generally interested in the fact that the problem got solved to the benefit of the organization. The day-to-day workings and conversations not so much. Simply that it got worked out.

Soon after I was hired, there were many transition snags and fresh methodology. Problems arose; it has to be expected. In one such case, I was emailing with a person back and forth for a while, coming up with a plan when suddenly in the CC field appeared the head of the school’s name. Say what? We were handling the situation just fine, but before it reached its conclusion, the big boss was brought into the middle of it. So now we have to bring her up to speed, which takes more time and frankly, wastes time. To me, when the solution is reached, then we can let her know and see if she approves.

Sorry but CC’ing someone in like that is the electronic version of tattling. It’s unprofessional, inconsiderate, and certainly not amiable.

So to today’s story. A couple weeks ago I had to make an unforeseen schedule change to our curriculum. Unfortunately, the instructor assigned could no longer teach the course so the chairman was then tasked with finding someone else. I was very apologetic and explained why it happened. Fine. Today he emails me to say he has an instructor, that it was very difficult, and he was frustrated by not having any information to give her.

He CC’ed this to the Vice President of Instruction and the President of the college. W…T…F… In both cases, I feel slightly offended personally. By interrupting our conversation to bring in someone else, it makes me feel like they don’t think I’m performing adequately and they need to let the bosses know.

I’ve grown so tired of this petty “look what he made me do; I’ve got to let the higher ups know” crap, I called him out on it. And yes, I clicked reply-to-all. I made it very clear–again–why it occurred, thanked him for working so hard, and showed my gratitude that everything will work out to the benefit of the students. I also questioned why he felt he needed to bring in the heads of the school to a solved situation and that I’m sure they’ll be happy to know we worked it out. I also told him I find it much more amiable (I like that word) to handle our local problems on our level.

So folks, just stop and think before you click that Send button. Seriously…

Another Rant About Email Etiquette

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