About ten years ago, one radio station in Buffalo did a segment called Pet Peeve Tuesdays. Listeners were given the opportunity to call in and voice their biggest pet peeves over the airways. I never called in, but I always listened with envy at how liberating it must feel to put it all out there. In an effort to give my blog a little more structure, I decided to implement Pet Peeve Thursdays. Each Thursday, I will write about a major pet peeve that I have. In the comments section, feel free to get your own irritations off your chest. If you are easily offended, you may want to skip reading this section. In the past, I have tried to be mindful of the feelings of others, making sure not to be too brash in my statements. The problem is that one of the reasons I started a blog in the first place was so that I would have an outlet by which to share my happiness, as well as vent my frustrations. In other words, feelings will no longer be spared here.
Today, my pet peeve is unprofessional emails. Just as with spoken words, there are some email conversations that are appropriate for work, while others are better suited for close friends in a private setting. When I send an email to a friend, it may be a few paragraphs, or it may be a simple one-liner. Sometimes I get lazy and forgo the use of apostrophes. Slang almost always finds a place in these emails. However when I am sending an email from my work address, it will always reflect the lessons I learned in English classes throughout the years. Proper grammar and use of the spell check feature is a must. And OMG, I am never, ever LMAO in a professional email. You see, through my email address I am a representative of the company I work for. I take that role pretty seriously. The company takes my role seriously as well, so much so that I had to interview with the Vice President of my division before being considered. But regardless of the role I fill, I am ultimately a representative of the company. There is a certain code of conduct that I am expected to adhere to.
With that being said, I received an email recently from a representative of a company that I work with pretty frequently and had I not taken the time to actually read it, I would have assumed she sent it to me in error. Initially, I thought it was something intended for her kid sister. It was a request for legal documents in capital letters. CAPITAL LETTERS. And the letters were red. Now I understand that in this day and age, we would like to see our requests filled as soon as they roll off our tongues (our keyboards for that matter), but general business practice permits a 24 to 48 hour turnaround for such requests. Stop shouting at me with your capital red letters. And using multiple question marks when asking a question will not help me understand you any more clearly. Yes, I can see that you have a question. Are two question marks the equivalent of raising your hand and waiting to be called on? Furthermore, exclamation marks are rarely necessary in a business email. Especially not when initially submitting your request. Despite what you may think, multiple explanation marks don’t tell me that YOU MEAN BUSINESS!!!! *insert sarcastic face* They tell me that you are probably not very familiar with the requirements of your own job, and that you waited until the last minute to complete a major task. Now, (as Quadir Habeeb would have said) you expect your lack of planning to become my emergency.
In case you are wondering, I did not respond in capital red letters. I also didn’t use exclamation marks to make my point. I professionally explained that I would be happy to provide the documents she requested via email in a pdf as soon as the proper signatures had been obtained, and that she would receive them within the next 24 hours. The request was fulfilled in time, with use of size 10 Arial font. She may have thought herself the victor but in the end, I was the one with the superior communication skills. One point for me.