Friday, May 28, 2010

Why I Hate Email

Can I just vent a little? (thanks)

This has been bugging me for some time now. Is it so hard to respond to emails? I mean, really? Do some people just have really bloated egos or something that they think they're too busy and too important to respond to your email in a timely manner? Do some people just think that when someone emails them something, like say, a question, that they're just asking the question for fun and that they're not really expecting an answer? Do some people just think that by ignoring an email, the problem will disappear and the sender will magically and conveniently forget about sending the email in the first place? AHHH!

How about a little bit of email courtesy, huh?? For example, when you receive an email that is asking you a question or when there is an expectation on their part for you to deliver information back to them, the professional thing to do would be to email them promptly with a response. And by promptly, I mean within a day or two, or even three.

Is that asking too much?!

So let's say you really are too busy and unable to respond, is it really that hard to type a quickie wee little note in the interim like, "Hey, thanks for writing, but can I get back to you later on this?" or "Great question, I don't know right now, but please try checking in with me next week," or even a "Sorry, I'm really swamped right now, I promise I will look at this later," is great and much better than nothing.

I just HATE it when instead my emails are ignored and I am left with just waiting. I don't even mind following up, I understand when things come up, when emails get accidently overlooked or when things really are too crazed. But when it happens all the time, then I know there is a problem. Makes me just want to scream and cut my head off.

Seriously, how unprofessional. How rude. And how inconsiderate. Email courtesy has to be some kind of skill, don't you think? Because I've known some very busy and very important people who can manage to respond to emails promptly. And when they do, it makes me feel good, it makes me feel like I'm important to them, like my thoughts and questions matter. On the other hand, when it gets to feeling like I'm sending emails to some inbox stationed in outer space in some other galaxy far, far away, I just feel lousy, belittled and super frustrated. (Can you tell yet?)

If you're noticing a pattern of not being able to respond to emails promptly because of your heavy workload or because of your demanding schedule, then in my opinion, it's time to reorganize and make-over your time management system. Or, if you're the type of person who sees and reads emails but chooses to purposefully ignore them, then shame on you!!

I admit that in several cases, no response to emails has led me to just figure stuff out on my own, but that was when I was I new and entry-level. I probably did ask some dumb questions. But now that I'm older, I've learned that what you send in an email should be well thought out beforehand because it is also courteous of the sender to do her part in solving problems on her own and simply getting the job done, perhaps in a different way than originally planned.

Either way, I can't help but notice over the years that there are some people who simply have no courtesy or professionalism when it comes to email. Probably the nicest, not just most professional thing you can do as a working professional, is to respond to your emails in a timely manner. It's just good karma, and we could all use a little more in this world.

Ok, deep breaths. Thanks ladies for letting me get that off my chest. Any thoughts?


Eilis said...

I've been following your blog for a little while now and absolutely love it. As for the email, let me just say AMEN! My boss notoriously doesn't respond to emails because she is "too busy" and receives "more than 60 emails a day and can't tell which ones are junk and which ones are legitimate questions/emails." It makes me want to tear my hair out. I've had to put projects on hold because my original emails and follow-up emails were never answered. gah.

Suz said...

Oh I agree - I get overwhelmed myself sometimes but at least write a quickie "hey I'm swamped mind if I reply in 3 days". Then they know I at least GOT the email. Valid Rant!

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I always tell my students that I will respond to their e-mails within 1 day, just because I have so much other stuff to do. But some of them get upset if I don't respond within a few hours and will send e-mails that start with "I have yet to get a response from you..." That always irks me.

But as far as personal e-mails go, I agree that even just a quick response is better than none. It's all about common courtesy.

Anonymous said...

oh gosh, i completely agree with you! at my work place i have put on a 24 hour limit to respond to e-mail. if you don't respond in 24 hours, that's very unprofessional. i ask people to at least write back if they can't respond in 24 hours and say "received your e-mail, working on it" just so i know they received it and it's not floating around somewhere on the internet.

citygal said...

I also hate when people don't respond to texts or bbm's that ask a legit question. Those people usually don't end up staying my friend either.

Twenty Impressions said...

I completely agree! I get anxiety if I know there's been an e-mail in my inbox for over 24 hours that I haven't answered in some form. It baffles me how some people would be completely at ease ignoring a message altogether. How do they sleep at night? ;)

On the upside, I've been able to pinpoint the non-responders and will phone them directly or hover outside their office if I have a question, rather than wait in e-mail limbo for days.

Anonymous said...

You would have to define what is timely. There is research that examines how people precieve an email. It depends on the time, etc. It also depends on the power relationship of the person you are sending it. You should look up the research:

The Beta Female said...

Yep going crazy right now waiting for replies to emails to my boss who never writes me back. Actually what really pisses me off is when I email someone, and while waiting for a reply, I GET an email from the person who I wrote to, about something else, so I know they're in their freakin email box, but still no reply from them about what I sent them previously.

Right now I am email response hell. The lack of response from my boss is making me nervous that I am going to get fired. I've missed a bunch of days due to being sick and I didn't get well fast enough so I'm afraid she thinks I am a wimpy, useless employee now.

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