November 25, 2013

Office humor

Back in 2000 or so, office email was "normal". People just asked their colleagues their questions and gave technical feedback etc with an occasional thanks if the other person did something really helpful. Around 2003 or so, i started noticing a strange trend. Few people started adding Thanks at the end of many emails. This trend got picked up and soon, everyone started adding Thanks to their emails. I started doing that too because I didn't want anyone to think that I am disrespectful. But some folks started taking this too far. They added a permanent "Thanks" to their signature. Even if THEY were helping ME out, they would end up thanking me because of this. It was like, "hey thanks for giving me a chance to help you, you are so good". Some emails would be like:

Subject: Thank you!
Thank you for sending me the document.
Thanks again!


At some point, I got fed up thanking profusely for every silly thing. Now I only thank people who are really doing a favor to me. I just use one of the variety of Regards like Warm Regards, Best Regards or Kind Regards (whatever that means).

We all know that some people are really good technically but they can't use correct grammer in emails. one such incident. One of my previous managers sent an email to all the team members with subject "Take leave today". I seriously thought "wow such a good manager, he is asking all of us to take leave. maybe we worked so hard, wow great man!". So, I immediately took off. Only on the way home, I saw the full content of the email. It seems HE was taking the day off because he was sick. His email subject should have been "Taking leave today". many times, i had to read the email twice to even understand the english part.

Another mishap that usually happens is forgetting to attach documents. People send really long description of their document like, "this document covers this aspect, that aspect" etc and forget to send the document itself.

Even with all these, I prefer emails more than meetings because of the comedy that happens in the so-called brainstorming meetings. They would call for a meeting with numerous folks from multiple teams who have no idea what each other are doing. Just setting up this meeting with a time when everyone's calendar is free itself would be a nightmare. After struggling hard, they would book a conf room for some half hour as if the hardest problems in the world were solved in half an hour!

There will be 10 people in the attendees list and 5 of them will come late (standard 15 mins). Somebody would start drawing something on the board slowly and by the time he finishes drawing using his less-than-stellar drawing skills, there will be only 5 mins left. Nothing will be decided in that 5 mins and they will resort to emails later. This is the peaceful version. There is another World War III version where everyone will fight tooth-and-nails to get their point of view across which no-one will accept anyway. Instead of all this drama, a simple email thread is far better, right?

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