Egg-on-face issues – proof-read your e-mails!


CIPDAnd they said that technology was going to make life easier…

In a new job, I emailed people in a separate team to let them know there was post in our office for them. I got a reply saying my predecessor used to take it across to them. I forwarded the email to my manager to say they were taking the mickey, but hit ‘reply’ instead of ‘forward’. A very humble apology swiftly followed.

I’d just finished writing an essay about my deputy director of HR and the Great Man theory for an assignment on leadership. I went to send it to my manager to proof-read, and accidentally sent it to the deputy director. In the time it took me to panic, he was already standing at my office door with a printout and a grin from ear to ear. He still refers to himself as ‘The Great Man’.

A few friends were discussing an after-work football match over email and one of them changed his job title in his email signature to “Football Champion of the Universe”. His friends found it funny, but he had some explaining to do to a major client of the firm when he forgot to change it back.

I sent out a memo to our shift managers. Unfortunately, I left out the ‘f’.

I worked with an HR manager who was tasked with sending out the email invite to the annual company BBQ. She got creative and surfed the web for suitable pictures without wearing her glasses. The pictures were indecent and the email was quickly retracted.

I was trying to sort out an issue with a manager over email – with little success. After some correspondence, the manager sent a nasty email to my line manager, clearly as an attempt to backstab me but managed to send it to me instead. I returned it to him with my line manager copied in.

Our accounts clerk sent out an email explaining that expenses would be paid a day late that month. He apologised for any incontinence.

After a row with a difficult colleague, I emailed my partner to complain about my latest set-to with this individual. Predictably, I sent it to her instead. I’ll never forget racing round to her office hoping she was on a cigarette break and I could delete the message, only to see her very smugly reading through it… 

I was organising some training for a staff member. As she was in a separate office, I’d been trying to email her to confirm the arrangements, only she wasn’t getting back to me. I was annoyed, so I fired off an email telling her she didn’t seem to appreciate my help. I felt less smug later on, when she emailed me back to apologise – she’d been on bereavement leave.

[Extract from PM Editorial “HR Confessional: E-mail disasters” 18 Sep 2014]

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