“I’m sure it’s buried somewhere in my email…”
I never understood the true burden of email until I started a professional job. Sure, I used Gmail at school for projects, editing newspaper articles and getting Google alerts. The closest I came to being buried in my email was receiving maybe 20 plus drafts of newspaper articles ready to review, and I thought that was worrying to sift through. Accomplishment and relief arrived when I could get my inbox down to 0 unread. Also, let’s not forget the cutesy email we used in grade school to set up Myspace accounts.
Nevertheless, there I sat Monday reviewing emails for a good portion of my morning. Let me clarify, I am not in a senior position at work and am hardly as busy as someone twice my age. I think my mother has more than 5,000 unread emails and I’m probably low-balling that. However, this process is new to me and I find it overwhelming quite frankly.
Just seeing the number of emails is intimidating, let alone trying to answer them. Honestly most of the time it’s “please see the cc’d above for assistance” or “yes, I can get you access to that.” There are also times when people send you emails and you think, really? You sit literally 10 feet away from me and couldn’t have resolved this with a quick visit or phone call. Spoiler alert, email can be used as a vehicle for passive aggressive behavior and conflict avoidance. Many people in the working world don’t have a grasp of choosing the right communication for their message. I am no master, but my experience in the communication field has helped me understand when to use what medium.
Glaring at your inbox and willing it to reduce doesn’t work. So you have to read and maybe reply. Receiving an email that simply says “ok thanks” without proper capitalization or punctuation at first startled me. My grammar isn’t always perfect, but my journalism background kept my tied to an AP Stylebook for many years. Concern would wash over me, as to why the sender didn’t carefully craft an email to me as I would them. Months into my job I realized that for the most part, they weren’t being rude – they were being efficient. I still value thoughtful, carefully-considered emails in which my recipient feels like I took more than five seconds to write it. Immediate worry doesn’t fill my mind now when I see a terse email from a coworker, usually.
Writing about emails just makes me stressed about looking at tomorrow’s arrivals.