Saturday, January 16, 2010

Time flies when you're too lazy to write

Has it really been four months? Doesn't seem that long, but I just checked this thing for the first time in a while and realized my last post on here was September 2nd. Well, I guess I'm getting a little of the writing bug again, we'll see how long it lasts.

I've been meaning to write a post about this subject for a while, and have had any number of occasions to do so. The last reminder was a couple weeks back when I did one of those dumb your year in status updates on facebook and one of mine that randomly came up was that I thought the three worst things ever created by man were nuclear weapons, high fructose corn syrup and Michael Kay. I still believe that those are all awful, but I'd like to add a 4th:

The reply to all button is one of the worst things ever created by man. I first learned this during my law firm days. People reading this who know me (approximately 100% of those reading) have probably heard the story. Our firm had different e-mail addresses for the different offices around the world, as well as an e-mail that would go to every employee at every firm in every office. Occasionally, someone would accidentally use that email when they only meant to email one office, and hilarity would ensue. Until, of course, a woman in the Houston office accidentally emailed the world asking whether anyone was interested in adopting two puppies from a friend. When I got the email, I quickly saw what happened and was waiting for other people to send out some fun responses. But, about two minutes later, one person, who apparently was a partner in London wrote (to EVERYONE):

Just make sure they don't go to a Chinese restaurant.

I'm sorry what? I'm not a fan of the excessively PC stuff that happens in our society sometimes but even I know this was stupid. Even if he had just sent it to her, it would have been stupid. But, he hit reply to all. Even worse, our e-mail system would warn you when you hit that button, "You have selected Reply to All, do you wish to proceed?"

Well needless to say, the response wasn't too good. He didn't get fired, but apparently some stiff financial penalties followed and the reputation of my employer definitely suffered. Lesson learned, never hit reply to all.

Now to my current job situation. I haven't seen anything like the story above in this new job, but something even possibly more annoying: the reply to all used as a pile on to show how GREAT EVERYTHING IS!!!!!

A few times per week, we'll get an email from one of the managers about something good: could be anything from a co-worker getting some really good feedback from a customer to someone bringing in bagels for everyone. For some reason, a large number of my co-workers feel the need to reply to these emails, to EVERYONE, throwing in their two cents.

Wow, great job!

Way to go!

Thanks for breakfast it was yummy!


Oh, sorry, that last one is just what I'm thinking when I get 10 0f these in a row. When I get a bunch of these, I really start to think about the mindset of the people who respond. Are they genuinely happy for the people getting the good feedback? If so, why not just write back to that person or say congrats when you seem them later? I think it has nothing to do with the person or thing at issue. I have a feeling the thought is that if you respond to these emails showing some happiness (which again, are sent by our managers), you show that you are a part of the team and are on board with what the managers are trying to do. I guess that's a smart thing to do to a certain extent, but I've never been one to play ball when it's just silly. And maybe I'm just an asshole (ok that's likely), but making sure 40 people know I think the bagels were AWESOME!!! is definitely silly.


  1. Awesome post Veeder! Reply all is the devil.

  2. Way to go.
    Good job.
    Atta boy.
    Glad to see you returned to the blogosphere