Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Professional E-Mails

I shouldn't have opened my email the night before returning to the Dean's office. Okay, it was great to know that I have to be handing out flowers for someone who survived 25 years in this place (seriously: how did they do that?). And I see my schedule for tomorrow. Loads of appointments with people who need my signature RIGHT now. And the emails with notices that apparently not all of the adjuncts actually have signed contracts does worry me a bit. But hey, classes don't start until Tuesday. We have plenty of time.

I get to have some chitchat with the new proffies and was sending out an email letting them know how much I look forward to seeing them tomorrow. Oops. I think they need my sermon on how to have multiple email addresses in order to keep your private life and your professional life separate.

Proffie #5 (out of 8, we did a lot of hiring!) has an email address that refers to the size of his, um, organ. And no, we didn't hire him for Sacred Music. Okay, I'll slap official emails on them tomorrow and insist they use them. Especially when writing to students. I don't want to start the year off with sexual harassment suits.

Dean Suzy

1 comment:

  1. Works for proffies, staff and snowflakes alike...

    Pieces of Eight: A Prescription for The Tyranny of the Inbox

    Every professional environment has its own approach towards email. In knowledge-based organizations, employees are deeply reliant on email. Some in these organizations can remember a time when they did not have an email queue to manage (in addition to people and projects). Consider the two or more hours a day --time that once could have been spent developing employees or advancing mission-- “the tyranny of the inbox”.

    * Is this email necessary? If the recipient sits within visual range and the transaction can be accomplished with a face to face transaction: consider that method instead. If you can’t see the intended recipient: do they have a telephone, and can it substitute for the email you are about to send?

    * Is this attachment necessary? My system administrators turn off my ability to send mail when my inbox exceeds 100 MB in size. The attachment you just sent with large images may force me to stop work and create new personal folders to get out of the penalty box. Similarly, if you’re going to scan a document and send me a .pdf: please use settings that reduce the file size instead of bloating it. Got shared network space, a wiki or web space? Send me the link instead. I have enough files already.

    * What’s the *real* subject. Please don’t send email with cryptic subject lines: “Question” is among my favorites. Tell me what your question is or what your story is about in the subject line.

    * (For communications from non-organizational machines): Please get an email address (from your Internet provider, Yahoo, or Google) that tells me who you are. “golfnut10@aol.com: or “zepplinfan@hotmail.com” doesn’t do this. Save those addresses for your friends and family. For professional communications: please use *your* name in the address.

    * When you send me an email: don’t assume I’m sitting at my computer staring at my incoming mail queue all day long. I might be in a meeting. I might be writing something that’s *not* email; I turn off my email client when I do this. I might be talking with a coworker or walking around to find out what the newest challenges this day has brought to the 32 employees I’m responsible for. Even if it’s really “Urgent” and even if it really is “Response required”, please don’t assume I’m reading it in the minute after you send it. Email is for time-shifted, asynchronous communication. If it’s really urgent: call me or visit me.

    * Format your email as plain text please. HTML and Outlook rich text fonts don’t necessarily render faithfully in non-Windows, non-Outlook email tools. Don’t assume everybody is using one.

    • Most modern email tools have excellent rules-based filtering. I may well have one set up for you; consider doing the same for me.

    * Got sensitive, personnel -privileged content in your email? Remember: it’s all subject to Privacy Act/Public Information and Equal Opportunity queries. I’m happy to place all my decisions up for scrutiny; be sure that you are too.


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