I’ve just finished reading Lucy Kellaway’s "Who moved my blackberry?" a hilarious send-up of the workplace that utilizes blackberry-generated e-mails to tell the story of Martin Lukes, a hard-charging, power-hungry executive who is totaly clueless about his dysfunctional digital manners.
Lukes sends notes to his personal assistant that are demeaning and highly offensive. He sends others to his two sons that try to make him appear hip, but come across quite differently. He also inadvertently sends a love note to his comely, new PA that goes out to the 37,000 employees of the entire company by mistake. There’s much, much more and the use of the blackberry e-mail to tell the story is oh so cool and different.
Btw, Lukes’ gaffe of sending a personal love note to the entire staff sent shivers up and down my spine as I recalled several such incidents from the early days of e-mails. On one occasion, I had sent an inappropriately worded e-mail to a couple of fellow workers commenting on a particuarly abusive client. Needless to say, the client was inadvertently copied on the e-mail. The fallout wasn’t pretty. Another time, one of our crack account managers felt it appropriate to share a highly risque e-mail joke with a major, blue-chip Fortune 500 client.
The backlash still has that particular individual shaking in his boots.
E-mail communications have become part of the overall image of an individual and an organization. How we frame our e-mails reflects directly on our professionalism. Or lack thereof. I’ve seen any number of typo-riddled cover notes and resumes sent my way that I’ve immediately delated. On the other hand, carefully-worded e-mails can impress me.
Reading "Who moved my blackberry?" should be required for anyone in today’s workplace. It not only shows how e-mails can be misinterpreted, but can actually damage relationships. It’s also funny as hell.