This story comes to us from a business connection who we’ve known for many years. She thought this would be an excellent story – and lesson! – for our readers and we couldn’t agree more.

 

Most of us live in a digital world where what we say or what we send can end up in the hands or on the social media pages of the unintended.  Email threads go back and forth, some are sanitized or edited and we use them to inform other team members on progress and processes to make us more efficient.

Sales and customer service representatives often send instructions and threads to their technical or operation team members to inform and instruct on what a client needs delivered or solved.  It’s how we spend 50% of our work hours with email…

However, sometimes those emails can become rants about how seemingly impossible a client is, or how annoying a particular request may be, because who else could we rant to other than our own team?  We all need to let off steam, right?  Who else would understand our frustration?

Periodic ranting is something many of us feel the need to do. After a recent email mishap, I, however, have forever sworn off doing this and urgently discourage anyone from ever ranting in email.

Consider this: what if your rant ends up the inbox of the unintended – the very client you just ranted about  – instead of only going to your co-worker? (I’m still reeling from the embarrassment of this happening to me!) Could it cost your company the loss of the client? Could it cost you your job? Could the heat of the moment cause damage because you can’t “unsend” or recall?

Fortunately, my personal faux pas only cost me: a few self-flagellation hours, a sincere apology letter which was gracefully accepted by the client AND a promise to never, ever do anything like this again to myself, any client or our company. Now I vow to double-check exactly WHO I’ve copied on all email in ‘CC’, ‘BCC’ and the ‘Reply-All” options! 

Good email etiquette is something I thought I had. I keep imagining my situation differently. How might it have gone if I had just blown off steam by doing a good meditation chant, composed myself and not written the email? Just remember: once is enough to cause an avalanche of epic fail.

 

Remember: there is no UNsend button, so always think before you click and double check who is copied on that email!

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