In modern corporate life, you have to be careful how you respond upon receiving emails of an inappropriate nature.
Our company policy is clear. All incoming messages which are of a sexual or otherwise potentially offensive nature must be immediately deleted. Under no circumstances can such messages be forwarded, whether to people inside or outside of the company.
I’ve just received an email from my friend, Tim Simons. Suffice it to say that the file he sent through contains images which are not appropriate for a professional office environment.
Usually I delete these things. But this one’s actually quite funny. My mate Geoff Pearson would like this. Shall I forward it on just this once? Yeah, go on. No one will know.
I click on ‘forward’ go to my address book, scroll down, select “Geoff Pearson,” and hit ‘send.’ Done.
Immediately, I receive an ‘out of office’ auto-reply from Emily Pearce.
That’s puzzling, I didn’t send anything to Emily Pearce. I did just send one to Geoff Pearson, but…
Emily Pearce is one above Geoff Pearson in my address book. Maybe I didn’t send it to Geoff Pearson.
This is not good. Emily Pearce is involved in several women’s rights groups. She is not likely to see the funny side of this.
No problem. I’ll just recall the message. I click on the message, select the ‘Actions’ menu and hit ‘Recall this Message.’ There, done.
An error message appears, stating that the message could not be recalled. Bad news. I call her to tell her that I sent her a message by mistake and to ask her not to open my message. I get the answering machine on both her office phone and her cell. Great!
Emily Pearce is close friends with Mia Gurdy, our HR director. Three unpleasant things are going to happen if Emily reads this message. First, Mia and Emily will have an unpleasant conversation. Less pleasant still will be the follow-up conversation I have with Mia and my supervisor. Most unpleasant will be my subsequent search for alternative employment.
Appropriate treatment of these types of messages is essential in today’s corporate world. You must be careful about forwarding these messages on to others.
Careful, that is, to click on the right name when you forward your message.