Appraisal 2010\2011: Email – Tool of the Devil

Posted on June 23, 2010


I’m nothing if not happy to lay myself bare, warts and all. It’s therapy. It’s vital. And .. given it’s appraisal time, it’s also quite useful too.

Today, I ended up falling into exactly the same trap I’ve fallen into countless times in the past. I responded to a series of emails which had left me feeling quite angry.

It wasn’t the senders fault. It wasn’t my fault. The sender was in one BBC building. I was in another. Things happen in that building I don’t know about. Things happen in the building I work in the sender doesn’t know about. We’re both as ignorant as each other.

But in that moment of reading a series of emails which left me thinking “What exactly does that mean?” and “How is that helpful?” I hit the forward button and started doing that dangerous “escalation thing”.

Lets be clear about this. No one has actually died. I wasn’t rude. I wasn’t offensive. In fact, if anything, I was my usual charming self injecting my self-obsessed mild-rant with mild humour, annotating the message with the appropriate graphical shorthand to ram my self-deprecation home a bit.

But, it seemed that only fuelled things. And, whilst I reckon I managed to diffuse things (thereby massaging my own ego in the process), I’m rather hoping to include the following plea in my annual appraisal.

Could we all – all 23,000 of us at the BBC – just agree not to communicate via email ever again?

It doesn’t help. It only promotes bad feeling. And – I know – at 10.30pm tonight will only make me feel like a complete arsehole.

Could we? Could we all just agree to get our IT service provider to deinstall email ?

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Posted in: UK