Did I do that?

An Office Worker Dresses the Part
Image by mpujals via Flickr

We had a ‘Reply to all’ incident at work this week. Someone, in an upper-management position, sent an email to the three people that needed to be involved in troubleshooting an issue, and also to an email group that included 3700 other employees.


You can imagine what this did to our email servers. And to my poor coworker who maintains and manages those email servers. To make matters even worse, several other employees, also at a supervisory level or higher, replied TO ALL that they did not believe the subject matter pertained to them and please remove them from the list.

Yeah, thanks buddy. Like we didn’t all know it did not pertain to us.

The icing on the cake? This particular email originator has played this same game three or four other times in the past. Unbelievable.

In our department we lovingly call these incidents Big Yellow Bus incidents because one time our marketing department started a contest regarding sightings of our new advertisement on a city bus. Each person that saw the lovely yellow bus replied to ALL in hopes of winning the contest. Between out of office replies and those helpful folks replying to all asking to be removed, they completely crashed the servers that time. Fun stuff.

I have had my own ‘reply to all’ infractions. No so very long ago a coworker was asking me for wording advice in an email conversation she was having with another coworker. She was having difficulty getting her point across without sounding like a witch. After several volleys of what she might say, I told her it was “Entertaining to watch from over here”… You guessed it, I replied to all.

You can imagine the truly innocent explanation did not go over very well from the other coworker. I can’t blame her. It would have looked suspicious to me too.

One brilliant suggestion to our email goddess this week was to completely disable the ‘reply to all’ function. Yeah, that’s great until the person suggesting it has to reply to 30 people on an email chain.

The moral of this story? Slow down. Pay attention to what you are doing. And for God’s sake double check your TO line!

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