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Many of us can honestly say we cant imagine life without the convenience of email. We do everything from our email accounts. Our calendars pop up to remind us of our third cousins birthday without fail each year, reminders let us know our favorite show comes on TV tonight and we even send e-vites to everyone on our contact list for next weekends cookout. But what happens when email is used for those less than kind reasons?

Have you ever gotten an email THATS IN ALL CAPS AND WITH ENTIRELY TOO MANY EXCLAMATION POINTS?!?!? If so, you might have even found yourself physically pulling away. Its disconcerting when we think someone is yelling at us and we either dont know why or were not even sure if those all caps were used to ensure the anger come across. Then, it gets worse. We look at everyone else who was copied on the email and suddenly, our faces turn red and we realize the email included an audience.

One of two things usually happens- we either get fired up and fire back our own loud email or we ignore it because we dont know what else to do. A. Harrison Barnes, career coach and founder of says these emails arent that uncommon in the workforce. And, unfortunately, most everyone knows what an all-caps email means. Before you respond to the less than kind electronic face off, there are a few things you should know.

One survey found that a full twenty six percent of American companies have discharged employees for inappropriate emails. Thats significant, says Barnes. Instead of going with your first instinct, you might be better served by stepping away from your desk. Stand up, take a short walk anything that will allow you a few minutes to think clearly. At this point, its not about whos right or wrong. Once youre back in front of the monitor and cant resist the urge to reply, go ahead and type out that reply just dont send it. Save it in your Drafts folder or even better, open up a blank Word document so that theres possibility of the email being sent accidentally.

Another suggestion A. Harrison Barnes suggests is to assume the emails not meant the way you took it. It could very well be the author of the email didnt realize her Caps Lock was on and by the time she realized it, she could very easily have decided she didnt have time to re-type it. It happens. Finally, says the founder, your best bet may not to even reply at all at least not in electronic form. Walk over to her office for a calm face to face. Start with, I replied to your email but didnt send it; but thought Id come talk to you for a second to be sure were on the same page. Sometimes, its simple statements such as those that are the cure-all. Your goal, regardless of how you proceed, is to not allow the situation to escalate.

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