Monday, February 22, 2010
The difference between personal and work e-mail
I realize it's been nearly nine years since I've had a work email address, but I would imagine that the common sense rules that applied then still work for today. For one, forwards and joke emails are probably not a good idea. Signing your work email up for all sorts of email lists from stores is also not a good idea. A work email is not meant to be your personal email. It's as simple as that.
Now how you conduct the reading and deletion of your work email is another item that should be handled differently than how you might handle your personal email. Sure you can delete any email from an address you don't recognize in your personal account, but it's probably not wise to delete emails in your work account simply because you don't recognize the sender's address. That makes perfect sense, right?
So why on earth am I seemingly ranting about work vs. personal email habits? Well, last night I emailed Madeline's art teacher (our district posts the work email of all teachers so parents can contact the teacher if necessary) and asked if she would like our surplus crayons for the art room. We have more primary colored crayons in our house than two children can possibly use in a lifetime. In the past, I have sent surplus crayons to Africa with my sister-in-law, and I have donated some to Ellie's preschool. I figured that the elementary school could probably use these crayons and I could recoup some space in my kitchen pantry (win-win situation if you ask me). I was hoping the art teacher would respond and let me know if she would take the crayons off my hands. I got no response, but I kept telling myself that not everyone checks their email obsessively like me. Fortunately, Madeline is every bit as impatient as me, and she couldn't help but mention to the art teacher that I sent her an email last night asking her if she wanted our crayons. The teacher said she'll take the crayons, but she also let Madeline know that she deleted my email without reading it. Why? It turns out the art teacher doesn't open emails from people she doesn't know. Hmm. Is it just me, or does it seem a bit odd that the teacher deletes emails from the parents without even reading them? In the first line of my email I introduced myself as Madeline's mom and even made sure I told her who Madeline's class teacher is so there would be no confusion. With an email practice of deleting before reading, you can't help but wonder how many opportunities for donated items this teacher may have missed.
I guess the bottom line is this: With personal emails have a field day and delete at will. When it comes to work email, you should make sure you know what you are deleting before you hit that button.