I hate e-mail

I don’t know exactly when I decided I hate e-mail. But sometime over the course of the past few years, I’ve decided it’s the one thing I hate more than just about anything.
I hate that people send an e-mail with an attachment verses coming by and showing me work. I hate that I get plenty of ‘cover your ass’ e-mail instead of people telling me what’s really going on. But most of all, I hate the volume of e-mail I get every day. If I sat and really read and responded to every e-mail, I would have time to do nothing else.

This morning, I turned on my computer and looked down at my e-mail. Today I have 2910 items in my in-box, of those, 99 are unread. So I decided to look at the 99 unread e-mails. Of those, 25 we’re automatic reminders to approve expense reports, 12 were second reminders to approve expense reports, 5 were PTO requests, 10 were online receipts for lunch orders (while eating at my desk so I can read e-mails), 3 agency wide e-mails that I wrote (which I don’t have to read) and some stray promotional e-mails from photographers, production houses and retouchers.

The rest – are probably really important e-mails that get lost in the sea of e-mails. Here are some that I probably should have read sooner:

Subject: Today’s presentation – Immediate response needed
Hmmm, I probably should have looked at that one when it was send last Thursday.

Subject: Call me before you leave the office
Opps that was sent to me two weeks ago. Interestingly, the person never called me to find out why I never called.

Subject: Touching base
OK, here’s a trick – if you’re trying to get my attention don’t send an e-mail that says ‘Touching Base.’ Because I view my e-mails by subject, every e-mail called ‘Touching Base’ gets lumped together. Right now, I have 7 e-mails all titled ‘Touching Base.’ I haven’t read any of them. Mostly because they’re from people I don’t know. But also because if you really wanted to touch base, you’d come to my base (my office) and ask me a question. The one on top of the pile that I didn’t read was from January 24th, “Hello (notice a form letter not personalized), I am in the marketing and lead generation industry …” Thank heavens I didn’t take time out of my day to read that one.

I think I didn’t read this because of the use of ALL CAPS and the double exclamation point. Actually, the real reason is that it’s the 500th e-mail from my son’s school looking for a donation (which I already made on the first e-mail).

Subject: Richard, it’s your lucky day
A free subscription to an industry magazine that I already get for free is not what I’d call my lucky day. Perhaps Richard, you just won $100 million in the lottery – I would consider THAT a lucky day. Or maybe even, Richard, you just won someone to read all you unread e-mail – that would be an incredible prize.

But of all the unread e-mail this is my favorite:

Subject: Got a minute?
No, I don’t. In fact, this week I’ve received 19 e-mails all with the subject line ‘Got A Minute?’ Now, that doesn’t mean I won’t respond to these e-mail eventually. It doesn’t mean that I don’t care. What it means is that in my time stretched day, writing an e-mail that asks ‘Got A Minute’ is too easy for me to answer ‘no, I don’t.’ Now an interesting subject line should be, ‘What can I take off your plate?’

Anyway, enough ranting about e-mails. Oh, by the way, in the time that it took me to write this post, I’ve received 47 more e-mails. I read only two.


6 thoughts on “I hate e-mail

  1. Has our society become “too” dependent on email? Are we hiding behind our inbox rather than making a phone call or stopping by someone’s desk to have discussions?

    I’ve had colleagues, in the past, sitting two desks away from me send me emails asking to have lunch together. You don’t get more isolated than that when the person could have called or simply shouted to me (we sat that close).

    I guess the bright side is we’d hope everyone’s grammer would improve by writing so many emails. And yes, grammar was intentionally misspelled there. :o)


  2. Hi Rich- what’s your number? is it the same as the old Bozell? Seems I still have it. I’m in NYC on the 27th and can stop in for a visit in the afternoon. Gerity


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