This email option is one of the scariest features of technology. Useful as it may be, oh so many things can go completely wrong.

For example, at a former desk job, two fellow…shall we say…unfulfilled? employees and I often exchanged amusing and occasionally scathing emails throughout the day. Perfectly normal behavior considering we were somewhat starved for creativity and humor in the normal course of our days. I can try to justify it all day long, but I already know my mom is going to glower at the computer screen after reading that I could have committed such a heinous act of ungratefulness. Sorry Mom, your daughter is a rebel.

Anyway. We had a flow going. Read, stifle laughter, hit reply all so that each of us was copied, formulate and type up amusing response, hit send. Often these emails were pithy one-liners so you can imagine the frenzied pace of this three-way conversation. Aside from lunch with these hilarious ladies, this was probably the best part of my day.

Tragedy struck one morning when we’d received an email from the office manager informing the office that we’d all be allowed to participate in the lunch she was bringing in for new title buys. Needless to say, assistants (you know, the ones with no money and so busy we were pulling our hair out and…um…sending pointless emails all day long) were required to buy our own lunches on our own time while the buyers (with plenty of money but also no time) had lunch brought in on the company’s dime. In no way do I fault the buyers for this unfortunate reality, more the company atmosphere in general.

As you might imagine, this email was fodder for a heated email exchange mocking the generosity of the company. All I can say is, thank God it wasn’t me who accidentally hit “reply all” to the original message that had been sent to the entire Merchandising Office and the VP of Merchandising who was scary as all get out. The response went something like this:

“WHOOPEEDOO!!! I guess we’ve been good assistants this week!”


Seconds later, the offending friend tried to recall the message, but the damage was already done. Once the general cube-farm was alive with muffled laughter and questioning “Whoopeedoo?’s”, the poor girl managed some weak explanation that she’d meant to just email the office manager, who was technically also an assistant…but I don’t think anyone believed her, as the office manager was…not friendly. I think pretty much everyone knew the two people that email was intended for.

Luckily that was considered to be harmless and pretty funny to the office in general, so our friend was basically off the hook. But I will never forget that day! And until the day she quit, she got accosted with “WHOOPEEDOO”s on a regular basis.

Perhaps more embarrassing for me was when I intentionally clicked “reply all” to another company wide email to propose a change in some of the reporting. I thought this was a better tactic than directly requesting the change from the IT person who generated the report because I’d already done that to no avail. I’d also suggested the change to my direct supervisor, who looked at me like I was crazy. No one but the assistants would understand why the change was vitally important – we were the ones having to work the report. Obviously, from the example above, you can see how highly regarded we assistants were. It seemed bringing the entire company into it was going to be necessary.

Unfortunately, I also took the opportunity to rib my “boss” for suggesting that the change was unnecessary. Probably not the best forum for that. I got a quick email back from my mentor/self-appointed God Mother that said, “Not Good.”

Cheeks aflame, I cowered at my desk for the rest of the day. Impetuousness is not something that generally defines my behavior. Maybe I was just in a bad mood. Maybe my assistant buddies were both out of the office that day and I hadn’t gotten my making-fun-of-people fix.

Probably, I’d been denied free lunch.