The instant responder
This person must have telepathic powers because the second you hit send they have already fired back a response completely answering what you asked. You didn’t even have time to think about a response to their reply. Working with them is a double-edged sword. On one hand you hardly ever have to send a follow-up email. Their inbox is zero-ed out 95% of the day and you can count on them for those last-minute email requests. On the downside, they hardly ever know what email you’re referring to when you ask. Odds are your message is just like the other 70 they responded to that minute: a means to an unread-free inbox.
The aspiring author
It’s not that her email doesn’t contain all the information you need, it’s just buried somewhere in the 17 paragraphs of runon sentences. On top of that you had to block out an hour just to thoroughly read and comprehend the note. There’s a professionals are trying to keep emails fewer than 5 sentences – most longer emails waste time.
Mr. 48 Hours
Or Mr. 48 for short. You’re lucky to get a response in two days, and if it’s in one you better pick up a PowerBall ticket on the drive home. You can prepend the subject line with URGENT, attach a red exclamation point to the email, or even cc their manager but nothing will get Mr. 48 to get you a same-day reply. If it’s urgent, just call him instead.
Happy day, every day
We’ve all been there – sending an email starting with “Happy *insert day here*” in an attempt to liven up tone-deaf emails. Like salt, we use it sparingly. This person, however, would be the MSG of Happy Days. If you thought it started with Monday then ended with Friday, think again. Once the Happy Arbor Day, Happy Pancake Day, Happy Snuggle With Your Puggle, and Happy Send An Email Starting With ‘Happy Day’ Day messages start rolling in.
She’s got her phone email set to reply all by default. It seemed like a good idea at a time; the perfect way to ensure everyone who should receive the response does. Unfortunately, she also uses email to send rather confidential thoughts. You know, unannounced changes in HR policies, disbelief in the size of a department’s budget, how out of hand the exec afterparty got following last week’s holiday party – those kind of thoughts.
Raise your question with a question
You asked a fairly straight-forward question like, “have you finished those TPS reports?” and it never fails that the response is another question. At the end of playing 20 questions you literally have no idea why you reached out in the first place. Pro tip: frame your questions as statements, it’ll make both your lives easier.
The quick escalation
If this person ever had access to our nuke codes you better start praying because the end is certainly near. Sure it’s hard to read tones through email and we do sometimes sound more Joan Crawford than we intend; however a few email volleys it’ll sound like you’re on the brink of an all out war. Your best bet is to take the conversation offline because this person likely has an angelic personality in person.
Cryptic note or 4 year-old?
Throw punctuation, grammar, syntax, and every other middle school writing lesson out the window and what you’re left with is a jumbled message from this typically higher ranking individual. If you have to share with about 5 others before figuring out what they meant then you’ve met him. If you ever wondered if his son got hold of his iPad and fired off emails, yep that’s him. In person conversations aren’t any better, so you just have to wing it when trying to figure out what they meant. The bonus is that you will be able to add another language to resume after working a bit with him.
In all seriousness, we’re guilty of straying into each of these at some point or another. Any others you would add to the list?