I get a lot of emails at work. I actually prefer emails and text messages most of the time, because I can immediately respond to those without interrupting my day for long periods. Someone asks me a question via email, and I can reply quickly. No chit chat or expected pleasantries. Pure efficiency. Also, with email, there is a paper trail. If I can't remember something, I can go back and look.Which sometimes comes in handy, when I want to make a point.
A few weeks ago, I sent an email to a person, asking for some dates and times so that I could set up a meeting. I did not hear anything back, became distracted by a shiny object, and forgot. It happens. Last week, I sent another email. Nothing horrible or mean, no all caps, just an "Oh hey, we need to take care of this, what about those dates?" I get a reply from a different person at the organization, saying that the person I originally emailed never got my message.
No problem, I think. I simply delve into my sent emails, locate the one I sent previously and forward it. I am not into blame, because it wastes time. All I care about at this point is getting things done, and as long as someone is helping me out in that regard, I'm good.
Then I get a email from the person who claims that she never got the previous email:
"I am a little concerned...XXX is expressing that you were of the opinion that I received some paperwork for student XYZ. I have not. I show my last email from you was on the 14th of August. I am not sure where the chain is being broken in our line of communication but am wanting to try to alleviate these types of issues in the future."
Perhaps I was in a bad mood(okay, yes, I was in a bad mood), but I took the tone of this particular email to be a bit accusatory. (it is, isn't it? Or am I just being paranoid?) It irritated me. Every other email that I have ever sent to this particular woman did actually reach her because I had her replies in my inbox to prove that. I gave her the benefit of the doubt. Maybe I threw in an extra letter in the address or something; I've done that before. I compared the email addresses, and the two matched.
What probably happened is that she read the email and deleted it. She probably intended to take care of what I had requested, but she was distracted. Perfectly common occurrence. It happens. I don't have an issue with forgetting; I have an issue with a person not taking responsibility for forgetting. Her reaction to forgetting was to point the finger back at me, and now I am irritated. If you forget, say that you forgot, and we can move on. I wasn't asking for anything more than an answer to my original question.
I forwarded the now controversial email to the woman. I also forwarded it to the other person in the organization. Either it would get through to both or it wouldn't. If it didn't arrive in the correct in-box, then I would know where the breakdown was. Since I was irritated, I did not sugarcoat anything.
"This is the email I sent you three weeks ago. My purpose in resending it to you is not to accuse you of anything, but to see if this actually reaches you this time."
I hit 'send' and wouldn't you know it, I got an almost immediate reply, with a little backpedaling.
"Nor was mine to accuse you of anything, either. Just wanting to let you know that we did not get it."
Except that she did get it.
People wonder why I am grouchy--here is reason #437. Do you have anything at work that irritates you?