Darn it, did I just do that?

It happens to the best of us.  We compose an e-mail, send it off, and then realize that we did something wrong.  Forgot to put a title line, forgot an attachment, attached the wrong file, cc’ed the wrong person, etc.

In my case, I sent out a few new short story submissions today and used the wrong e-mail address on one of them.  My “writer’s e-mail” is an alias of my normal account.  And, since most of the e-mails I send are from my normal account, that’s my default.  Which means I have to remember to change it every time I send something from me, the writer.

It’s not a huge issue.  Someone might think I’m trying to get around their submission tracking.  (I’m not.  Just a garden variety idiot.)  But that’s the extent of the damage.  It all ends up in the same place.  Of course, it means one more place to receive a rejection e-mail since all my writing-related e-mails go their own folder.  But the world will not end.

I was reminded of this today, because I had a similar situation happen at work.  I’m working on a project with someone who happened to include the wrong “Bob Smith” on an e-mail.  Obviously, the Bob Smith who was included will know he’s not part of things.

Problem is, once you start that trail of errors it tends to continue.  So, someone will now “reply all” to the e-mail with the wrong person in it not realizing it’s the wrong Bob Smith.  Then someone else will reply all to that e-mail.  Etc.

In the meantime, now that these people have replied to the e-mail with the wrong Bob Smith in it, their e-mail programs will quite possibly now list that Bob Smith address as the default address for mailing Bob Smith.

I once had this happen with someone who used my personal e-mail address on a very large work e-mail with probably fifty people listed on it.  Not only did that person continue to send e-mails to my personal address, but so did others on that original e-mail.  It was a nightmare.

And not easily fixed.  Because the person who was sloppy enough to not see that they were e-mailing a hotmail address was also too sloppy to subsequently check e-mails to me to make sure they now used the company address.  It took me weeks to fix it.

So, just a warning.  Be careful with who you send e-mails to.  The more sensitive the e-mail, the more you should check and double-check the recipients.

Oh, and keep in mind that most companies monitor company e-mail.  So, as convenient as it is to have personal discussions on your company e-mail, you should know that it may come to the attention of your employer or your friend’s employer.  And may get you or them fired.

True story.  At one of my employers an admin ended up cc’ed on a group e-mail about a very offensive t-shirt.  The first e-mail visibly upset her.  But then all the people on the group e-mail started commenting on that first e-mail, which made things MUCH worse.  By the end of the day she’d reported them to HR.  Not sure anyone lost a job, but there was definitely action taken.

So, be careful.  Check and double-check.  Errors will still happen, of course, but at least if you think about it first, they’re less likely to occur.


About M. H. Lee

M.H. Lee is a speculative fiction writer currently residing in Colorado whose stories are sometimes dark, sometimes funny, sometimes darkly funny, but hopefully always thought-provoking and entertaining.
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