99% of all communication at all times within offices is between people on email. Even if the person you are sending the email to is approximately ten metres away from you. Even if the person whom you are sending the email is approximately three metres away from you. Even if the person you are sending this email to doesn’t exist. Even if you are writing the email whilst getting to second base in a club with someone who sort of looks like your ex, to get over the fact that you are currently feeling dead inside.
There is no escape from office emails. Emails are your life.
During your first few weeks in your first internship or adult job you will be overwhelmed by the concept of writing and composing emails. That is because until now the only emails you have written were to your French Pen Pal before Facebook even existed, and the only emails you have ever received have been automated follows on Twitter, Tesco Home Delivery (£3 off if you spend £75) and emails from your University asking for ‘generous donations’.
The first group email that you will send to other employees in the company will receive a response approximately three and a half seconds later consisting of the following words: “Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently” from Mail Delivery Subsystem. That is because you got the email address wrong.
You will try sending the email again. You double check the recipients of the email again to make sure that there will be no errors in name, subject or whether it is a .co.uk or .com at the end of their email address.
You receive the following email three seconds later for no reason whatsoever: “Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently.”
Even though you failed at this, approximately two days later you later you somehow accidentally send an email to the whole company (from the CEO right down to the cleaner) consisting of “Has anyone got a pencil sharpener?” followed by “Oh here it is. FML.”
Everyone in the office either has two ways or organising their inbox. You will either have no emails there whatsoever as you’ve already read them the second they’ve come in and you reload your emails every three and a half seconds by habit. Or you have 475837457394734 unread emails in your inbox right now and you just don’t give a shit.
You will soon realise at work that the To: bar at the top of your email is the individual who you want to send the email to, CC: are to people who you want to keep in the loop or as a means to inform them that you are sending the email to the To: person, and BCC:, which gives you the opportunity for others to eavesdrop in to some bitchy conversation or something, which basically gives you all some sort of weird epic digital power trip.
You will become startled at the times of day that people send and receive emails. You see in your inbox that colleagues have been sending emails at 5.45 am from their Blackberry, or 11.45 pm via your iPhone. Surely when people leave their office they cut their work lives off and don’t bother responding to matters that can wait a day or two?
You then become one of those people who send an email at 5.45 am or 11.45 pm via your iPhone.
There will be a Meetings tab in your email client that you will use to book meeting rooms with colleagues in your office space. Half the office will set a date and time for an all-important meeting, but will ignore the notification later on telling them that the meeting will take place in five minutes time. The meeting will instead start half an hour late when someone in the office starts shouting and waving their hands in the air.
The other half of the office will ignore setting a meeting on the email client in the first place but will continue to use all the meeting rooms for approximately four hours pissing off everybody.
Every email from Management or the CEO sent to every employee will more or less go along the lines of “we’re the best company of all time ever didn’t you know that already / you will never leave because we are the best”, “we’re aiming together for a better tomorrow” or “we are one big happy family even though I have never met you, you have never met me and if you knew my family I would seriously call the police.”
You will never respond to that email. Contemplating whether you should respond to an email from management is the scariest thing in the whole wide world.
There also comes a time on a Friday where the ‘cool’ people in the office will start sharing dirty jokes or cat videos. You know that you are ‘in the popular crowd’ when you receive those emails, but you won’t share your own for some weeks because you want to make sure that you are fitting in.
You have to send an important email to many people at once. You will spend at least an hour checking that the spelling and grammar is all correct and that the URLs work.
You click send.
You realise ten seconds later that all the spelling and grammar is wrong and that none of the URLs work.
And there will be no better feeling as writing an “Out of Office” email because you are heading on holiday. Nothing. At all.