Daily Archives: August 24th, 2010

Exact quote from the boss

And I quote: “Please reply and let me know that you have received this email and understand.”

Just about every email from the boss (and the manager he personally trained) includes a line similar to this one. (The quote above was copied verbatim from one of his recent emails.)

Is it just me or is that offensive as hell? Especially when you see that phrase several times a day – every day – of your work life.

The content that comes with that phrase is usually too inane to put into words. Something like, “Bob will be processing all refund requests from now on except when the customer originally paid with Visa and lives west of the Mississippi river.” Ah, yet another rule with built-in exceptions.

In the work place, there are exceptions to every rule. “This is the formula for calculating retail price except when it is a Tuesday following a full moon and the boss’ tummy feels ticklish. He calls that instinct.” Whatever. Bottom line is that exceptions mean we chickens have to remember double the stuff we would otherwise have to. First you have to remember the rule and then you have to remember the exceptions to the rule.

Exceptions are basically a way of guaranteeing mistakes. “We always do this except when this is the case.” Mess it up a single time and management will be there to grill you about why you didn’t “triple check.”

So anyway, I’ve just read another nonsensical email that flies in the face of all logic. Suddenly it feels like I’ve got three bowling balls on each arm as I reach for my computer and struggle to click the REPLY button in my email program.

I’m then forced to write something like this (a root canal would be more enjoyable):

Dear Boss,

I have received your email. Yes, I understand that 2 + 2 = 4.


Why do I always end up working for people less intelligent than myself? Is that a great irony or what? But that’s a topic for another post.

These emails will also usually have another line that says, “Print this email and confirm that you have posted it by your computer.”

The other day our manager called my co-worker a mere two hours after the email was sent and the conversation went down something like this:

Attilla: Did you receive my email?
Mickey: Yes.
Attilla: Did you read it?
Mickey: Yes.
Attilla: Did you understand it?
Mickey: Yes.
Attilla: Did you print it?
Mickey: Yes.
Attilla: Did you post it by your computer?
Mickey: No.
Attilla: Zoiks, Scoob! Where is it then?
Mickey: On my desk.
Attilla: You’re going to need to post that.
Mickey: OK. I will. It’s just that I’ll need to refer to it when I go to the warehouse so I thought …
Attilla: No, I very clearly said I wanted that posted. Do it now. I’ll wait. Let me know when it’s done.
Mickey: Hang on.
Mickey: OK, it’s posted.
Attilla: It’s posted by your computer?
Mickey: Yes.
Attilla: Good job.

Poor little Mickey Mouse. He had to print two copies of the Most Important Memo of All Time. One to post by his computer like the idiotic myopic single-minded manager demanded and another copy to take with him so he could actually refer to it as he did his job. I observed this conversation and what happened next. Mickey looked dejected, angry, sad, miserable, beaten down and like his dog had just been shot. In management terminology that’s called a “win-win.”

Nothing says “I think you are totally incapable of functioning as a human being” than “I can’t even trust you to read and understand an email.” Fuck, if that’s really true, what does it say about the moron who hired that person? What a a great way to encourage employee productivity.

Score another victory for nano-management. I’d call it “micro” but that’s friggin’ huge compared to what these guys do…