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…

13 responses

  1. What a bunch of fucktards. I feel for ya, buddy.


    1. Good summarization. Thanks for the empathy! πŸ™‚


  2. As always, thanks for the laugh! Your boss is a piece of pooh too!


    1. Oh crap! (Pun intended.) I forgot the poop tag. πŸ™‚

      Nice to see you, stranger.


  3. This is too similar to what goes on in my world for comfort. When a certain person doesn’t do something correctly, it is the fault of the person who failed to follow up with her to make sure she received the email, read the email, understood the email, printed the email, and posted the email. And then when the situation arose, to point out that she should refer to her posted email. She absolutely cannot function on her own, and when she invariably and repeatedly messes up, it is always the fault of the person who failed to make sure she followed those steps. Never her fault. So, you can see, I empathize.


    1. Thanks for sharing that! It seems there is no end to the gyrations us humans will go through to avoid responsibility being owned by the party responsible.

      In our case, we’re told, simultaneously, “always go left” and “always go right” so no matter which way we go, they’ll always have documentation that proves it was our fault.

      Fiendishly clever.


  4. We have a vendor that will e-mail a request. If he does not receive a reply, he’ll e-mail again, with a cc to another person in the office. 5 minutes later, he’ll fax the request, and 5 minutes after that, he’ll call and say “Did you get my e-mails? My fax? Could you e-mail me when you see them and let me know you understand them?”

    He says he wants his files to be blue. I agree, because then when he sends another request, we can all holler “CODE BLUE” and grab the crash cart that’s filled with the little airplane fun-bottles, and hit the inflatable slide.


    1. Code blue! I love it. πŸ™‚

      I do have to admit that email is decidedly NOT a “guaranteed” method of communication. There is no law that says it has to get through. Not even a corporate promise that says, “We’ll always get it there.” So I can at least theoretically understand the need to confirm the important stuff.

      Because one email didn’t get through three years ago we all have to go through this routine for the rest of our lives? And it’s not like the content is important. The fate of the universe doesn’t exactly hang in the balance.


  5. I’m starting to feel like I hate your boss more than mine. Stop that!


    1. Sorry. That’s what I live for. πŸ™‚

      And I don’t recall hearing much about your boss before. I hope he doesn’t trail your comments here…


  6. The grim irony tends to be that the bosses that stress emails and collaborative understand via that mode of communication tend to be the most inarticulate. Continuing the joyful cycle of mis-communication and over reaction (among other things).

    Reasons why I learned to keep a record of project related emails and material.


  7. Ugggh! This is all about control and all about stroking ones ego! I mean why else would you do that to employees? How does that serve your bottom line? Yeah, I agree with Omawarisan: I hate your boss too! He’s an idiot! (please email this to him and make sure he posts it on his wall).



  8. […] I paraphrased the last sentence. If you want you can also see the verbatim version. […]


Bringeth forth thy pith and vinegar

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