Be careful with what you write in your emails! (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

When used incorrectly, email can endanger your career…

While employed at a previous job, I received an email one afternoon from one of my colleagues. The email was entitled, “New account”  and said the following:

                “Hey Pete, I noticed you just inherited the account for Bill Jenkins  [note: this was not his real name].  I just wanted to let you know what a jerk he is.  He is very dishonest, always telling me that I promised him things I never did.  You really have to be careful around this guy. Let me know if you have any questions.”

After reading this message, I happened to notice that someone else had also been cc’ed on the email.


It was Bill Jenkins of course… My colleague had mistakenly cc’ed the person she was complaining about!

I called her up immediately to break the bad news.  As one might expect, she freaked out.  “Oh, no!  What do I do now?”

She then decided to send him another email, claiming that she had been speaking of another “Bill.”  I’m sure he bought that…

Email is a terrific tool that allows us to be much more efficient and productive IF used correctly.  Sending an email for something trivial is a smart use of time (i.e. “John, I received your fax.  Thanks.”)

However, email should NEVER be used for something that could be misconstrued or for something controversial or negative. 

In addition to the fact that people get cc’ed on emails accidentally (this happens more often than you might think), we can accidentally hit send before completing an email, and we also lose control over our emails after sending them out: they can be forwarded to other people.

Do you want to guarantee that you never make the mistake my colleague did that day?  Then, do not type the email address of the recipient of your email until you have written the entire email and proofread it one time.  Make sure you are being careful with your emails!

Thanks for reading!

-Pete Leibman

President of Idealize Enterprises

College Speaker and Career Expert for Gen Y

Explore posts in the same categories: Email Etiquette, Integrity

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