Friday, December 11, 2009

The beat goes on (or, people continue to mis-use e-mail)!

(I thank my friend Chuck Reynolds for this!)

Analyst Quits Over Embarrassing Email (by Martin Evans at

"A female graduate trainee at the consultants Deloitte has quit after an embarrassing email she sent discussing attractive male staff, was forwarded around the world.

"Holly Leam-Taylor became the latest victim of a viral email craze when her light hearted message to colleagues spread like wildfire across the internet.

"In the email, entitled Deloitte First year analysts Christmas Awards, sent on December 8, Ms Leam-Taylor asked her female colleagues to vote on which men in the office they considered most attractive.

"She listed nine categories including, 'boy most likely to sleep his way to the top' and 'most attractive older member of staff'.

"Miss Leam-Taylor, who is in her early 20s, wrote: 'I'll send out the results on Friday 18th Dec (that is all I will be doing that day as I will be SO hung-over from the ball!)'

"The email was only intended for a small group within her office, but was quickly forwarded outside the building and within hours was being read by millions of internet users as far away as New Zealand and Australia.

"The email began, 'So's been nearly 4 months at Deloitte so I think we should have some sort of Xmas awards ceremony for us ladies about the stuff that really matters at work ie.gossip/the boys! This probably massively violates HR equal opportunities policy, but never mind! It's all for fun and a bit of a laugh.'

"But her employers did not agree that it was a laughing matter and she was warned that she would be subject to a disciplinary hearing which could lead to her dismissal.

"A source at the firm said: 'She realised that her credibility both internally and externally had been damaged and so took the decision to hand in her resignation immediately...We are very disappointed by this matter. While intended as a joke, this is a stark reminder of the need to exercise careful judgment when using email.'"

Careful judgement goes out the window when people sit before their computers. They become DIS-inhibited. They believe they are in the lobby or at lunch talking to friends, instead of placing a message before the world. For Deloitte this must be doubly disconcerting since (a few years ago) they paid to have 50,000 people undergo e-mail training. (I wish I'd had THAT gig. In fact, I hereby recommend myself to Deloitte to re-train the 50,000! I'll give them a volume discount!)

When they give me the gig, I'll tell them this: Always write the message first! Let it sit for a moment. Look at it as if you were seeing it on the front page of the newspaper. If you don't want to see it there, delete it. If you want international notoriety, address it and hit the send button. Then, get a lawyer.

Thanks for the great article, Chuck!

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