There is so much going on in social media today that it is safe to say that nothing is sacred in this arena. We have all seen on the news about celebrities saying the wrong things and being put in the position to apologize. Just because we are not celebrities does not mean we can say anything we want either.
There are several subjects that should never be sent in work e-mails. Most of these are common sense to most but these things continue to get circulated so many of us are lacking in common sense or we just do not care. If you are either one of these people you are at risk of serious retribution by your employer or at the very least your co-workers.
Your boss – Do not discuss your boss on an e-mail. If you feel the need to vent then go in person and talk to someone about your boss but do not do it over e-mail. If you say it in person did was it really said? If you put it down on e-mail then there is hard proof that it has been said and exactly who it was that said it. The best idea is to not say anything at all or at the very least keep it until you leave but I realize that at times the pressure cooker is whistling and the lid is about to blow off so we must. Use a little discretion and a lot of wisdom in this case.
Lewd humor – Another thing to watch out for is lewd and crude humor. Not everyone shares your sense of humor and that does not mean they do not have one. We have all been raised up in a different environment, we have different concepts of what is funny, and we have a different “crude” thermometer. My own thermometer seems to start registering much lower than other folks around me but that is my prerogative and you are not going to change it. Neither does it make me a prude because you think something distasteful to me is funny or vice versa. If you feel the need to share something crude with a co-worker make sure you know them well and that it will be received well. But here again the best idea is to keep it to yourself or bring them into your office to share it with them. Your boss may not think it is something worthy of being passed around the office or workplace as well.
Bad humor – Politically incorrect humor or comments is another red flag item. You never know in today’s society who comes from what background. You may think you are talking to someone just like you but you actually never know their heritage or background until it is too late to take your foot out of your mouth. Case in point; I have a deaf brother and when I was in high school our school would play the football team from the deaf school. The cheerleaders for the deaf school would use drums to keep to the beat and do their chants. At a school club meeting one of the girls decided to mimic they way they sounded when they cheered. I did not say anything but many people around her started to nudge her and proceed to let her know I had a deaf brother. Needless to say she was embarrassed and apologized emphatically. It did not really bother me because I was used to it by this time and I knew how great my brother was. She suffered more than I did.
Do you really want to put yourself in that position? Do not go into situations blindly; it is best to keep your political comments to yourself. If you feel you must say something it is best said in person with someone you have complete confidence in and not spread it by e-mail. You never know where those e-mails will end up. They will pass it to someone who then passes it to someone else and generally it keeps the original authors name attached.
Co-workers – Not only should you keep your boss off of e-mails but other co-workers as well. If you work across the hall from someone who is annoying, abrasive, or in your opinion just plain ignorant there is no benefit in putting it on an e-mail. Someone else may not have the same opinion as you and feel obligated to let that person know how you feel. Do you really need the extra stress of having a Hatfield and McCoy feud going on at work? This is a place you have to come to everyday to make a living and unless you are prepared to make a transition it is best to keep your mouth shut about co-workers. This is not only good advice when sending an e-mail but everything you say should be well thought over before being made public knowledge when it comes to co-workers. The best way to keep your sanity at work is to keep a good working relationship with everyone at work.
Affairs – Affairs in the office are another big no-no e-mail. If you have a relationship going with another co-worker even if you and they are both single it is not a good idea to communicate via e-mail. Anything put down on paper will come back to bite you on the posterior. If you are not both single or are both married then enough said.
Legal – If you are up to no good, doing something illegal, even if it is taking something from the supply closet these are not good inter-office e-mail items. These are not good e-mail items in any arena of your life but do yourself a big favor and keep them out of work.
Party – For those of you who like to party and getting drunk or taking illegal or prescribed substances for the sake of partying these are good topics to avoid. Do not e-mail your friend down the hall and let them know how wasted you got over the weekend and give them all the particulars. Along with this would be sexual encounters you may have had while on these binges. Anything you did in private should stay in private.
Purchases – Buying and selling on e-bay or some other forum is also best kept at home. I do not think your employer would appreciate you buying and selling on his/her time. It is best to keep those types of things off of your work computer.
Social Media – The last thing I was thinking about which is not a great idea is getting social media alerts on your work e-mail. Keep your social life and your work life totally separate. Your employer is not paying you to have a social life believe it or not. They want your full attention on what you are earning a salary for. You have plenty of time to check your social media sites when you get home.
I am sure there are more scenarios on e-mailing in the office that I have overlooked but these are the top reasons why individuals end up having conflict or even getting terminated in a work environment. You would be surprised how employers dislike you using their computers for such things and you would probably be surprised at how they are monitoring their computers. Of course the size of your company matters and the smaller ones do not monitor as closely but then they have other employees for that. There is always one in every workplace that feels the need to share with their employer. It is best to just leave these types of e-mails alone.