Illustration: Ashley Siebels
Here’s what I really mean when I’m using this seemingly innocent email cliché.
“Hope all is well.”
This empty salutation masks the fact that I’m about to deliver some extremely dire news that will likely derail your entire week. We aren’t going to make payroll this month, so I guess what I meant to say is, “I hope all WILL be well one day, after you put out these fires that will now be caused by what I’m about to say.”
Yeah, so I’m not gonna respond anytime soon but writing this phrase helps cover my ass later. Instead of immediately responding, it’s more likely I’ll be staring blankly at the coffee machine for as long as I can without raising suspicion. You’ll follow up on Wednesday with whatever mundanity from before, I will confirm receipt, and we’ll to start this cycle all over again.
“Sorry for the radio silence.”
Ok I’ll acknowledge your whiny-ass email, but mark my words, if you follow up one more time, I will come to your office and set fire to your keyboard. Do you realize how many bullshit emails I receive on a daily basis? DO YOU? I get it, you’re just dying to get your paws on that performance report, so here’s a spoiler: I MADE IT ALL UP.
“Per the attached.”
WOW, what a critical error you’ve just made. Trying to backtrack on something said earlier in this thread, I see. Best believe I’m about to bring the hammer down in the most passive aggressive way possible. Ain’t nobody gonna make ME look like I’m in the wrong, so rather than calmly addressing the discrepancies within our correspondences, I’m going to include the entire email *from its inception*. Sure, you’ve been on the thread the the entire time but I’m gonna use a fancy-ass phrase to emphasize your inferiority, so take it all in and come correct.
“Adding [insert name of boss here] for visibility.”
Oh, VERY interesting. Coming at me with some, “I’d appreciate more attention to detail on this project” nonsense. Sit back and watch as I expose you to the real decision makers. I’m talkin’ TOP of the food chain, corner office, has-a-financial-advisor-to-manage-all-their-money types. If you’re really quiet, you can hear the pitter-patter of aggravated fingers on an iPhone keyboard now that you’re idiocy has forced them to work below their paygrade.
“Moving [insert your name here] to BCC.”
Now that you’ve been publicly dragged through the mud, I’m banishing you to the email black hole. Before I do, savor that one last bump of coveted dialogue with higher-ups. I’ll express to the chain that I’m just trying to save you room in your inbox (“How selfless,” they’ll think). Meanwhile, you’re stuck on the other side of the screen, desperate to know what transpires, but those privileges are long gone, I’m afraid. The sooner you’re gone, the sooner I can take all the credit for saving the day while mercilessly slandering you behind your back.
“Sorry for the delay, this got stuck in my outbox.”
Ha, yeah, I could have responded last night, but instead I opted to cut out early for a happy hour. Casual drinks with colleagues devolved into me guzzling half-priced margs on an empty stomach for 4-hours. I vaguely remember ranting about Christina in the marketing department as the bouncers carried me out. Next thing I knew, the alarm was going off, I was fully-clothed, and my hand was still in a bag of chips. Now it’s 9am, I’m wearing sunglasses at my desk and it hurts to breathe. So yeah, you could say my outbox was acting up.
I am a mere shell of a human with little to nothing left to offer. I’m praying that the use of cheery exclamation point will convince you that I haven’t wasted years of my life on this hamster wheel to hell. I write to you with gritted teeth, as I count the minutes until I’m wearing pants with an elastic waist and the pizza delivery guy is en route to my apartment. I won’t be interacting with any soul while watching Shark Tank reruns in the dark for the next 48 hours. Have a great weekend!