Wired.com reports on the rise of the misdirected email - a problem made worse by the continuing boom of office workers using their workplace email for personal correspondence. Here are some of Wired.com's most toe-curling clangers:
* Marketing executive Alex Clark once mocked his company's CEO and his inability to properly attach a document to an email message, only to discover he had sent the missive to the chief executive himself. "Working with the IT department and the CEO's personal secretary," said Clark, "I attempted to intercept the message before it reached his inbox - to no avail. Later that night, I received the response. The CEO made his outrage abundantly clear in the most scathing email I have ever received." Clark saved his job only through "the most sincerely apologetic, pleading-for-mercy note of my life".
* When Peter Shankman, CEO of boutique public relations firm The Geek Factory, clicked to open an email from a client, he wasn't expecting to find a topless photo of her inside. The email was intended for her significant other - who was also a "Peter S" - but Microsoft Outlook had filled in the blanks with Shankman's name instead.
* A female employee bad-mouthed a job candidate as a "suck up" in an email she then accidentally sent to that prospective employee. He was hired as her boss.
* An employee jokingly signed an important document with her manager's name and the tag "who sits on her ass and does nothing all day". When she mistakenly forwarded the note to her boss, she was fired.
* When an employee at one company quit to launch her own competing firm, she failed to update her address book. A misfired message about how her business had dried up unintentionally shared valuable competitive intelligence with her former employer.
* A worker who didn't know she was about to lose her job accidentally received a poor performance review by email containing candid remarks that were never intended to be released to her. She filed a pre-emptive wrongful termination suit against the company based on those remarks.
* A salesman with a weekly habit of soliciting group sex used a list of contacts he kept on his corporate email address book. One day he accidentally included three of his biggest customers in the mailing, including links to graphic snaps of him and his wife. After his dismissal, the incident was said to have crushed morale at the company that employed him, and one of the three customers found another supplier.
* A pregnant woman sent her medical history to everyone she works with. But did it force her to double-check messages before hitting Send? Apparently not. "I have made the same stupid mistake again, just with less severe consequences," she said.
As the Green Cross Code Man used to say, "Think first."
*Embarrassing as sending an email to the wrong person may be, nothing, surely, is more embarrassing as the job interview that goes pear-shaped mid-grilling. Thankfully, Office Angels has conducted a survey into what are the most common basic interview blunders so that you can avoid them.
Of the 1,500 office workers surveyed, 71% listed the "job- clinching" interview as one of the "most dreaded" experience of their adult lives - more so than meeting their partner's parents (16%), or having a wisdom-tooth extraction (13%).
Nearly everyone (97%) admitted to worrying about committing an interview faux-pas, and 36% believe they have lost out on a dream job because of a basic interview blunder, the top five of which are as follows:
1) Arriving late due to getting lost en route (57%).
2) Being caught out on CV lies (41%).
3) Calling the interviewer by the wrong name or mistaking the interviewer for a secretary/ receptionist (32%).
4) Getting the dress code completely wrong (28%).
5) Implying that it's not your ideal job (19%).
According to the results, pre-interview nerves can manifest themselves in a number of ways. More than half (52%) of office workers said they suffered from sweaty palms. A quarter (24%) admitted to stumbling over their words, while 11% said they had to make frequent trips to the loo.
As the Green Cross Code Man also said, "Stop, Look, Listen."
'Think first' . . . good advice from the Green Cross Code Man
WPM, by Rosie Chouff, The Guardian Apr 14, 2003