Of hidden monsters and email etiquette

Emails I coulda woulda sent

I got a “real job” for the first time last year. Real in the sense that I started without knowing when it would end. Every year since 2009, I’ve worked jobs with the knowledge that I’d be leaving soon. Didn’t matter if it was for three, six or ten months — I could always look forward to the end. But last year was different. Last year, I got a job I knew not when the end was. So yeah, trepidation, impostor syndrome and all that nice stuff followed. It’s been about eleven months and I guess things are better (honestly, i’ve found that i like to have/give myself problems, so i really just trade one for the other. i can better manage my “problems” now, is what I mean).

But this is not why we are here. We are here because last year, I ventured into the world of emails. You know that (semi)formal medium of inter/intra office correspondence. I hate it. It’s like walking on egg shells. I mean, it’s so easy to rub someone off the wrong way in an email. So I have to be courteous without it looking like I’m groveling, straight to the point without being brusque/curt. Such a (diplomatic) dance for someone with clumsy feet.

My boss is the absolute best when it comes to emails. Oh, the enthusiasm, the diplomacy, the delicate way with words, the speed of his replies (it can take me one hour to say “okay” because, should I say “okay” or “that’s alright”? does a full stop after make it seem curt? should I add an exclamation mark? I mean I’m not THAT excited…at all. would my faux enthusiasm come off as patronising… you know, stuff like that). I actually want to be like him when I grow up. Until then, I shall swallow my actual replies in favour of more grown up ones. That said, here are some of my favourite swallowed replies (that I remember):

  • (After I told them the release they sent was kinda redundant) Hey Tola. The content I sent is different from the one you got in June. Abiola, Abiola, kilode to n nimi lara bayii naa?
  • Hey Tola, here’s the best photo we have. Hope it helps. No, bitch. It doesn’t.
  • Hi Tola. Can I have your number just in case? BITCH, IT’S IN MY EMAIL SIGNATURE!
  • Hi Tola, thanks for inviting me. Unfortunately, I can’t make it. My life is scattered right now, and I have to travel. Your life is not scattered in Jesus name.
  • Thanks Tola. Have a great evening. "Have a great evening?" Mehn, fuck you. It’s 8pm here.
  • Hi Tola, hope you’re well. I just wanted to remind you about — BOY THE WAY YOU BLOWING UP MY PHONE WON’T MAKE ME DO THE WORK NO FASTER!
  • Hi Tola, thanks for following up. Oh, don’t feel so special. It kinda is my job. Like, you know my employers pay me to do this, right?
  • Hello Tolu. Hello Bukola (their name’s Ibukun).
  • FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. Is that why you’re now shouting?
  • PLEASE HOW CAN I GET MY EVENT FEATURED. By not shouting at me like that. Oh wait, it’s already too late.

And my favourite one:

  • Hi Tolu —

Talking to people is hard. My mother feels like slapping me whenever she hears me say that (okay, that’s mostly because somehow, i was able to convince my parents to pay for a degree in mass communication) but I’m glad she doesn’t. I’m a work in progress and I honestly believe I’ll get better (fun fact: I used to send my sisters email drafts before I sent them to my boss for approval. lol. I’m cute).

And now I leave you with a video of my corporate spirit animal. Her name’s Retsuko and she’s just the sweetest red panda (she’s me, actually). Binge on the entire series here and be blessed.


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