Death By Email

I’ve decided my job description is ‘check email’. That’s it. For everything. Kids, house, family stuff, travel, activities, friend meet ups, dog, paid work, unpaid work, volunteer work…check email. I’m going nuts [from email]!

Alright, admit it. For those of us gen Xers, Yers, millennials, or even the unique subset of geriatric millennials, admit it. How many email accounts do you have? Did you create a new one to hide from the subscriptions? Or did you painstakingly unsubscribe only to fill your inbox with new or somehow the same subscription emails only a few short weeks later? My hand is raised and I’m guilty. 

I currently have 57,745 emails in my personal email inbox and it’s all garbage. Read with a french accent, it makes it sound enticing instead of annoying. My professional email is devoid of junk because very few people have this address and orders or searches are not made under this account. It’s the feng shui version of email. It’s peaceful in that inbox. The task list is focused. There’s a theme- work. I don’t mind it. But I’m sure they’ll eventually find me. Ok, so what is it with personal email or a general email that you use as an all-in-one? How much electronic mail could you possibly go through in a lifetime? How easy is it to miss that one crucial message that could change your life?

Rewind 20 years ago when my now husband sent me an email to meet up. I missed it. Yep. Somehow even 20 years ago, I was buried in subscription and trash emails. I apologize to anyone who actually builds marketing email campaigns because they’re great, it’s just the volume that’ll get ya. Have you ever felt that actively deleting your email shouldn’t be the way? It’s like removing throw pillows from your bed everyday and then putting them back. Marie Kondo, help us out already. Where is the joy in tidying email or beds for that matter? Where’s the Home Edit of email?

I’m not suggesting we go back to Pony Express. Full stop. Instead, should the turn around expectation be slowed? How do you create, help, heal, give, or churn through work or commitments if an email response is required in 2 minutes? Does that speed warrant other forms of communication- phone call, text, yelling down the hallway?

I’ll never forget the Seinfeld episode where Kramer wanted out, as in no more paper mail. I’m sure when the show aired, paper mail was the equivalent of email subscription volumes. Kramer went so far as to put bricks in his mailbox. Are there virtual bricks that can fit in my inbox? I want out, but apparently you can never hide. Thank you, data driven world.

I know one person who hides from email. Yea, you know who you are. He has one, but don’t bother sending him a message. He’ll return it…never. He relies on others to do his electronic bidding and at this point, I don’t think he’ll be changing. I’m a bit jealous, but unsure of how to function without an electronic connection. 

There has to be a balance, though, of the speed and volume with the quality of an email. And who needs punctuation or even complete or accurate thoughts? “Here are my ideas to solve our budget constraints…” Return response: “jelly donut”. Interesting, but not helpful. Thank you, autocorrect. You’ve been useless. Funny, but not applicable. 

Maybe people will one day utilize an email sorting function to give the receiver an estimate on a response. It could sort it for you. Important, need a response ASAP, respond now or you’re fired…the choices should probably be drastic to elicit a response. If someone has taken the time to manually write you an email, there is probably a reason for it and it most likely requires a response, except in the case of repeatedly sending a thank you message. No, thank you. No, no, no, thank you! I’m imagining ballet pantomiming where two dancers are dueling over who should go through the set stage set door first…after you. No, I insist, after you. The grandest gesture of kindness in the email world that continues to clog the inbox, but I still appreciate it. 

I just checked my inbox- 7 more emails in 8 minutes. They’re not personal, just alerts from companies. Put it on my tab. I promise to close it out soon!

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