Friday, February 01, 2008

Mail Blues

If your job is "Solution Specialist" and you're the manager of a department which is about to offer a training in some gee-whiz neat-o new stuff a particular upcoming release includes, I have a few tips for you.

1) Choose the correct addressee list.

The "EntireBuilding" mail alias is supposed to be used for things like someone leaving his lights on in the parking garage or a car blocking a delivery truck or free coffay and cake at 4:15 this afternoon. The fine people of $SupermarketChain, the schlubs at $FinanceCo, the weirdos who sniff glue at $FurnitureOutlet and the various building staff don't give a shit about our software.

The "EntireMegaCorp" mail alias is for things that interest all of us, like the free coffay but only for MegaCorp employees. Since 97% of us have nothing to do with your very specialised application and 84% of us can't touch it for security reasons there's little justification in filling my fucking mailbox. Idiot.

The "MySmallGroup" mail alias exists for a good reason. Use it.

2) Err on the side of caution.
When one considers our craptastic mail system one is quite justified in concerns that a mail didn't go through. There is a right way and a wrong way to deal with this.
The Right Way:
1) Wait 15 minutes for it to be delivered to you as well
2) Check your Webmail account (which is more reliable than the POP-3 system) to see if a copy of your mail was delivered to you.
3) If, after 30 minutes you still don't see it in your Webmail (having refreshed it from 15 minutes ago), then re-send it.

The Wrong Way:
1) Send the mail.
2) Send it a second time immediately.
3) Send it a third and fourth time five minutes later.
4) Send a follow-up mail asking people to please reply if they got the last mail since you forgot to add a return receipt each of the four previous times.

3) Consider your content wisely.

There is a right way and a wrong way to highlight points you wish to make when you want to differentiate the importance of those lines.
The Right Way:
1) Outline format
2) If it is utterly impossible to get your info across otherwise, font size changes

The Wrong Way:
Three different fonts
Multiple font sizes on the same line
Four different colours
Dingbats and smilies

And while I'm on the subject, yes, I know we're expected to use big graphics but including them is not a requirement. Megacorp is quite proud of its ubiquitous and very expensive logo. While it's not necessary to send the graphics, they can be included. There is a repository and creation template. But if you're unable to find the desired graphic, do not start searching the Intartubies for 800MB animated GIFs like Judy does. Judy is a secretary. You are not. Judy is bubbly. You are not. Judy's job is to be happy and perky. Yours is not.

Four mails, each 7MB, all looking considerably less professional than a 14-year-old's MySpazz page. Half of us had to log into the goddamned Webmail client just to delete that shit since it put us over quota, at which point our standard POP-3 mail clients fail.

And no, that's not the end of it. You'd be disappointed if it was, so here's the punchline: The product being discussed:



Business Inteligence.

I swear.

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In compliance with $MegaCorp's general policies as well as my desire to
continue living under a roof and not the sky or a bus shelter, I add this:

The views expressed on this blog are my own and
do not necessarily reflect the views of $MegaCorp, even if every
single one of my cow-orkers who has discovered this blog agrees with me
and would also like to see the implementation of Root Cause: 17-Fuckwit.