Friday, June 1, 2012

Professional Blunders

I decided to share few blunders that I've done in my professional life.  Its not that I have suddenly decided to appear so stupid in front of everyone.  I feel its very important that I share my experiences with an intention to help you to be cautious about them in the first place.  The list is certainly long but here are few stand at the top of the list.

Emotional email

I made an important observation when I visited an overseas office in my company.  I also sent an email to my immediate supervisor to appraise the situation.  I wrote about what I saw and my own interpretations, along with few lines of my frustrations about how trust was broken by one of my business counterparts.  For over 5 months, I spent a lot of quality time in building relationship, delivered more than what was promised, built confidence and re-established a very smooth relationship with that account team.  I suddenly felt betrayed.  On the same day, I confronted the person to learn more about the situation but in the mean time the email that I sent was forwarded to escalate the situation through multiple levels in my business unit.  Sadly, it also ended up in the mail box of the same person, on the same day, against whom I had written the mail about.  One can imagine what could have happened after that.  The email actually caused a Tsunami attacks and counter attacks and my business counterpart had to go through a tough time of answering very difficult questions by his management.  

This was followed by several months of hatred and unprofessional behavior displayed to me.  Ultimately the focus of the problem completely got shifted from professional mode to personal mode.  The original problem was never resolved.

I learnt an important lesson through this experience.  Never write or send an emotional email about anything or about anyone in the professional environment.  Even if there is a compelling situation to write such a mail think 100 times about what would happen if the person in subject has to read the same content.  It is also wrong to expect that your email will never get forwarded even if its sent with "do not forward restrictions".

Failure to recall an Email

Once I had to share some information about a team outside my department to a bunch of my colleagues.  I decided to learn more about the team structure in Microsoft Outlook.  I typed the name of one of the persons in the CC field and used the Outlook to view team structure.  After sometime I sent that email.  I generally have the habit of reading important mails from the 'Sent' box just to ensure the contents were in order even after reviewing them several times before sending them.  I was shocked to find that I did not remove that persons name from the CC field. I immediately started sweating.  The first thing I did was to turn off the wireless connection and shut the laptop monitor with a hope to believe the mail was still in my outbox.  After few minutes I opened the laptop screen and to my shock the email had already left my inbox.  All my desperate attempt to recall the message through the Outlook recall option had failed.  To my despair Outlook returned messages saying "Your attempt to recall the message was unsuccessful".

On that day, I learnt another important lesson.  Never rely on the "Recall" functionality in Microsoft Outlook.  It works only when the person, the recipient is online, and has his Microsoft Outlook is open when the mail was received.  The recall is again useless if the person has already read the message on his mobile device and the recall never deletes the messages already delivered to a phone device.

Finally, I had to send an apology email to my supervisors for this blunder.

More to come...

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