I'm the co-chair of my department's graduate student advisory committee (GSAC), which is basically student council! For grad students! I have, for the most part, enjoyed planning and carrying out a variety of activities on behalf of my colleagues. Fun things include the annual welcome reception, fall picnic, and post-Master's-exam potluck. We also plan a graduate student conference, which requires a lot of work but is usually a rewarding experience.

This year's conference was thwarted by one of the many snowstorms that have swept across the country this winter. We canceled the morning before the conference because the weather threatened to be treacherous. The cancelation turned out to be an over-reaction as the bad weather never really materialized. Still, better safe than sorry, right?

Wrong. Once the weather turned out to be less-than-threatening, the emails started arriving from department professors (not even grad students, mind you) about why we had chosen to cancel the conference instead of postponing it. Our reasons for canceling were many and varied, but really came down to the fact that we were all exhausted. Blargh. Bad choice of words, we should have said postponed.

Therein lies the meat of today's complaint: when did people get so nit-picky about a) email and b) things they don't even plan on being involved in? It's one thing if the email in question directly involves or insults you. It's quite another if you're just being a know-it-all pain-in-the-butt. For example, in addition to the aforementioned chastisement over semantics, as a committee we have also been skewered for a misplaced 's' and criticized for being both too prompt and not prompt enough in sending the emails.

Is it any wonder that I procrastinate sending anything to department-wide listserv? That my palms begin to sweat and my mouth gets dry as I begin to write? That I feel physically ill as I push send? That my stomach drops each time I see "Inbox (1)"?

Yes. It's official. I'm afraid to send email.


Jena said...

I once got YELLED at, for sending a company wide email (at my boss' request) about voting on names for our server that suggested everything had already been decided. Well, we only had 6 people in our office... It HAD already be decided. Everyone had discussed it and come to an agreement about it at lunch, the day before.
My point? Some people are just jerks.

I am so sorry they responded as they did.

Señora H-B said...

Grrr... Why can't people just be nice?

Cathryn said...

I hate when people always feel the need to give their two cents. Don't they know that I have enough two cents already? I feel like college faculty might be the worst at this (but this is probably because this is where I'm working now). Everyone is puffed up in the view of his or her own self-importance. My favorite phrase from one chronic complainer is "I'm not trying to be difficult."

MariLouise said...

Wow, a blog comment and two blog POSTS all in one week? I love it! :) Good to have you back.

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ferskner said...

How passive-aggressive can you be when responding? I think there's some potential for hilarity here.

Señora H-B said...

Cath--hahaha! on the "I'm not trying to be difficult". Really? You're not? Because guess what? YOU ARE being difficult. Also, what you're complaining about does. not. matter.

ML--Just giving the people what they want. ;)

deleted spam comment--stop spamming me!

ferskner--I wish I were better at being more passive-aggressive to the nit-picky people. Mostly I just cry a bunch and then move on. Usually minus the crying, though.

Janssen said...

Oh that's EXACTLY how I feel at work. Email terrifies me.

Amina said...

Lol at I am not being difficult!!
Some people should just stop taking things personally!!!
I am afraid to open my emails

Señora H-B said...

janssen--I never realized how terrifying instant communication could be until this year.

amina--me too.