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Tonedeaf July 9, 2010

Posted by mareserinitatis in career.

Everyone admits that email is a very poor form of communication. However, when you’re trying to transfer knowledge that is detailed and precise, the written form is always much better.

It’s hard, however, to tell if you’re being blown off by someone. I had an incident where I was getting some help with a procedure. I said that I wasn’t 100% sure that everything was configured correctly based on the description, and I asked this person to send me a copy of the files so that I could look things over and make sure I understood.

The response was an email that began with, “The bottom line is…” along with an explanation which began, “All I did was…” And there were no files.

I realize that it may not have been meant the way it came across. However…

I communicated this to someone else (a male) who also needed this information. Based on the email, they were unable to determine what the person meant. They emailed the person, again requesting the files.

The response was, “Here you go!” and files…and nothing that I would discern as being condescending.

To me, at least, this seems like a big contrast.

I would like to say that it was an isolated incident, but I’ve run into this a few times. I ask for things or ask questions and am blown off and/or ignored. A male coworker asks again, and suddenly things happen. How do you not get paranoid or feel put upon when things like this happen repeatedly?

I have been told that I need to be more forceful in my approach. How come no one on the other end is ever told that they need to actually do something when I ask the question rather than waiting for a male to ask the same thing?

(I will say that this only happens with individuals outside of my organization. The guys I work with have been an extremely helpful and pleasant to deal with. Yeah, even the guy who introduces (or I should say, introduced) me first by my marital status – he’s very nice and helpful, just a bit clueless.)



1. Cherish - July 10, 2010

Honestly, I’ve noticed the same thing and it dawned on me – its HOW I ask. Women (me, personally at least) tend to be long winded. We include details, we answer questions that haven’t been asked, and we turn a simple request into a 3 paragraph essay. Men get their points across in 5 words. 10 if they are very educated because they want to show off. And they don’t read emails in their entirety. LOL

It makes all the difference. There are very important emails I send that don’t get read and then the requests in the email get missed. Now, I’ve learned to A) Bullet point, B) Simplfiy and C) use terms like “see me if you need more information”. So when i finish an email and its really long – I delete and delete. Kinda like I should have done on this comment… LOL


mareserinitatis - July 10, 2010

I would like to think it’s something I can fix. However, in this case, the email was two sentences long. (“I’m not sure that both of those conditions is correct. Can you send me the files so that I can take a look?”) Therefore, I don’t think I was being verbose, and I don’t think that’s really why this person responded this way. In fact, the male colleague who wrote the person was considerably more verbose than I was.


2. Cherish - July 12, 2010

LOL…. Dang, yeah, sounds like that guy has a problem then! Not cool at all.


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