I pissed off no less than three coworkers today, all in one go. Well, two for sure. Plus I have no doubt employee #3 will be pissed when she gets back to the office later this week and reads her email. Or as soon as employee #2 calls her to bitch about me behind my back.
In charge of updating the company website, I requested basic info from everyone ages ago so I could draft each employee's bio for the "Who We Are" page. Note that I said "so I could draft" not “asked them to draft and send me ready copy.” All they had to do was jot a few words down next to 9 bullet-listed items. All but 4 employees responded to the original requests. Here is today's pisser-offer:
"Okay you deadbeats! I asked you for your bio last July. For the math challenged, that's 11 MONTHS AGO. This email is only going out to the people who ignored me. Buttheads. I've waited long enough. Please answer the following questions today. [bullet-list of basic info: name, title, etc.] Please do this TODAY. How long can it take? Regards, Sheila"
A bit harsh, perhaps. In my defense, I did send two previous emails politely and professionally requesting the information and I brought it up at the staff meeting last week when the partner said the website update was now a priority. You know, the staff meeting: where all employees are together in one place so everyone hears what is said and no one can claim "No one told me."
Employee #4 sent her info prompty and included a joke. However, employees 1 and 2 sent their info along with a note that described my email as “degrading.” Degrading? Oh my god. I didn’t mean it that way. That’s just my wicked personality and rapier wit. Everyone knows I’m never serious. I feel terrible. I hate people who degrade other people. I don’t want to be one of them! I apologized to employee #1, who graciously accepted. I apologized to employee #2, who did not.
And then I started thinking…
Wait a minute…degrade: to deprive of self-esteem or self-worth. Dammit, that was totally the intent of my email: to get their attention and make them feel bad for ignoring my previous requests so they would actually respond this time. And by golly it worked! They sent their info immediately. But how did they both come up with the word “degrading”? Coincidence? Or did they have a meeting to talk about what a big asshole I am and synchronize their terminology?
So now I feel bad for feeling bad, and oh dear god I actually apologized. Twice. Because of course you apologize when you make someone feel bad regardless of whether you meant to make them feel bad. Right? I mean, that’s what nice people do. Right? Only later does Miss Nicey Pants realize what she should have said was, “I am sorry you chose to ignore my two previous requests for this information and I was forced to bitch-slap it out of you. Perhaps you will respond in a timely manner in the future. Oh, and bite me.”
Miss Nicey Pants feels better for at least having shared that with you, gentle reader.