Today one of my analysts sent me an email with pictures attached of how people terrorize their drunk friends. You know, Saran Wrap-ping them to their beds, drawing all over their faces, etc. (I’m not going to bother posting the pictures, I’m sure you’ve seen them around - if not, you can do some quick searching and you’ll find them pretty easily.) In the email, my analyst made the mistake of saying, “…hope this doesn’t offend you.” HA! The plan was hatched as soon as I read those words.
First, I checked GroupWise to see if there were any company email addresses that auto-populate from “Human Resources”. There weren’t. Next, I created a new contact group called “Human Resources” with one member – myself. The beauty of GroupWise is that it only displays the common name, not the full email address. That would make the group look totally legitimate – and you wouldn’t be able to tell it was a group because GroupWise doesn’t show the members of the group, just the name.
I pulled up the original email, clicked on “forward message” and started typing my response. I had to make it look good. Then I entered the recipient as “Human Resources” (the group I had created) and carbon copied the analyst on the email. I hit “send” and waited for the fireworks. The analyst only sits two cubes away, so it wasn’t hard to keep my eye on her. She chuckled when she saw the GroupWise Notify pop-up, and then opened the email.
Now, this is what the email looked like to her:
To: Human Resources
Date: 7/17/2007 9:33:51 AM
Subject: Fwd: ??? [Offensive Email]
Please see below/attached for examples of abuse of the company email policy. I find this kind of thing to be offensive and insulting. I consider this to be a wicked, malicious personal affront, not to mention a textbook example of harssment.
The first thing she did was look at me funny. I was watching out of the corner of my eye, and it took all I had to keep it together. She turned back to her screen. Then she turned towards me and said, “Oh, nuh-uh. Ben, are you serious?” And I said, “Yes I’m serious. I’m sick of these kinds of things going around.” Then she looked back at her monitor. She turned back toward me and said, “Really?” And I followed up with, “Yes. I’m tired of it and it needs to stop.” After that, she just stared at her monitor for a while and started turning really pale.
I let her marinade in it for a few seconds before I realized I had to diffuse the situation quickly or she was going to pass out. Then I’d have to step over her body and delete the email before pounding on her chest.
I walked up behind her and started laughing, then explained the whole thing and told her it was all just a joke. She didn’t believe me at first, until I told her I created a phony group called “Human Resources”. She said she was relieved, and said she was almost on the verge of tears. I assured her that I would never turn any of them in for those kinds of abuse, ‘cuz they could nail me in a second…I mean c’mon – I’m blogging at work, for goodness sake!
Before you start feeling too sorry for her, you should know that she is one of those quick-thinking people that always seems to have a smart comment for anything you say to her. I told her it was payback for the last couple of weeks, and she admitted that I got her good. Now that it's later in the day, she actually thinks the whole thing is pretty funny.
I must have put on a good performance because she said my voice and tone were more convincing than the email. Dang! I knew I missed my calling…guess it’s time to update my resume on Monster to include “convincing office comedy in questionable taste”.