We all have horror stories of the email we never should have sent. The accidental auto-complete mistaken delivery. An email whose context is ambiguous enough that without the facial expression to accompany it, it is wildly misinterpreted. Even worse, the dreaded Reply ALL button. More frequently than not, these result in not much more than embarrassment. Sometimes they dip a little deeper into the waters of disaster (I have personally witnessed this at a previous employer where an employee ramped up threats to another coworker via email but inadvertently sent the reply all to senior management. Yes, he was fired). Beyond just creating opportunities to practice your back-pedaling skills, this can be terrible for IT infrastructure (I’ve also seen this happen live in the field where a user forwarded a 50MB attachment to 200 recipients resulting in a few hours of mail slowing to a crawl as the Exchange server scratched its head and tried to push the now approx. 10GB of data through).
The point is, though, that we all make mistakes. I read a wonderful article today about a young woman who made a fairly amusing one that has actually helped her out. The gist of it being that she sent a future potential employer an amusing picture of Nicolas Cage instead of her resume and cover letter. For the full article, see the Toronto Star article by clicking here. I’ll give you a few minutes to peruse that then finish up my take on it.
Back? Good. I’m sure you can now share in my sympathy for this poor job seeker as I imagine her cheeks likely shone red with “I can’t believe I did that!” shame. But at the same time, she was smart enough to own-up to the incident and do so in a very public forum. With internet being a potentially very harsh critical force, it could have gone to ridicule or it could have been relegated to the other infamy online: The Meme. In a strange turn of events, though, it got picked up by media and has catapulted her into just enough limelight for it to make positive changes in her life. On top of all that, she learned a spectacular lesson in how one should be careful with their email.