When I was a wee attorney, I had to fly to North Carolina for a deposition. Checking my emails when I landed, I saw that the court reporter had written to confirm that the deposition was still going forward the next morning.
I sent a reply on my blackberry - or at least intended to - but my fat fingers somehow, in the process, scrolled to the next message and pushed reply all. Alas, the next message was one which included every single person employed by my humongous, international law firm. Not just the 2000+ lawyers, but paralegals, secretaries, administrative staff, etc.
The text of the message:
"I sure hope so. I just got off the plane and am headed straight to the hotel."
It was just ambiguous enough to suggest some very inappropriate behavior. I literally felt sick when the message popped back up in my inbox (since I was on the All Firm distribution list).
Well, the emails came streaming in, ranging from "idiot" to "take pictures" to "call me when you get back to the office - we need to talk."
But that's not the end of it. I was immediately faced with a no-win dilemma: just stay silent and let it die or write back — again to the entire firm — to try and make light of it. After some soul-searching, I opted for the latter, with some weak comment about my fat fingers and that the court reporter will be relieved to know that the deposition was going forward.
Epilogue: it took about 3 weeks before I stopped getting sarcastic emails, I had to sit through an uncomfortable talk with the head of my office about email usage and even now, about five years later, I still every once in awhile run into someone in the firm (at least I'm still employed) who recognizes my name.
You will survive, but they will never forget. Tap with caution.
I hate outlook. I mean, the two below incidents are ultimately my fault, but still.
1. I send out a report every morning detailing our company's sales for the previous day. It was around holiday time, when the office is dead, and most people are gone. I was bored out of my mind, so in jest, I wrote "I love [blank]", the blank being the office girl I have a crush on. I put it in white font thinking, no one's ever going to see it unless they highlight it. Cut to a hour after I send it, someone calls me and says "Why did you write that?" Turns out if you have auto-preview turned on in outlook, the message shows up, even if it is in white font. Embarassing. I'm still not sure if the girl I have crush on it. Luckily I'm good friends with the MIS dept and they were able to delete the email off everyone's inbox, and since it was holiday, I don't think everyone read it. But still, I kept to my desk for about 2 weeks after that.
2. A few weeks ago, I sent out another report that I usually review with the COO first. It's been that way for a few years now, and my direct supervisor has never said anything about reviewing it. Except lately, she's been on a "I'm going to be a micro-manager" kick so she emails me saying she wants to review it now. So I forward her message to my friend saying "Really? She wants to be a manager now?" And yeap, whatdaya know, I sent it back to her by mistake. Thanks outlook address auto-complete! To top it off, it was the day our year-end reviews were do to HR and she was writing mine. I wanted to tell her that technically, this incident should go on next year's review.
The vice president for student affairs at my university accidentally sent an email subject-lined "Draft" like, two days after 9/11. There was a little bit of panic until he explained it was an unfinished email, not a reinstatement of selective service.