Of e-mail and chat appropriateness

I have often struggled with keeping my calm when a weird chat pops up on the office communicator, or there’s an e-mail with no head or tail. By which I mean there is not so much as an opening Hi, nor does the rest of the e-mail give you any clue about what the sender wants. I am still ready to let go of unclear e-mails, because clear expression is a genuine problem that a lot of people suffer from. Heck, I myself have the problem. I find myself beating around the bush endlessly before making an actual point. But one thing I am not is rude, inappropriate, or having a gross lack of etiquette or common sense.

The reason for this outburst is a ping I got from someone in my office yesterday.  It’s important to note here that I have not met this person, nor have I spoken on phone. My mere knowledge of him is his e-mail address which was added to a chain I initiated. So when this person pinged me yesterday, I assumed it was something to do with the e-mail I sent. But that was not to be. This uncle simply wanted to chat because he thought my surname sounded like it belonged to the region he happens to be from, or has very close affinity to. Don’t get me wrong. I do appreciate people taking the lead in initiating harmless conversations. It builds a certain degree of warmth which comes in handy when you need to get something done asap. The goodwill built over an ocassional “how was your weekend?”, “hope you had a nice holiday” comes to the rescue in such cases. But where do you draw the line?

This gentleman (?!) asked me questions about where I came from, when I joined the company;  which I answered very patiently, and good humoredly.  He also said we should meet up some time to which I gave my standard “sure thing” response assuming that this “sometime” is a vague representation of time that never comes. But then the uncle asked if I could meet up in a few minutes. I said I was working from home. To which he had the audacity to say that, “Oh I will join you in your home.” He thought this was very funny, but to me it was crossing the line. You don’t get so comfortable with someone you started speaking to for the first time, in your life, merely 5 minutes back. I didn’t respond, but he further took the liberty of saying, “bad girl, you didn’t even invite me.” I logged out of the communicator right after, but it got me thinking about how absolutely clueless about professionalism even adults with decades of experience can be. How hard is it to understand that you simply don’t say some things, especially in a world where there are very well established harassment policies?

I am quite sure that his intentions weren’t flirtatious.  What he said was the literal vernacular to English translation of, “kyun bhai, hume to app bulate bhi nahi.” But in a world where you are exposed to internet enough to know of the implications and double entendre behind expressions like, “bad girl;” you just don’t say it, even though you meant it like you would say to a child who didn’t do his homework.

What do you think? Any similar experiences you’d like to share?

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7 comments

  1. Ha ha ha. That’s super kind that you are giving him the benefit of doubt.

    Every other day my husband and I seem to be talking about how insane the world has become, By ‘every other day’ I mean EVERY other day’, as in, 3-4 days a week. SO this is what we keep mentioning. What is wrong with every body. Or was it always like this. What if we are the insane ones actually. Why are people so unprofessional all the time. Why so inappropriate.

    A week back, a colleague called my husband at 8 pm. Now my husband has never been fond of this person, specifically because of his lies and tardiness, and unprofessionalism and simple craziness.. you will know what I ma talking about. SO when he called, I was running and my husband was reading. He asked ” ghar pe ho?”. To which my husband could barely respond with a “haan”, when he was cut short by “Main aa raha hun”. Now the treadmill is in the drawing room in front of the TV. I stopped running and went to the bedroom, since I was pretty sweaty and sexy ;). Too much for him. Since this conversation gave a hint of urgency we assumed he would be there any minute now. Well, he lives on the 5th floor of the same building where we live on the 3rd floor. He should have been here in 5 minutes? 10?.. He never came. I am telling you he never came. He didn’t pick up the phone for the next 2 hours. Husband saw him in the lift two days later, exchanged a hello, but for some reason didn’t chose to ask what must have happened the other day. The man didn’t care to explain either. We have no clue what must have happened…
    Yesterday, a saleswoman at ‘Mom and Me’ giggled three times while telling me that something or the other wasn’t available. (I was there to buy something for a friend’s new born girl. No ‘good news’ here. :)) All these things that weren’t available should have been there. Like brown paper bags, gift wraps, plastic wrapper to pack the stuff! Huh?!? At one point of time she clicked her tongue instead of using the word ‘no’. I asked do we have any points as per the data on your computer? She checked and….’click’.

    Should I post a comment every time people are inappropriate around me. Would help me vent out for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so glad someone else thinks that the world is messed up. People don’t have common decency, and seem to compete for showing gross disregard for other people’s privacy and time. You should ask that colleague of your husband to never show up. I wonder how people so much as don’t ask if it’s a good time. Would we just pop-up even at a friend’s place without any notice? I really doubt that.

      The other day, our watchman randomly got a few people to check out our flat. It’s being sold, so people come and see it every now and then. But the owners have told us that they’d let us know well in advance. And this man shows up at 10:00 am in the morning with a family of 5. I am not properly dressed, I open the door while I am brushing to be in front of all these strangers, there’s underwear lying around, the house is a mess. And I don’t blame the visitors. They had given an advanced notice. The watchman just didn’t think it mattered. I feel like pulling my hair out when I see such people.

      Oh man! Those useless sales people. I don’t what’s so great about being proud for not having stocks. And they show you stuff like they are doing you such a favor. uggghhhhh

      May be it’s high time the concept of people’s privacy and time being of utmost value, is introduced to children in schools.

      Like

  2. I think I clicked on your link after I saw a comment from you on Bride’s blog some time ago. For some reason, your url kept showing up in my browser. Today, on a whim, I decided to read a little bit more. I just wanted to say that your posts on some of the shitty things that happened to you at your job helped. Currently trying to battle some crap at a job that I really really love and am actually fortunate to have. So, chancing upon your posts allowed me to breathe deeply and feel better about the things that really matter. Also, my reading bout on your blog reminds me again why I am a big believer in serendipity.

    Like

    1. Thank you! 🙂 I’m so glad my url kept showing in your browser. I haven’t shared my blog with anyone, so I get very few readers. I love it when someone new reads it, and can identify with something I wrote.

      I know what you mean. Things that most people would perceive as harmless can actually cause you so much distress. And even more when you realize that people around are not as sensitive as you to some things that are really absolutely inappropriate.

      Honestly, I keep writing only to remind myself that these are probably not the thingsd that should matter in the long run. It does help to look at it differently, or try to anyway.

      I hope the situation at your job has improved a bit. 🙂

      Like

      1. I think my despair stems from the fact that the person who is doing this totally understands how inappropriate it is, but continues doing it only because she can. She is also a good twenty years older, so for a long time I made an effort to understand her perspective and be reassuring towards her, but I realized nothing I do would stem the malice and the sneakiness. So, it was nice to know that you could rationalize being left out of information when you are driving the whole thing in the first place.

        I too keep reminding myself that this is not going to matter in the long term, but it sure helps to read it from a stranger’s point of view. That is what I found comforting about your posts.

        And ha, I don’t think I have too many readers either, even having publicly shared my blog in the past. I write it mainly as a record for myself to look back on. But, I agree it is a lovely feeling when someone leaves a comment saying something you created resonated with them.

        I wish you more of them 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Han! I know what you mean. It’s a lot easier to deal with people unaware of their behaviour than the mean devious people who just have a problem with you, mostly because you are different from them. I wish I could be like my sister in dealing with such nutcases. She tried be be fine with such people for a while, and there comes a point when she makes a mental note of saying, “fuck off” to these people, and from that point onwards, these people are just out of her life. She just won’t sweat over it. Now, how wise is that! And she is my younger sis.

        Thank you so much for wishing me more such comments. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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