Fredericton — Many professionals nearing retirement age have not quite grasped proper 21st-century email etiquette, and this is too true of Trudy Morris, 54, who works at a consulting firm in Fredericton, N.B. Morris will regularly terrify younger co-workers by emailing them, demanding they call her “right away.”
“She’s not even my direct boss, but she still kinda scares me. I think she has the power to fire me if she wants,” confided Amy Ruben, 26, who works one floor down from Morris. “So when an email from her pops up I quickly read it over, and more often than not there’s no hint of what it is she wants. It just ends with the dreaded line: ‘Please call me.'”
As we were interviewing Ruben, an email from Morris happened to pop up on the computer screen. Ruben opened it and looked deeply startled. “Oh god! She didn’t even indicate what the topic of this ‘conversation’ she wants to have is! And the tone is serious as hell. Why can’t she just email instead of giving me a heart attack?? Now I’m going to put it off all day when she probably just wants to know if I want Costco or Sobeys cake for my birthday.”
Our reporter looked at the offending email, which contained seven very serious — and completely vague — paragraphs, concluding with:
“What I have to say is brief and won’t take much of your time, but can’t be communicated over email. Give me a call, please. If I’m not there when you call, try again between 2 and 4 p.m.”
Jon Lowell, an HR official at the firm, said he’s spoken to Morris about not scaring the younger employees with these threatening emails demanding phone calls.
“She just doesn’t get it, though,” he sighed. “I told her to imagine how she would feel if, say, I came to her house in the middle of the night wearing a Halloween mask and holding a knife. The feeling that would give her is the same one she’s giving these poor Millennials who hate the phone. Obviously, I sent her this information via email. I’m not a monster.”
At that very moment, an email popped up on Lowell’s desktop.
“What the heck…oh my god, it’s Trudy! It says, ‘Hi Jon, I did not have time to read your previous email. I have something to discuss with you. It’s urgent. Call me.’
“OMG — this is the worst!” moaned Lowell. “Now my day is ruined.”