Think before You Hit "Send"

22nd March 2011

You know the feeling: After hitting "Send," your heart ceases to beat. Your hands sweat as you call your co-worker and shriek, “please tell me I did not hit "Reply All.”

After two decades of perpetual job email use, you might imagine yourself too tech-savvy to make the mortifying, sloppy mistake of hitting the "Reply All" button.

Sadly, many who once had lucrative careers can attest that we apparently are not. Why do we keep putting our jobs on the line because of inattentiveness?

Brent Nelson, the top advertising director for the London Richards Group, intended to provide his supervisor with a list of employees he was considering firing at their upcoming career review.

Additionally, it included a great deal of disparaging remarks about several major clients.

Instead, it shot out to every staff member, from the newest recruit to the oldest, as well as the client “short list.” As luck would have it, this list contained the biggest stockholders at Richards Group.

Chaos ensued. Mr. Nelson spent the rest of the day apologising to his staff and numerous colleagues.

His final email simply read, “I could not be more embarrassed. I will now climb in a hole.”

Nelson’s career was over; however, other jobs were saved.

When used as intended, "Reply All" is a helpful tool for training new recruits and a convenient way to relay information. However, at least one company, Nielsen, the TV-ratings provider, has eliminated the button from its system.

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