My inbox is full of questions from people who should know the answers before they even hit send, and it makes me wonder whether I should respond to the queries at all. What value do I provide when the same 5 people ask the same 10 questions day after day after day? What could possibly change so drastically in the software they trained me to use less than one year ago to result in people who seemingly, in the not-too-distant past, had all the answers to send messages that deteriorate the confidence I once had in their ability to understand our systems? I do not know.
As priorities, projects, and people's expectations of me stack up, new waves of confusion and confoundedness wash up in unexpected places to interfere with irrational schedules and illogical deadlines. I'm asked to answer questions about things that are outside my scope and responsibility "ASAP", as though none of the twenty other items on the day's priority list are actually priorities. It's weird.
Lately people are bypassing "the process" within the company and sending messages directly to me, trying to get answers for things that others either do not know or do not wish to know. While it's nice to feel wanted and to have people think I have the answers they seek, it's also a sign that maybe people at all levels of the company could do with a little follow-up training and support to help remind them of how things work, and why they work the way they do … be it logical or otherwise. This will never happen, though. Managers do not like to think they're in need of this kind of support, and middle-management hates it even more.
Sometimes I just want to ditch email, as very few messages are ever positive. Rarely will a person write to say "Here's this awesome thing I found that you might like!". Instead it's people who want something … or companies that want something … or spam connoisseurs who want something.
Do we even need email anymore? Doing away with it would instantly drop the stress levels of millions around the world. It would also get rid of those annoying four and five-digit notification counters on people's phones. People who, admittedly and unashamedly, never read their email. This certainly sounds like a win-win.
It won't happen, though. Email, for better or worse, is here to stay. Even if I remove the work account from my mail clients. And sometimes I just want to …