Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A Fabricated Incident for Your Consideration

I have a hypothetical situation for you. Suppose, hypothetically speaking of course, you are working on a time-sensitive project with an individual you just met. The project is worth a great deal of money. Further, you are unfamiliar with the type of project and must immerse yourself in a stack of research that is seven inches tall.

Yes, I measured. In my imagination, of course.

Suppose—again, this is purely hypothetical—you are beginning to feel the stirrings of angst that always set your heart aflutter and strike you nearly-dead two weeks prior to a project’s deadline. This feeling, once abloom in your gut, only grows with increasing urgency into nuclear proportions as your two tactful emails “touching base!” and “just checking in!” go unanswered.

If you had emailed such messages (not on the same day), of course.

So your possibly imagined emails have gone unanswered and the speculative deadline for the “Maybe she’s born with it, Maybe it’s Maybelline” unfamiliar, scary project is rapidly approaching.

And then? And then your inbox dings a merry little ding (Ding!), speculatively speaking, and you click “Open” with much theoretical anticipation.

You hold your breath.

Your prayers, conjectural that they are, are about to be answered with the information you so desperately need to finish the assumed job in a successful manner.

So what does this hypothetical email response to your polite “touching base” inquiries read? Well, I’m not saying this happened to me yesterday at 2:46 p.m., but the email (could have) begun:

“I’M WORKING ON PUTTING MORE TOGETHER USING YOUR OUTLINE. OOPs – caps lock was on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Anyway …”

All-caps signify shouting, and you may be surprised to learn that I’m not a fan of being shouted at. (I know! It shocked me, too!)

Now, if this was a real situation, I would have been aghast. My cheeks would have flooded with hot shame. I would have second-guessed myself immediately (did I come across too strong? Am I being annoying? Did my last email sound bitchy? I am being annoying, aren’t I?)

So the question I beg you is this: hypothetically speaking, is this person being incredibly passive-aggressive? A big meanie? Or am I reading waaaaay too much into a supposed situation?

I should also tell you that in my spinelessly effusive first meeting with her I went a bit overboard with the “charm,” asking her all about herself, including how long she’d been a (insert relevant career position), if she enjoyed it, and whether or not she still lived in the city. To which she snipped, “Yeah. You asked me that already.”

Now, hypothetically speaking, what do you think?

Wait; I mean, WHAT DO YOU THINK???!?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  1. i gots no advice for ya....

    what part of the hand-shaped state are you from?

    thanks for visting and your comment.

    Jess Riley has left a new comment on your post "Besiege My Mom Bulge":

    I'm feeling pretty fat and abstinent lately, but I'm too lazy to work out or seduce my husband. So I'll just complain about it.

    (Hey, I'm in Wisconsin too! And my job is tax-funded, too! Kind of.)

  2. The odd thing is, if she was really trying to yell at you she probably wouldn't have said "OOPS - caps lock was on!!!" But then the odder thing is, if she really didn't mean to type it in as all caps, she should have went back and retyped it as lower case.

    Very devious. This woman is definitely playing with your head - maybe.

  3. I don't know if she meant to yell at you when the caps lock was on or not, but snipping at you because "you asked her that already" when you were just trying to be personable is kinda snatchy.

    Working in an office is unfamiliar territory for me, but I suppose poking her accidentally-on-purpose with a pencil next time she acts like a tool wouldn't be conducive to a friendly work environment, either.

  4. SHE HAS PMS (ooops - caplock was on). And lacks e-mail charm. Blow her off.

    You are so honest and hilarious. You can certainly handle it :o)

  5. surcie10:11 PM

    (I wrote an absolutely brilliant comment earlier, but I don't know what happened to it.)

    Yeah, uh, who can't delete an accidentally-capitalized line and retype it? Also, I do think it's extremely unprofessional not to reply to email or voice messages in a timely manner. It does come off as passive aggressive.

    Just keep being your wonderful, friendly self, Jess. Sounds like whatsherface could learn a thing or two from you.

  6. "To which she snipped, 'Yeah. You asked me that already.'"


    Here. Type this in reply:

    "FUFUFUFUFUFUFUFUFUFUFUFUFUFU!!!! (Oops! Sorry! My FU lock was on.)"

    I am childish. I'm not proud of this.


    Oh, did I say that out loud? She sounds like a piece of work, Jess. Sorry. Send her a red velvet cake with lots of toxic red dye for Valentine's Day. You'll feel better knowing that you have shaved 20 seconds off of her life expectancy, and made her gain two pounds. Heh, heh.

  8. God, this is why I hate e-mail so. Because I am one of those people who reads everything into nothing, or maybe it's something, or maybe it's everything! I never know!

    She's too BUSY to go back and delete the part with all caps, of course. That's what she's projecting here. She is as insecure as you, me, all of us, and she feels guilty for not getting back to you, so she is using how BUSY she is as an excuse.

    There's my 5-cent analysis.

  9. Yikes. I don't like her snippy comment to you in person. As for the e-mail, at the very least, she's not very detail oriented otherwise she would have just gone back and deleted the allcaps. At worst, she is rather passive agressive, for not having deleted and you have cause for concern.
    Good luck and I'm glad the project is only another two weeks.

  10. She is lame. Game over.

    You are better than her, and if you keep all your e-mails from her as documentation, when the inevitable pissing match occurs in which she blame-storms all problems on YOU, you have backup as to her sheer lame-ness.

    Ask me how I know.

  11. I second Jozet's advice.

  12. I'm a little confused about the whole situation, but, from what I know of you, you are a highly reasonable, unexcitable and down to eart sort, so my inclination is to assume she is the flaming nutball in this situation.

    Strange woman. Hypothetically speaking, of course.


    Her, not you.



    seriously--i would give benefit of the doubt. your two emails do not sound at all annoying. REALLY.

  15. I swear, my first reaction was that she is not running on all cylinders (oh god, the car metaphors have gotten to me!), not that she was being bitchy or passive-aggressive. And as a former IT project manager, I've sent thousands of those thinly-veiled WTF-are-you-doing e-mails disguised as "hey how are ya how's this super-duper important project and your extremely pivotal role going?" friendliness.

    Seriously. She sounds like she's pretty stupid. Which would worry me more than bitchiness if I were depending on her to help complete a project.

  16. There's no way to tell what she meant with the caps lock thing (I'm sure she noticed it before writing all nine words???) but it could be (hypothetically, of course) that she was just too lazy to do anything about it. It sucks when other people control our ability to do what we need to do - argh!!!

  17. Ouch. Email is a horrible way to communicate at times, isn't it? I'd pick up the phone and call her. You have that right. Ask if she's tired/overworked/miffed for some reason or just always so casually inconsiderate (*tee-hee*). That said, though, I would say ONWARD and forget about it. It's not worth the stress at your end.

    Have a good one! (Sorry for not popping by sooner -- congrats on your debut coming out in '08 btw) -- I'm on a deadline for my 3rd novel and have zero time to fit in blogging these days. :)

  18. Definite passive-aggressivity (is that a word? Maybe I could look it up or spell check it. But I can't because I'm typing this and not talking to you. I can edit what I say but not what I spend several minutes writing out. Write? Oops. I think I misspelled "right"? Didn't I? Sorry!)

  19. I tend to assume that I piss off/aggravate/anger most everyone I meet, so an ALL CAPS reply would tend to suggest I had done so again. But...that's just me.

  20. I'd say she's just not that bright. Not the sharpest tool in the shed. A dim bulb. Forget it - and keep pestering her very clearly and directly if you need info or input from her.

    You, on the other hand, are hilarious.

  21. Jess, you are so damn funny, honestly...

    Okay, first of all, I thought that she was being passive-aggressive with the whole "oops - caps lock is on! tee-hee-hee" (okay, so I inserted the "tee-hee-hee" part, but that's what I heard when I read it.

    However, when you inquired whether or not she still lived in the city and her bitchy reply? That you already asked her that? She's just plain ole aggressive. Not assertive, but aggressive. And that's not showing ANYONE any respect, including her own over-tight cooch.

    I think she's a rude bitch who needs pepper sprayed. Hypothetically speaking.

  22. lol, I don't understand the point of typing "oops, caps lock was on...". isn't it just as easy to delete the capped sentence and retype it WITHOUT the caps lock on?

    you're dealing with a psycho, jess. ;)

  23. I had an ex that would turn on the outside hose, the washing machine, AND the dishwasher when I jumped into the shower...

    If you could, I'd tell you to ditch that passive-aggressive bitch in a heartbeat. Two key things:

    1. If it's true that she "accidentally" left the caps on, why didn't she just go back and retype it?
    2. If she didn't notice it, it's probably because she looks at the keys while she types. Because she didn't retype it probably means she's a slow typer. In which case, do you really want her on the job?

  24. The only thing I noticeD was that TB corrected Harmonica Man's grammar before I had a coronary and searched him down in the blogosphere and SAID WTF?

  25. Maybe she thinks she's being charming? If true, watch out. No humor. At least, not the good kind.

  26. Hmmm.

    I think it's odd that she would say the "caps lock was on!!!!!... " rather than go back and fix it.

    Sounds either lazy or just very strange.

    (And what's with all the exclamation points?)

    Or, given her "You asked me that already" snip, this gal might simply lack any kind of social graces.

  27. I know my impressions of America are all garnered from the Rockford Files and Starsky and Hutch but isn't the correct etiquette in this situaiton to arrange a drive by shooting?

  28. I don't know, Jess. I think I would have been more upset about her "Yeah. You asked me that already" comment. NOT COOL....

  29. Once I was interviewing for a job and the interviewER asked me the same question twice . . . I took that as a bad sign!

  30. I HATE situations like these (hypothetical, though they are). I'd say she's being a little passive-aggressive. If I'd begun typing and saw that the CAPS were on, I'd delete what I'd typed and start over. Besides, what are the odds that she wasn't looking from the get-go?

    Best of luck!