How many times have you clicked send and wished — before your finger even left the mouse button — that you could stop the email now hurtling toward someone’s inbox? You’re not alone.
What makes email the ultimate killer app also makes it a lurking quagmire where careers go to die. Sure, you can fire off an irate email and cc others to increase the political impact, but unlike the tongue-lashing you meted out at the water cooler, there’s a record of that email waiting out there for human resources or, worse, opposing counsel to retrieve and read. Wise up and count to three (or higher) before you click send on any message that rises above mundane. The same rule of thumb applies to instant messaging; if you’re not convinced, take a moment to Google-stalk Mark Foley.
Of course, when you’re not the one making the faux pas, it’s amusing, even instructional. Recently the New York Times asked readers to share their email and IM missteps and, at last count, more than 120 people had posted their mistakes. Read and learn.