Have you ever emailed the wrong person?!
According to Murphy’s Law, it only ever seems to happen when you are in fact dissing the person that it accidentally gets sent to.
I can’t think of any memorable examples where I’ve Emailed the Wrong Person, but I’ve certainly been on the RECEIVING end … and I can tell you, it is almost as embarrassing and painful for the person who receives it as the one who sends it!
Hacked to Pieces
Several years ago I was the editor of a not-for-profit magazine.
I was a volunteer, working on the publication in my free time; as were all our contributors.
You know how the saying goes: when you pay peanuts … ? Well try paying nothing! Needless to say, some of the submissions needed quite a bit of work to pull them into shape 😉 .
I was passionate about giving our readers the best magazine possible, despite limited budgets and time frames, so there were times when I edited articles without necessarily giving much thought to the contributor’s reaction. In an ideal world, yes, I should have sent every piece back to the author and asked them to make the relevant changes, but knew from experience that often they never came back – and I still had a magazine to fill. It was way quicker and easier to do it myself.
This one time, I sent the revised piece back to the author for her approval as a courtesy …
Now, this doesn’t excuse me, but it does give you some background into what happened next.
You guessed it!
It was very hard to learn that the author was very unhappy with the way I had “hacked” her piece – so much so that she found it virtually unrecognisable. It was probably particularly difficult for me to read, as I knew there was more than an element of truth in it …
Yet despite all that, I felt REALLY sorry for the author and cringed at the thought of her embarrassment when she realised what she had done! She apologised profusely, and I was able to accept that apology more or less graciously – after all next time it could be ME making the mistake.
A Lesson from the Ostrich and the Snail
Last year it happened again and I found out that the other person thought I was “a bit cheeky”! It hurt, but I just ignored it and the sender never mentioned it to me, so I don’t even know if they realised that they had emailed the wrong person. But I do know that it has made me a little more cautious – both around that person (now I know what they REALLY think) – and whenever I go to hit that “send” button myself!
So here’s my advice if you’ve emailed the wrong person:
1 – Be an ostrich. Ignore it and hope nothing comes of it – because as my example above shows, sometimes the recipient is just as embarrassed and doesn’t want to say anything.
2 – Be a snail. If it does blow up, crawl. Make a genuine apology, in person (NOT by email), if at all possible.
Have you ever emailed the wrong person by mistake?! How did you handle it?
Linking with Essentially Jess for IBOT.