Before I kick off this post Hurricane Irma is basically barreling through the Atlantic and currently my cousin and her husband in Puerto Rico are doing all they can to stay safe. I’m barely able to pay attention at work as I fret that I am not prepared enough for this storm, I am too delicate. I’m a northern girl and I can survive a blizzard, but a Hurricane? EEK! If you have a second, throw out some good vibes, prayers, good thoughts (Whatever feels best for you) for those of us frantically prepping! SO appreciated. Ok, on to some stuffs:
Last week a hilarious Tweet circled the Internet and a listicle generated on Buzzfeed. The tweeter asked her followers what their most passive aggressive clap back was for the work place. This is like when Susan emails you a question you’ve answered a billion times so you remind her ‘Per my last email…” This is super passive aggressive and can make Susan feel like a jerk, even though you felt good for a few minutes. I get it, I’ve lost emails, filled them incorrectly or am just drowning in work that I need to message you really quickly for an answer. The passive aggressive clap back did nothing for the relationship you have with Susan and in fact made you look a bit bitchy … and not in a good way.
To be honest, the list had me laughing at first but then I realized, is this something I do? Yes, it is. I have shot off a note in a bitchy manner and it felt really good for a few minutes. Now, I’m all about being a bitch in the most positive way (fighting for what you believe in, standing your ground, leaning in, choosing to not embrace the latest fashion trend, etc.) but I am not about being mean because it makes you feel good.
With these clap backs we’re taking steps BACK in the work place. When a co-worker replies to an email with an attachment of the original email that was sent it feels like the email equivalent of “Are you fucking stupid?” Again you feel good. The recipient does not and this could potentially affect work relationships. And if you need to know ONE thing about me: Mama likes a full network of co-workers she can turn to at a moments notice. So work relationships are v. important.
Ok, so what SHOULD we be doing instead of these clapbacks? Here’s a few things that I’ve been thinking about lately:
“Per my last email…”
So your coworker lost an email, can’t remember, etc. Let’s not rub that in. Hoenstly, you have no idea what is on their plate. Their boss may have just run in and needed that info STAT so your coworker reached out to you quickly for an answer. What should we do instead?
Just PROVIDE the answer. “Hey Susan, The answer to your question is BLANK. Let me know if we need to get together and do a quick touch base to center ourselves on this project.”
Why this is great: You gave Sus her answer, and you also acknowledge that Susan is possibly feeling overwhelmed and you’re offering a few minutes to bring her back to center again. You, my dear, are a fucking game changer with this and a badass coworker.
“Any updates on this?” OR “Not sure if you got my original email”
Again, this is not a cute look. Let’s not pretend that your work is the most important thing in OTHER people’s day. Getting you an answer for YOUR project doesn’t help me move my projects along. So with that being said, don’t be rude because you know others are waiting on you as well for answers. Ok, so how do you get what you want in this scenario and still be a team player?
Give people deadlines: “Hey Jim, we’re getting close to our go-live date. Would love to see an update from your team by 3 p.m. Tuesday to ensure we are not at risk of pushing back our launch date.”
Why this is great: You are putting the ball in Jim’s court and giving him a specific day/time to get back to you. This way no one can say you didn’t try and you’re also explaining to Jim why you need this update. His response is critical to the project launching and you’re telling him that his lack of response could be the reason a project fails. No one wants to be the reason a project fails.
“Moving forward…/In an effort to maintain transparency”
Ok both of these lines can definitely cause some people to roll their eyes but what you’re really saying to people is “What we’re doing isn’t working, let’s try something new.” Or when people say ‘transparency’ it’s fancy business jargon for “I’m not going to lie to you, Bruce…it’s not great.” Your partners/coworkers/leader are protecting your feelings and vice versa. I do not think that these are necessarily clap backs or negative…unless you are in a negative headspace. These phrases are typical office jargon that could be done away with but until then, don’t read in to it.
Also, if I can have one last second of your time, when it doubt: PUT DOWN THE EMAIL. Pick up the phone or run down the hall and ask for an update. If you are confused by an email, call your coworker and talk it out. Email is sometimes the root of all that is evil in the world.
Friends, I urge you to always find the highest road in the work place. Worry about how your actions make others feel. Continue to strive to be the best you and build up others. At the end of the day confirm you you can 1.) look at yourself in the mirror and be ok with who you see and 2.) rest your head on your pillow blissfully knowing that you did all that you could to continue your rad reputation of being a killer team player and someone that people strive to want to work with.
I hope you never clap back, that you only take strides forward and that you continue to be the boss that you are. On that note, I need to run to Trader Joe’s, I’m not confident that I have enough rose to weather this storm!
Leave me a comment, what’s your go-to move to combat a clap back and how do you work to teach others to find new and more positive ways to interact in the work place?
Stay bossy and stay safe if Irma is headed your way!!