Email: The Silent Productivity Killer

June 21st, 2011

This is Part 2 in a five-part series on the origin of Dan of the Day.
Part 1: X-Men Origins: Dan of the Day
Part 2: Email: The Silent Productivity Killer
Part 3: How Chuck Norris Inspired Me to Spam the World with Random Funny Thoughts
Part 4: Why You Should Listen to the Voices in Your Head
Part 5: Two New Things You Can’t Live Without

The workplace can be a dull place at times, especially when you’re working as an engineer. This can lead to massive waffle breakfasts in the break room, ugly sweater contests and, more importantly, very funny emails.

A bunch of people wearing really ugly sweaters

Some of them happen by accident, like when someone accidentally sends out an unimportant email to a distribution list with thousands of people on it. Those usually go something like this:

Employee 1: Please take me off this distribution list.
Employee 2: Yes, me too.
Employee 3: Take me off as well, please.
Employee 4: Why am I on this list?
Employee 5: Please remove me from this email. Thank you.
Employee 6: Please do not reply all.
Employee 7: Me too.
Employee 8: Me too.
Employee 9: Please remove me as well.
Employee 10: People, stop replying to all.
Employee 11: I would like to be removed from this list also. Thx
Employee 12: Wow, someone really messed up on this one.
Employee 13: Me too.
Employee 14: Why am I here?
Employee 15: Are we talking existentially?
Employee 16: Plz remove me.
Employee 17: Please stop replying to everyone! You are filling up my inbox!
Employee 18: Take me off this distribution.
Employee 19: Stop replying all when you are telling people to not reply all! You are only making the problem worse!
Employee 20: Ever notice how everyone replying to email is American?
Employee 21: STOP REPLYING TO ALL!

This typically continues for a full hour.

Another one of my favorites was when a guy I didn’t know sent out a cryptic message to the whole department (~100 people):

OOP. WFH as much as possible.

My friend made a guess at what the letters stood for, and I replied to the guy letting him in our joke. Only I didn’t reply to just the guy who sent it, I replied to the ENTIRE DEPARTMENT:

Out of potatoes. Work for hamburgers as much as possible.

I sent that to four levels of management. And I can assure you that none of them got a kick out of it.

Then there are the “sharing” emails, like, “Hey, check out this awesome video,” or, “This guy changed his preferred name to Farquaad the Magnificent in the company directory.” Sometimes there is sharing of personal details that really make you wonder about people, like “I ran for student body president as a ninja in college.” The sharing can become so pervasive that you might find yourself replying, “Please take me off this distribution list,” or, “Why am I here? And I’m asking existentially.” Which brings us to Dan of the Day.

Dan of the Day actually started as a daily email (you can still subscribe), but it was inspired by another daily email: Chuck of the Day.

Tomorrow’s edition: How Chuck Norris Inspired Me to Spam the World with Random Funny Thoughts

(In case you’re still wondering, the reason you are here is because so far Chuck Norris has allowed you to live.)

Part 1: X-Men Origins: Dan of the Day
Part 2: Email: The Silent Productivity Killer
Part 3: How Chuck Norris Inspired Me to Spam the World with Random Funny Thoughts
Part 4: Why You Should Listen to the Voices in Your Head
Part 5: Two New Things You Can’t Live Without