Sarcasm 101

I’ve had the same e-mail address for years. And I mean YEARS. To the point that I had 11,000 unreads and it was time to either shut down the inbox or clean it out.

Upon cleaning it out yesterday (as I had missed a VERY important e-mail over the weekend and I decided I couldn’t stand the clutter anymore), I found a gem of an e-mail that had once pissed me off seven ways to Sunday. But I remember why I kept it.

I won’t give it a year, a city or even a hairstyle or jean size, but the e-mail chain goes a little something like this.

I was pretty much told to run absolutely every thought, question or idea past someone above me. In my own rebellious little mind, I wrote imaginary e-mails that entailed asking whether I could use the restroom or get another cup of coffee, if that would be OK. (Yes, I am inherently 5 years old.)

At the time, I was formulating my plan to document what a good minion I really was. (Because I WAS. Sure, I could have been better, but I wasn’t a slouch, either.)

I was kind of suspecting that this person was looking for reasons to give me the boot. And hoo boy, does my diary have some fascinating transcripts. But alas, an entry for another year. 😉

Anyhoodle, even though I knew exactly who could answer a question I had, I put on my little halo and dutifully typed a note to, not the person who requested my obedience, but their designee while they were AWOL.

The response was a hilarious and sarcastic, “Let me introduce you to ____.”

In other words, I was directed to the one I knew could answer the question. Someone I had known a LONG time, and pretty well, actually. The request wasn’t forwarded to the right person but, instead, replied to me and cc’d to the usual recipient.

That was one of those pivotal career moments I will never forget. One I will NEVER employ myself. I’d rather put a gun to my head than intentionally make a subordinate feel small or stupid for trying to do the “right” thing.

Look, I felt dumb even asking the question when I knew who could answer it. Shit, I even knew the answer to it. But I had an idea how to change it to make it more effective.

And I also knew that, if I took the question above instead of across the hierarchy, I could also get the blessing to *change* the status quo. That if we had some discourse, as I admit I prefer to “apologize later” than “get permission,” I could freely go about my day and everyone would know what I was up to and, thus, order would be restored in the magical kingdom.

In the end, someone else was left feeling smug, and probably feeling that I was pretty damn stupid. And I was feeling that way. Because I fucking knew better and there was a reason why I didn’t engage in discussion with things I could identify and fix without an iota of fanfare.

In retrospect, I do get it. I get when people can’t give up control. They get paranoid that everyone is against them and plotting their demise. Shit, I don’t have that much energy OR creativity. I just wanted to make things easier so that we could have the capacity to take on more-challenging projects without having to expand the staff size.

And perhaps I should have said all that stuff. But I didn’t. I just put my head down and never really picked it back up after that.

“Let me introduce you to _____.” Heh. That’s the kind of thing I think in a day but would never dare SAY. Bravo on that one, old friend. Bravo.

I never figured out whether they were crazy enough to have the balls to say that and still expect loyalty in return. Maybe it was to incite a reaction in me other than defeat. I don’t mind tough love and, in fact, sometimes I truly welcome it. But there has to be love somewhere in there for it to be effective.

Oh well. Water under the bridge that I didn’t manage to jump off of. Huzzah.

I’m deleting that e-mail now.

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