Friends in low places

May 23, 2007 at 9:51 am | Posted in embarrassing moments, fun at work | 45 Comments

Ever had that “oh fuck, no no no” moment where you send an email you didn’t intend to send? Yesterday afternoon I was picking through a draft email, censoring the swear words – our detection software is sensitive to even the most ridiculous words – when Linzi phoned. During our call I absent-mindedly clicked send, and off it went, uncensored.

Two seconds later I got a red-flag mail through saying that my email had been quarantined and would be investigated for profane content. My whole body went rigid, stutter-shook as a glut of adrenaline ejaculated into my bloodstream. Stupid stupid stupid fucking idiot. I’m not joking when I say that the contents of that mail were enough to lose me my job and quite possibly my career in what I do – news travels fast among our kind, it’s all a bit incestuous. For example, in my new job, of our two external auditors, one of them is a former team-mate and the other is a former boss. There’s no escape.

However, I have a Get Out of Jail Free card for these situations – I work with the lads in IT Security, the only team in the company with access to the profanity folder. If they weren’t excellent, upstanding employees, they might be the kind of lads who lock the door on their office every Friday afternoon to review the folder and get all the juicy gossip from around the company, like discovering who’s a lesbian and you’d never have thought it. Thankfully they are all decent, honourable guys and they never, ever do anything like this. I am extremely fortunate that they were willing to afford me some discretion and allow access to their profanity folder to delete the offending item. No questions asked, and now it’s gone, and I’ve had an overdue shock to the system about the risks of using email.

If you work in an office, make yourself a friend in IT. They come in handy.

So, have you ever sent anything accidental or otherwise regrettable by email? Or text message, for that matter. Same rules apply.



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  1. hr manager at a Bigggg multinational based in the wesht received a mail sent to everyone in the company by the VP welcoming new manager from Offaly. hr manager replies “not another F$%&ing Biffo” and hits reply to all.

  2. I once asked a friend to email me something risqué to a publishing company I worked for. Nothing too bad, just something that would raise the eyebrows of IT/HR so I could find out if, and how much, email monitoring went on.
    He went and wrote something about how he was very interested in the upcoming IT manager vacancy and couldn’t believe that the current guy was allowed to work with actual people, much less the potential access to children…
    Needless to say, it was me that got the utter bollocking for it. And had to apologise to out multiple-pierced homosexualist IT manager. Despite him knowing exactly what had happened and knowing me more than well enough to understand I am not homophobic in any way.
    Those were the days.

  3. Reading that back, I guess you had to be there.

  4. I once wrote a really scathing e mail about a senior manager saying how rude and annoying she was – I meant to send it to a friend of mine but also got distracted at the crucial moment and accidentally sent it to the subject of the e mail. Queue many tense hours of waiting. Incredibly the manager rang me and apologised for all the times she was rude. Still makes me break out into sweat when I think of it.

  5. What a lot of fucking bollocks cunty pishflap shite. Who does this Kav think he is with posts like this? What a cunt!

  6. Jesus did i send that?!

    See what i did there? Genius i tells ye, genius

  7. No, sorry. not once

  8. If you’re using Outlook in work, there’s a setting on it that you can use to only send items every 5 mins instead of instantly, usually give you some time to click frantically on the outbox and hit delete!

  9. galwaywegian: Ouch. Fired?

    By the way, thank you very much for your donation.
    badgerdaddy: I dunno, I laughed anyway. I’m kind of a sick fucker as well though.
    conor: That’s ridiculous! You must’ve kept it clean, did you? I hardly think she’d be so nice about it if it had c***’s and the like in there.
    manuel: Your sense of humour is like mine. I see what you did there. Oh yes.
    Sid: Not even anecdotally?
    elly: Welcome to you. You know, I’ve been using Outlook for years and never knew you could do that. What a useful thing to know. Thanks.

  10. Variation but a member of my team was able to access my mail and the bitch read it, in particular the ones bitching about her. Only found out years later.

  11. Sneaky cow. Did she ever say anything about it?

  12. ok, I once sent an email that was really bad and I got in trouble and the world blew up, but not as we know it, and calamity gripped the shoulder of everyone I came into contact with and they laughed at me in a sneery way and humiliated me until I couldnt stand it anymore and threw myself under a jar of pickles but that didnt work cos it laughed at me too so I bought some crack cocaine but that overdosed me and I found myself waking up in a wooden coffin and banged on the sie and someone said I can hear a voice inside, but then they ignored me. I felt myself being lowered down and the last words I heard on this twisted earth was, ‘ serves the fecker right for sending that email’.

  13. not exactly. but i’s say he wished he was for a week or two.

  14. I once sent an e-mail saying what a pain in the ass a particular coworker was being… to said coworker.

    I’m more careful now.

    This whole blogging thing probably has me on some kind of watch list. I know not to check Knudsen, but I’ve seen pictures that I shouldn’t see at work more times than I can count. Not to mention my own love of bad language.

  15. sid, are you communicating from beyond the grave again? You’ve been warned about that sort of thing.
    galwaywegian, if that’d been me, I’d’ve got the CV out regardless.
    Sassy, nicely done. Easily done too, I’ve come close more than once.

    I do like you, have to censor everything I read. Knudsen’s anathema to the workplace. That’s why I read almost everything in Bloglines.

  16. No I was very fortunate that my trusty goat came to teh grave than night and dug me up with his horns

  17. A friend of mine from my old job wrote a snail mail letter to a friend of hers who lived in Spain and didn’t have internet access. In it she bitched about work and how totally unmotivated she was and how she was just arseing round on the internet planning her wedding. Unfortunately the printer was in another room – she printed it out then promptly forgot about it till one of the managers found it. It earned her an official warning…

  18. A very qualified candidate interviewed at a very uptight company in NYC. The email came back that they would not be accepting him. Deeply disappointed and mistakenly registering in my mind that it was sent by my salesperson (who is fully versed in my Irishisms) and not the uptight company I typed Bollocks!!! and sent. Didn’t think anything about it until I got the confused note back saying “I do not understand your response? ”
    Cue grovelling apologies to boss who was a good sport about it.

    Years ago we had a consultant who mistakenly sent a client company wide email explaining Pakistan’s use of nuclear weapons thinking he would be fence-mending with the Indian consultant population. He was so ashamed that he killed himself. Poor bugger.

  19. How about using yahoo or gmail for your personal email and leaving the other stuff for your work account? That way, you don’t have to worry about licking up to the IT Staff and you control how to access your own private correspondence.

  20. Caro: I know a few people who’ve done the print-out-and-forget-about-it trick – can cause serious embarrassment.
    EGW: He KILLED himself? Holy shit, that’s a bit extreme. Silly bollocks…
    P man: Welcome. I have gmail/hotmail/yahoo addresses, but unfortunately all of those sites are blocked at work so I can’t access them. The reason I was sending personal stuff from work was because I have several emails sitting in my gmail inboxes for a while now, and I haven’t done anything about them because I’ve been so busy doing work on the house and garden in the evenings. I figured I’d forward them into work and respond from work, and did just that…but tripped up along the way.

  21. I once had a one night stand with a guy and then because I as bored at work I sent him dirty emails. He told me to stop sending them because ‘cum’ ‘tits’ and ‘wank’ were not allowed in emails sent to his company. I think that really he just wanted to tell me to fuck off but used his porn filter as an excuse to ‘let me down gently’. What a tosser.

  22. Only found out ages afterwards, could never figure out how she always had the inside track – bitch.

  23. Yikes, that god I don’t work in an office. I’d be so bloody fired.

  24. I sent the link to my blog to folks in the office.

    Much later, I remembered a post about one snarky co-worker and had to race to delete it before she read it and had a breakdown (she thinks she’s perfect).

    I’ve never sent an actual email to the wrong person… that I’m aware of. (looking for wood to knock – thank god for pencils!)


    1. (n.) The period of time one spends between pressing the send button and then realizing that they really shouldn’t have sent that e-mail message.

    See, you’re not alone. They have a term for it.

  26. yes as the song goes: “People you misuse on your way up, you might meet up with on your way down”
    Pays to be cool.
    Yours;-) Paddy

  27. Or as Ozzy said in The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years, “You meet a lorra people on the way up. Don’t fuck ’em, cos yow meet ’em on the way down an’ all.”

    When he said lorra, I’m delighted to report he didn’t sound like Cilla.

  28. Kav or Sassy – what is knudsen please? Am i being tremendously thick?!

  29. A few years ago our PR Director hired a jumped up little fucker on a huge salary to do nothing but big-up her and her department through e-mails to all users. He was incapable of stringing 3 words together.

    One of his efforts was so bad that even the dyslexic spastic that worked with him distanced herself from it. I couldn’t resist taking the piss and forwarding it onto the wife for a laugh. The utter joy when she then replied to the original message and not me. Cue disciplinary procedures, employee welfare, unions and months of shit. At least it made work life interesting for a while.

  30. I went one step further. I dated a guy in IT for two years. Not only did/does it afford me access to everyone else’s business…when things on my system break all I have to do is snap my fingers and yell “garcon!” and they’re fixed. This continues today despite the fact that he didn’t ever want kids so I had to dump him. Now it’s just guilt that drives him to please me. It’s a beautiful thing. The end.

  31. I do know someone who was sending a rather filthy text to her then boyfriend and sent it to all her contacts in error. She wasn’t half as shocked as I was when I read her request to put my tongue …. Poor girl!

  32. i am so glad my office days are over…any snarky email someone gets from me…they KNOW it was meant for them *smirking*
    not that i send out snarky emails

  33. Don’t worry, Kav. It’s all part of growing up. I have to face it too … now that the last exam is over! Weeeee haaaaw!

  34. (breaks out in sweat) Oh God, I’m really really REALLY sorry! I didn’t send a reply to your work! I sent it to your Gmail account! Wait, I sent a mail saying I was sending the reply to your Gmail account…. AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH! But wait, it was perfectly clean, for work…. AAAAARRRRGGGGHHHHH! I’m sorry!

    like discovering who’s a lesbian and you’d never have thought it

    Wait, you’re a lesbian?

    So, have you ever sent anything accidental or otherwise regrettable by email?

    No, thank fuck. Although, unbelievably, I got written up for OPENING an e-mail from a co-worker.

    Once, when I was working for the government (doesn’t that sound so official?), two employees in our office were fired over an e-mail, one for sending, and one for printing an e-mail that contained a printable coupon for Outback Steakhouse. The reason given was that it was not work-related, and all employees had signed a contract that e-mail was only to be work-related. There was a one-year probationary period after any hiring or promotion, and those two people were on it, so out they went.

    I argued before our union that there was no way that I (and 6 others) should have been written up for merely opening an e-mail that was obviously from a co-worker, but my boss was a massive devilish cunt that owned the souls of several key people there, and she made it stick. Apparently we all should have previewed the e-mail before we actually opened it. A few years after I left I heard that my boss got fired, along with her sister. I did the happy happy joy joy dance, even though I didn’t work there any more.

  35. Whats a Knudsen? indeed, hes the bestest fuckoff blogger in the world so I hear.

    I send bad e-mails when I’m pished telling people how much I love them though I don’t really, did ya get my e-mail Kav?

  36. My office has 7 people and no IT guy. We also use a modem (seriously!) to access the internet. Lame.

  37. I just remembered something.

    A friend of mine got a text message saying [the sender] ‘want you to shit in a condom and put it in the freezer… then I’m going to come over later and fuck your [another word for minge that I can’t use on a family blog such as this] with it.’

    He replied: ‘I’m afraid I don’t have one of those.’

    Confused sender, a friend of his, replied: ‘One of what?’

    “A cunt.”

    Friend quickly realised his error, but was completely without shame about it then showed my mate a picture of his knob. His own, not my mate’s.

  38. I’m the IT guy everyone wants to be friends with. Fixing your screwups quietly costs one bottle of single barrel bourbon. The day my boss came to my office and saw 5 bottles of bourbon on my desk, he shook his head and said, “I don’t even want to know”.

  39. Just watch the gmail thing (logging in/out) if you’re on blogger… if you’ve got more than one gmail address you use regularly… know what I’m saying?

  40. Fired over a blooming onion FatSparrow? Now that is harsh! And BrianF did you work for us in Philly? The network guy was a bourbon man.

    sorry Kav, chatting amongst ourselves

  41. emma: I rescued it! Thank god. Losing a comment like that just doesn’t bear thinking about.
    flirty: Cunt, I’d call her. Stop, that’s awful.
    cat: You and me both! Oh wait…
    jali: You’re brave – I’d never do that.
    K8: Welcome to you. That’s a very apt name for it. I’m so relieved it got sorted.
    paddy: Absolutely. Do unto others and all that jazz. That Christ dude had a good attitude.
    badger: I’m surprised you made out a word of what he was saying.
    townygirl: Welcome along. It’s better you don’t find out. He’s a vile creation who preys on innocent weemen.
    Paul B: Cheers for stopping by. Fucking hell, women eh? They just don’t mix with technology.
    Kara: Wait, he’s feeling guilty? How’d you work that one?
    Ellie: Saucy, what did the rest say? “…into a patch of nettles.”?
    Savannah: I long for the day when I can remove the noose too. I might try to be a professional blogger.
    Sneezy: Good man, hope they went well for you.
    Slim: That is the most ridiculously pedantic thing I’ve ever heard. Stupid cunt. And no, it wasn’t your mail, it was the one directly after that!
    knudsen: It went straight into my spam folder, you need to stop talking about viagra and the like.
    Todd: Holy crap, do you work in 1995?
    badger: The minging bastard. That’s fucking disgusting.
    Brian: Cool, you’ll have to share some of those stories.
    Conan: When I was on blogger I got caught out on that a couple of times. Never had any bother though, thankfully.
    EGW: Not at all, I love it when that happens.

  42. EGW, I live in Harrisburg. I’m about 100 miles west of Philly but I’m a life long Philies and Flyers fan.

  43. I have worse… I can cite actual reader’s letters from porn magazines, as when I worked on them I had to write ‘replacement’ letters because the real ones were so very wrong.

  44. But that’s another story.

  45. You’re “lucky” the email was caught in a special folder. At my company, it would just go directly to the recipient. Don’t ask me how I know this…

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