What Happened When I Didn’t Check My Email for a (Long) Weekend

Sometimes, it really does feel like all I do with my time is send and answer emails. I’m a busy college student, part of more listservs than is healthy, with an internship, and a fledgling club co-presidency. In short, there’s a lot of reasons that I “need” to be contacted. Email is the perfect way to suck up any spare time I might find myself with. Just woke up? Check my email. 15 minutes between classes? Email. Standing in line for coffee at Black Cat because I stayed up too late doing work I didn’t have time to do earlier because I was answering emails? Email, email, email.

Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash

The most frustrating thing is that often times, they look a lot like this:

 

Hello Mr. (redacted),

 

Yes.

 

—Claire

 

These tiny, brief, overly formal emails drive me insane. I once sent a response to someone in the Office of Internship and Career Development without signing it, and received a very hostile response outlining the importance of a proper introduction and conclusion. (The joke’s on them, because my boss and I send each other three word emails all the time.) After the first email, it’s an unnecessary time waster, and I’ll stand by that position until the day I die.

 

I purposefully didn’t add my work email to my phone, because not only do I not want to be accessible 24/7, I don’t want to know. I can look on my laptop and my iPad, and surely that’s enough. I send emails to myself to transfer documents or to serve as a reminder. I mark emails as unread, even when they are read, so that I will remember to deal with them, because otherwise they will get lost in a sea of other emails kept for reference. Ironically, I then become consistently alarmed when I see the number in my inbox. I don’t understand how people with 2000+ unread emails can survive.

 

So when I went home this weekend, I took a mini-break from my email. And do you know what? The world didn’t burn down. There was no emergency requiring my immediate attention, no person who was anything more than mildly inconvenienced by my slightly slower than usual response time.

 

Not to play the woman card, but AS A WOMAN, there’s already so much nuance to the sending of a simple email. How will I sound like someone who’s not a bitch if I don’t preface every sentence with “I just wanted” and conclude every sentence with that universal symbol of a non threatening woman, the exclamation point!? It’s just ever so slightly exhausting, the composition of what should be a simple request, and I’m taking what I’ve learned this weekend back to Agnes with me.

 

Am I suggesting total anarchy, a complete and utter disregard for email etiquette as we know it? No. But I am through with greetings and sign-offs after that initial email, and if I can’t do what I’m being asked to do right that second, then I’ll wait until I can, instead of rearranging my entire day. I’m constantly practicing not adding the word just, and being okay with sounding mean. It’s an uphill battle, but with just a little bit of practice, hopefully I’ll be able to do it!

 

Thanks for reading.  

 

--Claire