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The Many Types of Work Emails

Updated on March 30, 2014
Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannie has been writing online for over 10 years. She covers a wide variety of topics—hobbies, opinions, dating advice, and more!


"Fun" with Work Emails

Emails have really come a long way. If you think about it, did you ever hear about emails 30 years ago? The ability to email co-workers and customers is a recent addition to the workplace. We are lucky to have such a fast, efficient way to communicate at work. We've all so quickly welcomed email into our lives, many of us don't even appreciate it, but we should! Email has become such a normal occurrence at the office that we don't even think twice about it. As a matter of fact, we've even come to accept that there are certain types of emails we receive each day.

Yes, such a wonderful addition to our workday has become a work standard. The email itself has become a cliché and I'll bet your work email inbox is just cluttered with those clichés right now. You might even be reading this hub right now while neglecting to check those boring emails we've become so accustomed to receiving and sending. Let's take a moment to discuss the many type of work emails. Let's appreciate this simple, yet extremely helpful work tool.

The Spiraling Out of Control Email

The Spiraling Out of Control Email is an email that begins innocently enough. You need to figure out a basic answer and send an email to a few people. Within no time, the email is being forwarded to anyone and everyone at the company. No one knows who to respond to after a while and the answer still isn't clear.

EXAMPLE: You know that Bill, Karen, and Rob work in the products department and they should know something about a product a customer needs. You send a short email asking when the product will be available. Well, Rob has no idea and forwards the email to Beth, Veronica, and Shelly. Bill never bothers to respond at all because he still has not figured out how to work his email. Karen sends the email to two managers, one manager has nothing to do with products and you believe she only did this to get you in trouble.

By the end of the day, at least 20 people are responding to the question, each with different answers varying in degrees of helpfulness. You've also gotten at least 3 "out of office" vacation responses, as well as several answers that have nothing to do with the question. Your one email just spiraled out of control and you ended up coming up with the answer all on your own anyway.

The Oh S**t Email

Oh yes, the Oh S**t Email. It is the one we all fear. It may be a company wide email explaining why layoffs are eminent. It could be an email from your boss asking you to meet with her in her office and make sure to shut the door behind you. Wow, a private conversation that will probably involve yelling and she won't even bother to shut the door for you! Sometimes the Oh S**t Email might detail a new project that you'd rather be shot than have to work on or your email may explain how you totally screwed up an account without even realizing it. Oh, how we all hate this type of email!

EXAMPLE: "Hi Jack, just wanted to give you a heads up about a new opportunity in the sales department. Since you really seem to connect with clients, we need someone to make cold calls all next week with some companies in the area. I am sure you are up for the challenge. We can discuss it further at the meeting tomorrow."

(By the way, if someone is giving you a "heads up" in an email, 9 times out of 10, it is going to be an "oh s**t" moment.)

The All Staff Email

The All Staff Email is an impersonal email that goes out to everyone working at a company. This email can cover many topics. Some of the fun-filled options are: meeting reminders, new policies, company financial updates, and passive-aggressive emails intended for only a few individuals, but the sender did not want to point the finger at anyone in particular. If you are not familiar with the passive-aggressive all staff email, please let me give you an example.

EXAMPLE: Hi everyone! This is just a friendly reminder that we all use the work kitchen and refrigerator. If you have any food left in the fridge and/or cabinets that is not gone by Friday at 3, we are throwing it out. The mouse infestation in the kitchen, as well as the overwhelming stench requires us to make this announcement. If you want your food, please take it out of the refrigerator and/or cabinets before the end of the week. Thank you!

The Too Much Free Time Emails

At any job, there seems to be people that have just way too much free time on their hands. Perhaps it is because they really don't have much to do (wow, that must be nice!), or they are simply neglecting their work, or maybe they are just super efficient and finish everything swiftly. No matter what the reason, some people send out the most meaningless emails. Those emails are the Too Much Free Time Emails.

You will often find the Too Much Free Time Emails focus on a topic that has nothing to do with work. You might see emails with adorable pet photos cluttering your inbox. You can also see an email that has been forwarded a million times, but if you forward it to 10 people, good fortune will rain upon you. None of these emails are bad until they are sent to you from a well-meaning co-worker repeatedly.


8 AM - There are several emails from this co-worker including new pics on her dogs, cats, and an "Email Angel" sent to bring you luck.

9:30 AM - A random email about weekend activities both past, present, and future arrives in your inbox.

11 AM - An invite to go to lunch at Chili's arrives. You decline the invitation.

11:15 AM - Forget about Chili's. A new invitation to order Chinese food for lunch shows up instead.

Noon - An email letting you know there is just 5 more work hours in the day arrive. Good thing for that... it is not like you know how to tell the time or anything.

12:45 PM - An email letting you know the Chinese food arrived shows up in your inbox.

2:25 PM - A forwarded email with a series of angry cat photos appears in your inbox. It is taking up a lot of space, so you delete it.

2:30 PM - Just 2 and half more hours of work to go! Apparently your own clock broke long ago.

3:15 PM - An email with a link to some amazing deals on eBay arrives.

3:30 PM - An email about some sale items at Target shows up this time. A link to a pretty dress you might want to consider buying also accompanies this email.

4:15 PM - A random complaint email arrives that states how annoying Frank from the purchasing department can be on Mondays.

4:45 PM - The "Just 15 Minutes to Go" email arrives with a nice photo of a clock.

Work Emails

Do you find works emails help you or harm you?

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The Customer Email

Wherever you work, you most likely have customers. Even if you don't deal with them directly, they are out there. Perhaps you don't call them customers. Maybe you call them clients, members, patients, annoying people, but they are all the same. Your business can't survive without them. Sometimes these customers manage to hunt you down and they are more than happy to send you an email full of opinions.

You could even have a job where you are forced to respond to random customer complaints, opinions, or questions all day. Sometimes these responses happen come to you in email format instead of just over the phone or in person. Lucky you!

The Customer Email can cover many different topics and have many different undertones to it. Let me give you an example of a customer and his "friendly" email.

EXAMPLE: I just want to let you know about your website. I hate it. I can't login, the login reminder is not helpful, and there is no phone number. I hate the graphics on your site, I hate your products. I really can't stand your company. Please give me a call so I can give you more opinions on your rotten website.... I'd also like to place some orders as well.


The SPAM Email

Oh, where would we be without the ever so delightful SPAM email to entertain us throughout the day? I mean, seriously, I would not realize I could fly to the Bahamas for just $299! I could have gone my entire life without learning more about how I can get a $50,000 loan at an interest rate of only 89.99%. What a deal! We could certainly use that free vending machine for our office even though we have plenty throughout the building. Obviously, someone really researched our organization before sending that lovely email.

Perhaps my favorite of all SPAM emails are the doctors, lawyers, and other millionaires that want to share their fortune with me for no apparent reason. I also especially enjoy the mystery emails that we receive with cryptic messages and photos. We even viewed one on our whiteboard during a meeting at work once! It was amazingly entertaining and who knows? Perhaps it was a terrorist threat. Thanks for the SPAM emails!

EXAMPLE: We have been veiwing your webiste and our happy to invite are help. we have great reputtattion and we work wit companys like yours all the time. Please call about out marketting deals. SEO is are specailty with all customers like yourself. Call today wit credit card infomartion.

The Midnight Email

Somewhere in your company is at least one obsessed person that logs on to the system all night to monitor everything that happens. This person sends the Midnight Email. Sure, you probably won't get this email until you wake up in the morning (unless you are the obsessed person up all night working), but someone at your office cares enough to work on emails all night long. He or she probably has a fax machine, copier, printer, scanner, and a ton of coffee in their home office, too. At least this person is steady getting work done, so it is no harm to you unless you are actually expected to respond by 2 AM. If that is the case, you might want to seek new employment right now.

EXAMPLE: Hi Marge, I was just reviewing those reports for the Perkins account tonight and I noticed one column D in spreadsheet B is $10 off. Do you think you can take a look at it as soon as possible? If you are up right now, and I sure hope you are, please feel free to send it back to me when you are through with it. It is around 1 AM right now, but I know you like to watch those late night talk shows, so I hope you are up and able to do this for me. Thanks a bunch!

The Response Email

In many instances, we are not just typing emails all day for the fun of it. We are typing them because we need some type of response back. This can be to outsiders like customers or clients, or perhaps you need the go ahead from a fellow co-worker to move forward on a project. For whatever reason, you need a response.

The Response Email comes in many different formats. Each one can be a little adventure when you read it. Since there are many types of Response Emails, I would like to give you some examples.


The Not a Real Response Email - I will get back to you in a couple days because I don't know the answer yet. Thanks!

The Angry Response Email - I thought I told you I was not going to assist you with this project! Learn how to take no for an answer.

The Secretly Angry Response Email - I am still not able to help you with this matter. It is best to email someone else next time. :-) Thanks a bunch!

The Overly Long Explanation Response Email - I was just checking my inbox, and my gosh, I can't believe I did not see your email sooner. You see, I had to take Barney to the vet the other day and my mother has been sick, so I lost a little focus, but everyone is feeling better now. As far as that client goes, I think I remember once asking Diane about them....

The Confusing Response Email - Yes, lunch on Tuesday is great! (The original email asked about parking passes.)

The Overly Short Response Email - No

The Selective Response Email - This is when you ask 3 basic questions, but the response only includes one answer to one question, which means sending even more emails.

The Not So Professional Email

In business, you can't expect your customers to be on their best behavior all the time. Some customers really do not know proper email etiquette. However, your co-workers and workers from other companies you associate with should indeed know how to be professional. For some reason, many workers do not. I am not sure if this is because of text messaging, but people are sometimes a bit too casual when typing messages. This leads to the Not So Professional Email.

EXAMPLE: Yo bro, could you forward that fax to me? I got a freaking crazy deadline right now and my mind is about to blllllooooowwwww uppppp!!! And hey buddy, thanks 4 looking out 4 me. I got your back at the next meeting! LOL - Peace out.

(And why was this message sent to the CEO? Hmmm.)

Check Your Emails!

I hope you've enjoyed this little journey into email madness. Now that it is all over, it is probably time to check your own emails. I hope some are a bit more professional than the last email example. Maybe you'd like to email somebody right now or perhaps respond to someone with an annoying cryptic message. Have fun!

Copyright ©2013 Jeannieinabottle


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