Delete e-mail ‘jokes’

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in Career Management,Workplace Communication

Delete e-mail "jokes"

You open an e-mail with one of those off-color jokes that winds up in your inbox. You're so amused that you forward it to co-workers.

Now you're in trouble. Sending e-mail with inappropriate or potentially offensive jokes or graphics exposes you and your employer to all kinds of problems. First, you place yourself, your colleagues and your organization at risk of harassment lawsuits. What you deem harmless may hurt a peer to such a degree that it sparks litigation.

Moreover, viruses or malicious downloads can infiltrate your company's computers through such e-mails. As a rule, delete incoming "jokes" from mysterious senders.

How to seek techie's help

Your computer disobeys your commands, so you call tech support. Just watch what you say next.

Nontechnical managers may struggle to communicate with a computer whiz. In your effort to describe the problem, you can sow confusion. For example, you may insist your login code isn't working when in fact a browser may not be opening your file properly.

A better approach is to describe your goal (i.e., what you're trying to do), what you did (your sequence of typing) and at what point a failure occurred, rather than attempting to diagnose what went wrong. Let the tech expert interrupt to ask questions.

In preparing to wage an argument with a formidable adversary, write what you want to say. Mapping out your ideas in print helps you summarize your knowledge and opinion. You can then step back and assess your case with some healthy detachment. Better yet, you'll be able to spot inflammatory points that you're better off omitting when it counts.

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