Some girls never grow up…

Recently a colleague of mine discovered that there was a pretty nasty (and somewhat false) set of emails circulating about her. A disgruntled former contractor decided to be fairly liberal with her address book and start a series of emails to a broad group of people that shouldn’t have been sent in the first place. It was a misunderstanding that could have been settled with a simple phone call or one on one meeting. Instead, she attempted to take it viral. It didn’t work.

Maybe you should pause before you hit send. Just saying…

While some of the people on the email thread jumped on the bandwagon, others read quickly through the complaints, attempted to solve the small problem and move on. Like all good businesswomen, they knew quick resolution would allow everyone to go back to the pressing matters of their day (and this, quite frankly, wasn’t one of them).

Since she didn’t  get the results she wanted, the original email sender starting sending more missives and then she did something fairly dastardly- she began to involve people higher up on the food chain. In short, she attempted to start a bunch of shit that could ruin my friend’s reputation or at the very least make her life a little difficult. All of this was made possible by the fact that all she had to do was push a button to send a message.

The internet has changed the world and email has profoundly affected the way we communicate (and don’t get me started on texting.) Most of my communication on a daily basis is in small sound bytes via email and I’m incredibly cautious to make sure that the tone is not misleading. I’m careful that it’s something important, that I pick up the phone or call a meeting. That way nothing can be misconstrued. But there are a lot of people that just don’t care how their emails are taken and many times they say things that they never would face to face or even via the telephone.

I remember middle school when all the girls hated on each other on a daily basis. In order to stir the pot, you had to do a very public smear campaign and lobby an entire group of girls to turn on another. I watched the same bully manipulate different factions of girls over and over. But, it took a lot of work. Lots of phone calls, notes and whispering in the halls.

Today if you hate someone, all you have to do is send an email. Push a button. And, since you’re hiding behind a screen, you can say anything you want and sit back and watch the devastation. That scares me for my soon-to-be  middle school daughter. Tweens have no scruples when they sit at the keyboard.

But, I digress. I’m not talking about pubescent girls who don’t understand how much they can hurt one another (or just think it’s fun). I’m talking about a grown woman who thinks it’s a kick to send emails that can cause harm to another. Apparently, she doesn’t remember the pain of being twelve and having a mean girl hate on her. Or, maybe, just maybe, she’s always been that girl and has never grown up.

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About debcb

All Deb wanted to do was work, until she had Rosie. For the past decade, she's juggled a full-time career, high-profile volunteer work and mommyhood.

Comments

  1. Martin Taggart says:

    All true. Cowardly to start crap and throw rocks over the email wall. Same true for text. Demonstrates an incredible lack of professionalism as well as maturity. This person was more than likely the bully from days past, and doesn’t realize we all grew up.

    Except her.

  2. Judith Benson says:

    This kind of thing continues to surprise me in the professional work place. Every so often a story like this pops up, and it shows the worst in behavior. Most curious is how folks that do this kind of calculated machinations justify it in their guts. Don’t they know how it will turn out? Interesting.

  3. So true. Some people never grow up. What they may not realize is that their actions could expose them to liability for defamation (libel/slander), if the statements are false. If the statements are true, then having “loose lips” usually only backfires in the end. Who wants to be friends with a mean-spirited adult who can’t keep a secret? I also worry about the way the internet has changed the type of damage kids can do to each other before they develop the maturity to realize that maybe they shouldn’t press the “send” button… Not only does the internet broadcast slanderous and/or mean-spirited words in a blink of an eye, but it also creates a catalogue of bullying behavior that can be googled for years to come.

  4. Best Middle School advice we recieved for our daughter was “Queen Bee’s and Wanna Be’s”. The book is focused on middle school girls and the meanest that is pumped through thier systems disguesed as estragen. Recognizing my own role in this game of queen of the hill, I quickly understood the how important it would be for my “sweet perfect” daughter to be equipped with the valuable information. I would like to recommend the book to mother’s, daughter’s and women of all ages. Those Queen Be’s will never change their black and yellow stripes. Little do they know the color of their stripes are indicitive of the color relationships everyday folks recognize. Black for the evil, vindictive behaviour these Queen’s flaunt with thier name brand clothes and thick makeup lines. Their cowardly onslaught of ridicule masked only by the power they weild over the weak. The bright yellow stripe worn to sheild the fear and inadequacy she truly feels. Her guarded facade built to protect her true identity from the same judgement the Queen rains down on the weak. Queens defend their position to avoid discovery of the Wannabe hiding inside. Being the master of your own position is as easy as shedding our black and yellow strips to become the butterflies we all wish to be.

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