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  • Writer's pictureDr. Shraddha Joshi

#mailfail 3: You’ve got (fail) mail!

Have you ever wished that your laptop or phone had superpowers? And that it could retrieve/recall or replace a sent email even after the window of 30 seconds offered by standard email service providers.

Have you accidentally or inadvertently sent emails that have made you repent or embarrassed to such an extent that you felt that the earth should open and consume you? It could be mistakes like hitting ‘reply to all’, sending a sensitive email to your boss instead of your colleague or sending confidential information to your client instead of your higher-up. The list is galore.

Here are a few email blunders that would tickle your funny bone and might make you thank Heaven that you were not the sender of the email:

Wrongly engaged: While writing a leave application to his boss, an employee wrote that he wished to apply for leave because he had his ‘sugar pack’ and needed time to prepare for an important occasion in his life. Obviously, the boss could not make head or tail of his employee’s email. When summoned, he translated the word in Marathi, which is sakharpuda (engagement). So, he was getting engaged soon and wanted some days off for the event.Whether his leave got sanctioned or not is for you all to guess. Perhaps, had he cross-checked doubtful words or got his email reviewed by his colleagues, he could have prevented this error.

Auto wrong: As an administrator, one of my friends is privy to emails sent by students. One student addressed the Director of the institute as ‘dear dictator’ instead of ‘Dear Director’. The Director, a gem of a person and one who did not have even an iota of dictatorship in him did not take offense and reverted in a very polite manner. He just counselled the student to edit his email before sending it to anyone. At the climax of the story-the student replied – ‘of corpse, Sir! To quote another similar instance, once one of my relatives, who works in a college got an email with the subject line- Urgent: All faulty members. To the sender’s good fortune, some discerning ‘faculty’ member herself pointed it out and the sender got away with an apology.

Attached or detached: Once a friend wrote a promotional email to a client. It is a promotional email, naturally, she had praised her organization and its offerings to the skies and requested the client the go through the brochure enclosed and revert if they had any queries. However, she forgot to enclose the attachment. The client must have sailed in the same boat at some point in time and so did not make a lot of fuss about it and politely requested her to send the attachment.

Well, the senders of the emails quoted above had benevolent readers and pardoned them with a big heart. But all of us may not be so fortunate!

Also, though the above emails sound funny, they sound unprofessional and gauche.

The panacea: Overly relying on tools could be reduced and checking our email for the 7 c’s of communication before hitting the ‘send’ button would help. If you do this, you have got mail (pun intended).


Dr Shraddha Joshi has a doctorate in English from Symbiosis International (Deemed) University, Pune. With more than fifteen years of teaching experience, she has taught English and Communication Skills to Corporates, Indian as well as International Students. Dr Joshi has an affinity for Soft Skills and is a certified Corporate and Soft Skills Trainer. As an ESL/EFL (English as a Second/Foreign Language) trainer, she has published and presented papers at various National and International Conferences and has also conducted workshops for teachers and students on diverse topics. Her other areas of interest are English Literature and Women Studies.

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