The Fearsome Five of An Office Email Thread


The Fearsome Five of An Office Email Thread

Illustration: Juergen Dsouza

As a fairly straightforward person, corporate jargon and long email threads are the bane of my existence. For years now, I’ve had to type, “Can I please not be CC’d on this pointless chain of emails?” and fantasised about sending it to everyone on the thread. But because I care about my pending EMIs and career prospects, I am left with no option but to flaccidly press down on the delete key instead. Adding to my hundred-odd pile of unread office emails.

Company-wide email greetings of “Happy Birthday, Pinky!” and “Welcome to the Team, Subodh!” were torturous enough. But the worst emails I receive include the ones from handles I don’t recognise, with a few Excel sheets and absolutely zero fucks from most people on the thread. But who are the active participants on a long email thread?  

1. Gmail Guru Nakul

This client-facing ninja is basically a living, breathing mail-bot with no soul. Constantly updating you about Gmail’s new features that you didn’t know were legal, he sometimes yells out “as discussed” and “please find attached” in his sleep. He loves starting an email thread for everything and is the sole reason most of our office inboxes are filled with random unopened subject lines like, “The way forward” and “Thought This May Interest You.” No, Nakul, it does not interest us. It never interests us.

2. Warm Regards Madhura

Madhura possesses a special talent when it comes to magically transforming even the nastiest feedback into a professionally worded, floral essay. For instance, “Yeh kya brief hai bc?” is translated into “Team is hoping for more clarity.” “Client hila rahe hai kya?” morphs into “Team wanted me to follow up.” Only wish she would stop marking the creative team in all of her communication. Warm Regards, Madhura. We love you.

3. Validation Varun

Nobody cares about Varun’s opinion. He is only marked on these emails because he holds some high-ranking, cushy post. But every once in a while, he decides to chime in with “feedback”. And because Varun’s email signature includes his generic European University MBA, he is entitled – to his opinion, and in general. Following his “inputs”, the rest are left with no choice but to reply with, “Sure, that sounds fair” and “Thank you for bringing that to our notice.” Who neglected you as a child, Varun?

4. Brand Manager Mohotarma

The four feedback emails she sent “in-line” are little more than four different ways of passive-aggressively telling the creative team, “Tumhein salary kyun milti hai, chomu?” She has a knack of turning what could be said over a ten-minute phone call into 23 emails spread over an entire work week. If she’s feeling really threatened, be prepared for your notifications to be filled with marketing gobbledygook like “Brand Nucleus”,  “Engagement” and “Virality.” But on emails where her bosses aren’t marked, she ends most email threads with a simple, lowercase “k”.

5. Creative Team Tarun

Tarun doesn’t check his 78 unread emails until 7pm in the midst of his 12th smoke break. The realisation of having 14 hours to meet unrealistic deadlines feels bad at first, but then he shrugs it off since he has no life anyway. After analysing every word of the thread and burning the midnight oil, he sends a “PFA the deliverables” at 4.52 am, conveniently forgetting to attach the main file in the email body. Leading to 15 other emails that are variations of “You had one job, Tarun!”