VULCAN, AB – Opening his work email in the morning, Henry Abraham, CEO of HAB Insurance, a local brokerage firm, was disturbed to read the words “hey man” Thursday in the opening line sent from the company’s newest employee.
“The gall. I was gobsmacked. ‘hey man’? That’s not how we write emails around here. This is not some free-wheeling Silicon Valley startup,” said Abraham adding that he’ll consider taking ‘Hello’ or a ‘Greetings’ or, if he’s feeling charitable, a ‘Hi’. “We are not all equals. The hierarchy exists for a reason.”
Even though the sender, 26-year-old Asher Rutledge, came highly recommended from his last job, sources say the email conveyed an obvious disregard for workplace etiquette and social mores. While rumours of his audacious behaviour quickly spread to all branches of the company, reactions to his brazenness are divided, with some colleagues calling for his resignation and others praising him as a “revolutionary.”
“I wish I had half his confidence. All lower case too? It’s subtle but very effective,” said Jack Dilmore from accounts receivable. “He’s taking the system down from the inside.”
Company insiders say this level of informality has not been seen at the company since Alex Tran from IT tried to high five her manager after successfully fixing a broken printer and was summarily fired.
The email incident has prompted management to crack down on all of their employees. Notices for casual Friday have been taken down, the social committee has been disbanded and co-workers are no longer encouraged to speak to one another at break time.
When asked for comment Rutledge said, “Hey man, I was just trying to find out if I could get my parking pass validated.”