WINNIPEG – Local account manager Meghan Gessele was horrified this week to discover that, upon returning to her workstation after using the restroom, an unread email she had left unread was still in existence and still unread.
“I really thought removing myself from the immediate area for a few minutes would de-escalate the situation,” said Ms. Gessele, still in shock from her ordeal. “But the email was just as unread when I returned as when I left it. In fact, it followed me to my phone and later to my home computer. It was incredibly aggressive behaviour.”
This is not the first time that an unread email has caused a toxic work environment for Ms. Gessele; at a previous job, she worked for three weeks unpaid because she was laid off via an email that she did not open. Witness at this job confirm the email’s subject line was “Bittersweet news” and flagged as “High Priority,” so they did not blame Ms. Gessele for hiding it in her “Staff Resources” Outlook folder.
“Generally, averting your eyes away from the unread email does calm the situation,” said an HR representative at Ms. Gessele’s place of employment. “But, if not, we have recently offered a professional development workshop on ‘Pretending the important email got stuck in the spam filter.’ We hope Ms. Gessele can make use of this training in the future.”
Ms. Gessele confirmed she did attempt several strategies to make the unread email disappear: she browsed Instagram for too long, went on an hour-long lunch break, and let her laptop do a bunch of updates. Unfortunately, the unread email continued to flash its angry red notification icon at her, so she took a half-sick day and went to her doctor’s clinic to have her skyrocketing blood pressure checked.
When asked if she could simply respond to the message, Ms. Gessele confirmed she did open it in a moment of bravery but then it asked for a read receipt at which point she panicked and threw her laptop out the window.
“We actually have a great insurance plan to cover unread email-related computer destruction,” said the HR rep. “It happens more than you’d think.”
At press time, Ms. Gessele’s doctors confirmed that not only has the unread email negatively impacted her mental health, but tragically she – like most Canadians – also possesses an unheard voice-mail. Unfortunately they cannot recommend any remedies for the latter condition, as no one remembers their voice-mail inbox PIN.