The Hidden Meaning of Corporate Emails
It’s a fact: when an email pops up in your inbox with the title, “Corporate Announcement,” you know something juicy is up. You immediately drop everything you were doing to focus ONLY on reading that email, mainly because of #FOMO and because it could lead to very exciting gossip and conspiracy theories for the rest of the afternoon with Janet and Chris. Learning to decipher what is really being said between those size 10 Arial font lines is critical for all aspiring corporate ladder climbers.
Classic Corporate Announcements (and what they really mean)
We’re constantly bombarded by emails at work, but there are certain categories that stand out, due to the dangerously high levels of toxic bullsh*t they contain.
Scientists across the globe are concerned that this form of corporate communication -if not stopped quickly- can make the oceans no longer apt for the human race by the year 2050. They’re a corporate Chernobyl waiting to happen.
Out of all the politics-ridden communications at work, these are my top 3:
There’s a lot of thought put into these departure communications to make it seem that whoever is leaving the company is doing so on good terms. However, no matter how nicely they word these emails, you know that they are not telling the whole truth and usually some form of shit went down. Here’s a sample of one of these infamous corporate communications:
To: Undisclosed recipients
From: Jared Mann
Subject: Executive Announcement
I am writing to inform you that Martin Black, SVP of Production, has decided to leave the company. = We fired Martin because he sucked, but since we don’t know if he’ll end up in a higher position at a more important company later on, we’ve agreed to go with “he decided to leave.” You never know if eventually we’ll need him to pull some strings for us.
Martin leaves behind a tremendously talented team who is more than prepared to take on the challenges ahead. = Martin’s team now has to do Martin’s job with no promotion or pay raise. So basically, Brenda and George just got royally screwed
Martin will stay with us for the next few weeks to ensure a smooth transition. = Unfortunately, his replacement is unable start tomorrow, so we’re keeping Martin for the time-being so sh*t doesn’t blow up in our faces. Once his replacement is here, we’ll escort him out with security, like a criminal.
We’re grateful for his leadership and his countless contributions to our company. Please join us in wishing Martin all the best in this new phase of his career. = F*ck Martin. We hope that no one hires him, that he dies alone, and that rats eat his face.
2. Corporate Announcement About a Company-Wide Restructure
There’s really no nice way to say that the company has decided to let go of a bunch of people and that their lives and dreams have just been crushed. But hey, they really do try! Take a look at this sample:
From: Angela String
To: Undisclosed recipients
Subject: A Bright New Tomorrow
Over the past months, I have been working with the senior leadership team to shape the best possible future for this company. Unfortunately, sometimes ensuring a bright tomorrow requires making hard decisions for today. = shit’s going down. This is big. You might want to sit down for this one.
As the industry evolves and we are met with new, difficult challenges, we are taking the necessary steps to stay financially competitive and ensure success in the long run. = we’re laying off a bunch of people. Consider yourself blessed that you are still here. If we hear you complaining, you’ll be next, you ungrateful SOB.
.We are realigning and consolidating some of our operations and functions to further strengthen our company into the future = we’re on a corporate diet. Get your act together or we will cleanse you out of our system like f*cking cucumber juice.
The future is about being smarter, leaner and more efficient = more sh*t’s going down soon. You have been warned.
3. Corporate Announcement – Congratulations!
I particularly love emails sent by the President or CEO to acknowledge “their team’s hard work.” Although their intentions may be good, these emails usually come off as a massive self-congratulatory communication. I give you Exhibit A:
From: Justin Diaz
To: Undisclosed Recipients
I am thrilled to announce that this year has been a particularly outstanding one for
me the company. Numbers are in, and we significantly surpassed our already aggressive growth projections. Although we had to fire and ruin the lives of over 90 people make some tough decisions along the way, it is clear we are on the right path.
My two years with this company have been the most formidable of my
already incredibly successful career. I have no idea of who most of you are or what you really do, but I’d like to thank each and every one of you for your hard work, commitment, and dedication, because you are the ones who made this happen, evidently thanks to MY leadership. You should be very proud of me yourselves.
Here’s to an even better next year.
And to that massive bonus I am going to score.
and Master of the Universe
No matter how tempting it may be to forward these emails and make jokes or snarky comments to those few coworkers you trust (and boy, is it tempting!), REFRAIN YOURSELF. If by any chance you hit reply all – and it’s bound to happen at some point – or if you forward it to Alisson Smith from Tech instead of Allison Smith from Sales, you’ll mostly like need to enter a witness protection program.
However, if the corporate announcement is SO juicy that it’s humanly impossible to resist the urge to share and comment, I suggest you do the following:
Proceed to write an extremely proper email with only positive comments.
“?” you’re probably asking right now with disappointment and disgust. Bear with me. Those politically correct lines you will write are covered with layers and layers of sarcasm, only decipherable by other awesome and slightly evi people like you. For instance, if an email went out that announces the promotion of someone who clearly doesn’t deserve it, you can forward it to your close colleagues with added commentary like this:
“Well deserved. It’s so stimulating when the company awards people who actually do the work and not people who are known to TAKE CREDIT for other people’s hard work. Thank goodness that doesn’t happen here”
“Isn’t it great when true leadership and integrity are recognized? I am SO happy for Charles.”
You get the idea. Your friends know exactly what you mean, but this way, if you hit reply all or forward to the wrong person, or if the creepy IT guy is reading your emails, your written statement is positive and totally legit. And, you will totally get a not guilty verdict in corporate court.
Once you learn how to read these bullsh*t emails and understand what they’re really saying, you’ll dread them less. Who knows, maybe now you’ll even look forward to them.
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