By Brian Frascella, Contributing Writer
If a career is a journey, think of this anecdote as an accident along the way. You know, one that mesmerizes onlookers because your car is doing flips, but it’s not so fun for you. Here’s my accident, which occurred via interoffice e-mail.
In today’s era of e-mail and texting, people forget that they can either call or have a civil face-to-face discussion with someone. An e-mail lashing and the subsequent urge to defend oneself with the reply button, although extremely entertaining to those copied, is not the best way to respond to an issue in the workplace. When seemingly the entire company is copied on the e-mail chain, your inherent reaction is to respond and defend your actions or position.
I caught myself almost doing this the other day. The only thing that snapped me out of a blind typing fever was the pure awe at how fast my fingers were racing across the keys. No joke. It’s like they had a mind of their own. I consequently closed the e-mail and walked away.
In putting together my e-mail retort to my colleague, I knew I had done the proper research. But the more defensive I became, the more unprepared I would appear. The last thing I wanted to do was author a response in the heat of the moment. So I gathered my thoughts and made sure I was over-prepared to discuss the issue when the team met. Rather than be defensive, my willingness to raise the issue and my casual attitude proved to my peers that the e-mail I had received was overstating the issue.
Like many of you, I fancy myself a pretty good driver and generally think I can avoid accidents. But if you get into a wreck on the job, keep your cool. Think before you speak or write. And smile as you pick up the pieces.
Brian Frascella graduated from Binghamton University with a BSME; he’s en route to receiving his MBA from the University at Buffalo in 2011. Despite entering engineering school with the hopes of someday designing skis, his interests later steered him toward the realm of control electronics. Brian has worked with the Moog Industrial Group in East Aurora, N.Y., in its Electric Flight Simulation product line since 2007 as a Product Engineer. Brian will be posting to Careers and Education in Engineering periodically. E-mail Brian a email@example.com.