There comes a time in every corporate drone's life when he feels compelled to hit "reply all" to a company-wide email chain. We're here to stop you from doing that, and to introduce you to the seven people you meet in Email-Chain Hell, so that you don't become one of them. But first, a primer. When to hit reply-all under these particularly infuriating circumstances: Never. Yes, your inbox will continue to be pummelled by emails from the seven kinds of people who reply to these easily avoidable nightmares. But at least you won't ever be accused of adding to the problem. With that out of the way, let's meet the offenders.
1 | The Bonehead
Along with the sender of the original email—that is, the person who failed everyone by not understanding the importance of using the BCC: field—this is the individual you should blame most for hijacking the productivity of hundreds of people for a good portion of the day. Do we hate him? Actually, no, because the Bonehead is quickly forgotten amid the deluge that follows.
And you shall know them by this response: "I'm having a problem [that is only marginally related to the issue addressed in your erroneously constructed note to the entire company]. Can you advise?"
2 | The First-Responder
Invariably, this person is just trying to help. Invariably, his email is anything but.
And you shall know them by this response: "I just wanted to let you know that this is going to the entire company. Could you please remove me from the list?"
3 | The Me-Too
This is the individual whose fingers were already typing a reply to the previous person's email, and the reply is almost always the same.
And you shall know them by this response: "Me, too."
4 | The Whiner
It hurt to receive every one of those first 15 emails from the aforementioned types, but the reply you get from your first Whiner cuts the deepest.
And you shall know them by this response: "Seriously? Today? When everyone's busy prepping for the annual Turkey Trot? Thanks."
This guy gets it. He's been here—dozens of times—and knows that whatever he does won't amount to much in the scheme of things other than adding another table leg to the productivity bonfire.
And you shall know them by this response: A GIF of Bill Hader eating popcorn.
6 | The Hothead
This unhinged person has a need. And that need is to make it known how stupid everyone is for continuing to reply to an email chain that no one should have ever replied to in the first place, the obvious irony being that he just replied to the email chain.
And you shall know him by this response: "If everybody stops replying no one will need to be removed!!!"
7 | The Exec From Some Vague-Seeming Department
This person is legitimately busy. But also legitimately tech-illiterate and oblivious.
And you shall know them by this response (an hour after IT told everyone to stop replying): "Please take me off this email chain."
From: Esquire US.