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Circulated indiscreet email - WWYD

(71 Posts)
LightShinesInTheDarkness Tue 04-Aug-09 15:25:45

Simple story - person A sent me an email saying she was unhappy at being left out of a decision-making process. I forwarded to person B with a one-word (not rude) comment. Person B replied to me that person A did not need to be involved, as it was not her remit.
Rather short, curt email.

I've hit 'Reply All'. Sent the rude comment to Person A, Person B and one other. Person B has already seen the email.

I am absolutely mortified at my mistake. And for putting Person A in this awful position.

Anyone been in a similar position?
My stomach is churning so much I feel physically sick.

BecauseImWorthIt Tue 04-Aug-09 15:28:14

Partly depends on what's been going on behind all this, and what the hierarchies are. Who is Person B in relation to you and Person A? Who was responsible for Person A being left out?

GetOrfMoiLand Tue 04-Aug-09 15:31:48

Has person A opened the email? If not you can still (try to anyway) retrieve it.

DottyDot Tue 04-Aug-09 15:33:09

It happens - I've done very similar and felt very sick as well.

I think all you can do is either Recall the e-mail (but it's probably too late to do that - although top tip if you ever do it again - Recall the e-mail asap and if they haven't opened it, they won't get it)

or send an e-mail to Person A apologising profusely and saying you were trying to help (assuming you were?!) but you realise you shouldn't have interfered (if you were...).

Just take the shame and try not to do it again...

GossipMonger Tue 04-Aug-09 15:35:36

And this is why I am an Amish girl and prefer to use a quill pen for all correspondence!

You poor thing!

I have done the same thing myself and felt ill and sick and hot and in horror at sending the email on!

No advice - just ride out the storm!

StealthPolarBear Tue 04-Aug-09 15:36:05

if it's just happened definitely try to recall

morningpaper Tue 04-Aug-09 15:39:29

This makes no sense! At no point should person A B and C's email addresses in the address line, so how could you hit Reply All?

At what stage did you "Reply all" ?

HolidaysQueen Tue 04-Aug-09 15:42:11

same as morningpaper - not sure how you could Reply to All unless both you and Person A had hit Reply to All on your previous emails. Are you sure it's gone to everyone else?

LightShinesInTheDarkness Tue 04-Aug-09 15:43:07

Thanks - have tried recall but unsuccessfully. Have apologised sincerely to Person A (genuine apology - I am sorry sad)

Both people are in the same team, Person A is the head of the department, Person B is in the same team as her. I report to Person A.

BUT this is a very small organisation and tensions run high in such a small set-up.

I seriously think I may be disciplined, and Person A will have lost all the confidence in me which I have been working hard to build up.

I cannot believe I've been such a fool. Caused heap big trouble with one small email.

squeaver Tue 04-Aug-09 15:53:24

I'm confused like mp. But here's what I think you should do:

- go and speak to each of them NOW and apologise.

- follow that conversation up with a letter apologising again.

- speak to your HR person if you have one.

Without knowing all the circumstances it's hard to tell if you'll really be in trouble or not e.g. is A likely to say to B's face what he/she said in the email??

lal123 Tue 04-Aug-09 15:56:31

But reply all wouldn't have sent to person A? Would have just gone to person B?

BecauseImWorthIt Tue 04-Aug-09 15:57:03

So who left out Person A? Was it Person B? Why did you send the e-mail to Person B in the first place? And when you were going to reply, what was your reply that you sent to all?

Actually, I'm with MP now, I can't see how this makes sense!

LIZS Tue 04-Aug-09 15:58:32

So is person b also subordinate to person a ?

EyeballsintheSky Tue 04-Aug-09 15:58:55

I can't see how you would be disciplined for something that was a mistake and, in the grand scheme of things no big deal, however upsetting it may be for person A and annoying for person B. Unless there is more to it. But in a normal organisation I can't see it being s disciplinary offence...

Wouldn't letters etc be over-egging it? You've apologised, now forget it (in so far as you can behind your burning face )

EyeballsintheSky Tue 04-Aug-09 16:00:02

Sorry, that was meant to be a sympathetic not a gloating


GetOrfMoiLand Tue 04-Aug-09 16:01:10

Eh? Person A is the head of the department, but she has emailed OP to say that she has been hurt at being left out of decision making by Person B - a member of her team who (if I am reading this correctly) would be subordinate to her. So why would person A be emailing the OP to complain? Wouldn't she go straight to person B and insist on having her say?

Yes also don't know how on earth reply all would go to both A and B. Person B is replying to OP, so only she would come up on reply all. Unless Person B hit reply all in the first place responding to OP.


LightShinesInTheDarkness Tue 04-Aug-09 16:01:43

Oh flip. I am so upset and shaky I cannot concentrate.

This is correct now - have apologised sincerely to Person B (genuine apology - I am so sorry.

Both people are in the same team, Person B is the head of the department, Person A is in the same team as her but reports to her. I report to Person B.

I don't suppose the details matter. Person B thinks Person A will resign over this - because she has been slighted, and in front of someone more junior as well.

Sorry - I added a comment on the top of the rude one, then added Person B to the distribution before forwarding it.

Honestly, both people have (or will see) the curt message.


LIZS Tue 04-Aug-09 16:03:51

Then surely person B should have been mroe discreet than to slag off A to you.

EyeballsintheSky Tue 04-Aug-09 16:06:08

There must be more to it, if person A is liable to resign over it?! Is the 'someone junior' you or did you send it to others as well? This sounds like a big fuss over a small, embarrassing incident so there must be lots more behind it.

morningpaper Tue 04-Aug-09 16:07:05

HMMM the details are REALLY confusing so I will just assume that you have FUCKED UP ROYALLY

There isn't much you can do at this point, except MANY APOLOGIES. I would ask for a meeting with all involved and apologise, and perhaps as good as ask Person B to discipline me in order to reassure Person A that the matter has been appropriately dealt with.

You just have to assume that all work emails will be seen by ANYONE - that is basically the law anyway hmm and work emails belong to the company.

Pissing about is what HOTMAIL is for! grin

LightShinesInTheDarkness Tue 04-Aug-09 16:10:04

Lizs - yes, you are right. Which is why B is so very upset at my error.

But none of that alters the fact that I have dropped Person B into it.
And I have to work with them both.

foxinsocks Tue 04-Aug-09 16:11:02

I think you have to work for a small political company to realise how much of a fuck up this sort of thing can be

I can't get if you work for Person A or B (as you've said both).

HolidaysQueen Tue 04-Aug-09 16:12:47

I've lost track of who is A and who is B now, but I think I have seen the light.

After the exchange with your boss and the rude comment, you forwarded on the original email with perhaps a constructive comment or something on it. But instead of using the original email, you had actually inadvertently used the one with the rude comment. In which case, your embarassment is just using the wrong version of the email bringing the rude comment to light, but the person who should be really mortified is the one who wrote the rude comment in the first place.

I think you have done what you can by apologising for using the wrong version, but the real egg-on-face is with the person who wrote the rude comment, and if the recipient now resigns it's really that person's fault not yours. so you've made a mini f**k up, but the rude comment writer has made a bigger one really.

Is that how it was? Or have I really misunderstood.

EyeballsintheSky Tue 04-Aug-09 16:14:08

But surely person B isn't in a position to discipline anyone if it's her words that upset B, even if it was your mistake. If you don't want things known by the masses then you shouldn't put it in writing. It's all very well for B to be upset but she has to take some, if not most of the blame.

EyeballsintheSky Tue 04-Aug-09 16:14:50

LOL x post

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