Too many emails

March 29, 2008

I get too many emails.

I’m not talking about spam. I have a variety of filters that get most of the spam out. I’m talking about email from people I know from the various parts of my life: my family, close friends, friends, colleagues, students, former students, staff, and then all the email that comes at me because I’m Chair of an academic department. Being in the latter category has put me into CC hell. Everyone feels they need to CC me on everything they think or say. In my crankier moods, I find myself tempted to turn on the autoreply feature of my email program and say something like:

I’VE HAD IT. I CAN’T READ ANYMORE EMAILS, INCLUDING YOURS. HA! FOOLED YOU, JUST KIDDING. BUT YOU NEED TO KNOW THAT I GET FROM 100 TO 300 EMAILS A DAY, MANY OF WHICH REQUIRE A RESPONSE FROM ME. PLEASE KNOW THAT THERE ARE 193 AHEAD OF YOU, SO IT MAY TAKE A FEW HOURS FOR ME TO GET BACK TO YOU.

Then I realize that this bitchy message would get read by everyone, and everyone would assume I was having a melt down. Which I’m not. But really, there is no precedent for what we are required to do now days. Chairs didn’t used to get 200 pieces of paper mail per day before the internet. I haven’t come up with any strategies yet for dealing with this challenge, so any advice is welcome. When I finish HOMER, I imagine I’ll have time to sit in book stores again and will probably find some helpful book that will teach me how to write 300 responses to emails and still have a life and a job.

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