Jennifer, a junior associate at McQuillbee Law, was on the partner track until she closed an email with the word “Best.” “Pretty abrasive,” said Tim McQuillbee, a managing partner at the firm. “How can I be sure Jennifer will come off likable when she’s defending clients like the CEO of GlobalComm, who’s accused of manipulating stock prices and swindling employees out of retirement benefits? Also, she should smile more.”
Imogen, an assistant professor, signed an email to her provost with a simple “Kindly.” “She’s one of our most promising up and coming researchers of primate evolution,” admitted Provost Stofford. “But that closing? A bit too cutesy — and I don’t mean that in any sort of sexist way.”
Jillian, an art director at a national ad agency, put off replying right away to an email from her boss. “It looks like Jillian lost weight,” said Creative Director Ron Raddis. “So, I sent a message mentioning she looks good in her skirt. You know, to encourage her. When she finally did reply, it was to update me on a new CapitalOne campaign concept, signed with her first initial. Rude much? Who does she think she is, a Scandinavian minimalist?”
Melanie lost her job as a banquet server for Pink Chutney Catering after closing a time-off request with a “Thank you” followed by an exclamation point. “Uggghhh, that exclamation was too cheery. We’re a serious company, not a pep squad,” shrugged owner Doug Greff as he filled a dispenser with miniature plastic cocktail swords.
After ending an email with “Warmly,” Dani was fired from her data analyst position. “It reminded me that Dani always complains about being cold,” said her supervisor. “She’s always bundled up in a ratty sweater she keeps at her desk, asking if she can adjust the thermostat. Then when she does take off that sweater, it’s like hoo-boy, nip central. Look, lady: I have a wife and two kids. Calm yourself down.”
Robyn, a web developer for a food delivery app, regularly signed her emails with “Best Regards.” “I always get that song ‘Give My Regards to Broadway’ stuck in my head,” said Raj Kore, the start-up’s founder. “I mentioned that to Robyn, and she was like, ‘that reminds me of my grandpa who used to play me show tunes growing up,’ and I was like, ‘actually, it’s a common misconception that the song was written by George Gershwin, when in truth it was written by George Cohan.’ Robyn didn’t even thank me for that info nugget.”
Callie, an esthetician at Pure Day Spa, was fired after signing a request to order more seaweed scrub with “Sincerely.” “Sounds like she might be from the 1800s,” bemoaned the spa’s general manager. “Using such an old-timey sign-off makes me think she’s some sort of time traveler. Or a witch! It’s against spa policy to hire time travelers. And witches. Or, at least it should be. I’ll have Maureen from HR update the handbook. Come to think of it, every time I run into Maureen she asks me about pay equity. I should probably fire her too.”
Allison was recently asked to leave her administrative assistant job at an insurance company. “Allison is personable and assertive,” offered her boss. “I respect her as an employee. But, she’s lacking in her ability to send timely communications, which leads to missed deadlines. When I asked her what’s holding her back, she told me she has a hard time deciding how to end her emails. Can you imagine overthinking something that much?”