Five email disasters

14 April 2015 -


Ahead of a major Professional Manager feature on the perils of email, we look at five classic blunders 

Colin Marrs

Emailing can be a veritable a minefield – particularly in the workplace. Shooting off an angry email to a colleague isn’t a good career move. But company reputations are can be on the line when embarrassing emails are shared with the world. Here are five of the biggest email disasters:

  1. Entertainment giant Sony was left red-faced last year after hackers released details of emails sent between top executives. Some of the revelations were mild, including actresses being lined up for the new Ghostbusters movie. Others were more damaging, including Oscar-winning producer Scott Rudin complaining about actress Angelina Jolie’s ‘insanity and rampaging ego’
  2. Things got out of hand when Bank of New York Mellon sent a link to its latest performance report to subscribers. However, when some respondents asked to be removed from the list, their replies went to all other recipients, creating a chain of 200 mails. One trader commented: "I don't always get spammed, but when I do, I prefer BNY Mellon.”
  3. One worker got into trouble when sending round an email to fellow workers informing them that the sandwich van had arrived at their office. Unfortunately, the sender, based at an Aberdeen oil firm accidentally attached a very saucy email trail between herself and her fiancé. Within hours, the email had gone viral, even attracting a hashtag – #sandwichvan – on Twitter
  4. An executive at a Manchester recruitment firm was forced to resign after accidentally hitting the “reply all” button. He responded to a mass-mailed job inquiry by a job hunter, but accidentally replied to all 4,000 contacts on the list. He might have survived had it not been for the colourful language he used: “You are too stupid to get a job, even in banking,” he wrote
  5. A Devon schoolgirl’s computer crashed after receiving hundreds of unwanted emails from defence organisations. A Royal Navy officer had mistakenly included her on a mailing list because of a typing error, after which she was plagued by messages, including confidential information from war ministries and defence firms around the world

Check out our Lost in the Post feature in the upcoming Spring edition of Professional Manager.

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