Dear Annie: I have noticed a shift in common communication skills over the past few years in the workplace that I believe has been caused by texting, and it has quickly become a pet peeve of mine.
I work for a large insurance company on the East Coast. I have noticed that work-related emails are becoming less and less professional, to the point where some are so vague that I wonder whether the sender realizes how the end product looks to the receiver. I need to point out that I am a 20-something woman, and I do my fair share of texting. However, when I receive an email from someone in a professional context, I expect to see more than "tks" or "u" or "mtg" in the body of the email. When I see those abbreviated words, I give the emails less importance and am often insulted by them.
When did it become accepted practice to slip into what I consider a sloppy style of communication on the job? In my opinion, people are entitled to communicate in any way they please outside the workplace; however, slang-style writing is unacceptable in a professional setting.
Thanks for letting me get this off my chest! — No Texting, Please
Dear No Texting: Though our society is as advanced as it has ever been, it often seems like a dark age for manners. Shine a light by your good example. The next time you get a lax email from a co-worker, respond extra professionally — with a formal salutation, a well-formed paragraph and a proper closing. Often this is enough to shift the tone of the whole correspondence.
It seems that today a lot of people — too many — have trouble differentiating between what's appropriate at home and what's appropriate at work. I, too, believe that in professional emails (or even text messages, if you find yourself texting a boss), it's important to maintain a degree of formality. No one ever lost a job for erring on the side of politeness.
Dear Annie: I enjoy your take on advice, for the most part, as well as your concise answers to writers' issues.
Could you, however, consider dropping the term "caretaker" in favor of "caregiver"? Many of us older folks think of cemeteries when we hear "caretaker"! The latter is so much warmer. — Russ
Dear Russ: Goodness me. You've got a point. I'll go with "caregiver" in the future (unless, of course, I'm responding to a letter about cemetery maintenance).
Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected] To find out more about Annie Lane and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.