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It turns out these email phrases are actually useful

Navigating the often passive-aggressive underworld of corporate email is a handy skill, but it shouldn’t be your full-time job, writes Kirstie McDermott.

a person using a computer


You might love all the ways you communicate quickly with friends, colleagues and family: those fun WhatsApp groups, quick Instagram DMs and snappy Slack messages dashed off on the go, but for business communications, email is going nowhere. According to Statista, in 2020, approximately 306bn emails were sent and received every day worldwide, and that's set to increase to over 376bn by 2025.

What many of us don’t like is the time we spend on email. According to one survey, one in five of us spend between one and two hours of our workdays in our inboxes, with 16 per cent spending between two and three hours. A further 15 per cent spend more than five hours a day checking and sending emails – and that’s before we get to the after-work stuff.

So it’s important that while we are deep in the communication trenches that the process goes smoothly, right? Well, in theory. However, there are some things about email that many of us find pretty teeth-clenching, and top of the list are those pervasive – or should we say invasive? – passive-aggressive email phrases and words that are so commonly used in business-related communication.

Some of our top bug-bears include the classic, “As per our conversation”, often sent in abject frustration when you’ve been asked the same question five times in a row or keep being asked to do something you have already completed. “For future reference” is one that should strike fear into the heart of the recipient, because the literal translation is that they have messed up – badly – and they should not do it again.

A “friendly reminder” is, in fact, an exasperated cry for help. Reply to this person, won’t you? And do it sharpish. A “please advise” is a frosty missive to condescendingly remind you to answer a question or complete a task. If you see a “I’m ccing…” in an email you know you’re dealing with a tattle-tale, someone who wants to call you out to their higher-ups.

While there is little doubt that endless “friendly reminders” get on our nerves, the flip side is we’ve all likely used them at one point or another too. That’s because passive-aggressive phrases are actually very helpful, acting as a polite veneer to let the recipient know what you mean, without having to go to the rude, and potentially HR-bothering trouble of saying it.

So, next time you have to call someone out for not getting that meeting agenda done or completing their part of a group project, it might be just the ticket to do a sneaky “ccing in” to get a swift result. But if you find that your days are filled with carefully crafted emails prodding and reminding your colleagues of their responsibilities, then it could in fact be time to look for a new job. We’ve got three below worth a look, and there are lots more to discover on the AltFi Job Board too.

Head of Digital, Major Players

This Head of Digital (B2B Marketing) role is at an international law firm with an exceptionally strong brand platform and a reputation for excellence. You will take ownership and drive the brand forward digitally, helping grow and develop client relationships, enhancing the firm's brand and marketing standing, as well as driving the digital strategy. You will be expected to build relationships with key stakeholders, and be able to identify and lead new opportunities. Working with other senior members, you will bring strategic oversight to their online presence, covering CRM, social media, content, data and direct marketing activities. Find out more here.

Front End Developer JavaScript Vue.js - FinTech, client server

Client Server is seeking a Front End Developer with Vue.js experience to join an eCommerce payments solutions provider. You’ll be taking ownership of greenfield projects and working with a modern tech stack in a collaborative Agile environment. You will focus on Vue.js development to help evolve and scale existing platforms, and manage all aspects of the front-end stack to produce white-labelled, progressive web applications and websites of the highest quality. To apply, you’ll need strong JavaScript, ES6 and Vue.js experience as well as experience with other web technologies such as HTML, CSS, SASS and build technologies such as Webpack, Gulp and CLIs; REST, and GraphQL. Discover the full job spec here.

Smart Contract Engineer, BCT Resourcing

BCT Resourcing is working with a leading London-based, asset management company that is looking for a Smart Contract Engineer as part of a new initiative to process trades on ledger using the latest DLT and cloud technologies, and work on the firm’s B2B multi-tier platform alongside its client applications. You will be an experienced developer with expertise in working with smart contract technologies such as DAML and Canton, Solidity and Ethereum or Kotlin and R3 Corda. They will be working on a greenfield project to represent securities finance contracts and their life cycle on a distributed ledger/blockchain. Get all the details now.

For interesting jobs in Fintech and across the entire tech space every week, check out the AltFi Job Board

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