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  • Writer's pictureEllie Hales

Just Emailing...

Work has been slow today. It is difficult to come into an organisation at the bottom that must adhere to so many strict hierarchical structures, protocol and policy, but such is the nature of council-funded work. Every project I produce, every form I create, every campaign I want to send needs to be scrupulously checked by those above me for anything against the rules or tone of the council. The work I'm doing and the words I use, although it seems small, could adversely affect the image of an entire web of different departments and people.

I find this way of working quite difficult, the constant back and forth of emails, each tiny idea being passed up the chain before making it's way back to me with a simple 'yes' hours later. I usually act on impulse, I am a doer rather than a thinker. I have come from working in roles where I am the person who decides 'yes', or organisations that have no real hierarchical structure. This is a new environment I need to adapt to.

Although this is the way this organisation works, I also need to recognise how my communication adds to this delay. So often, I wait for email replies for days before I send an email full of 'justs'. 'Just checking in', 'just wondering if you've had a chance to look at this' or 'just thought I'd send something on a completely different subject in case it jogs your memory to reply to my previous, more important email'. Today I decided I need to remove the 'justs' from my vocabulary. I had been waiting on a reply for 3 days and needed the response in order to move on with my work. So I sent an email clearly explaining how urgently I needed the response, no 'justs', no 'no worries if not', no exclamation marks to soften what I feel is a harsh tone, even though in reality I'm simply typing as my male colleagues do in every email.

I need to adjust to how this organisation works and understand that these checks take time, but also recognise that I need to have the confidence in myself to firmly state what I need and when I need it. I started to do that today.

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