Tuesday, March 13, 2012

How is this suppposed to work?

Have you ever sent an email to someone, we'll call that someone Dr. Bob Smartypants and then Dr. Bob Smartypants says "Oh, you need to talk to Dr. Charlie Smartypants" and then copies Dr. Charlie Smartypants on the reply, which includes both the text of the original email as well as all the attachments of the original email. But for whatever reason Dr. Charlie Smartypants does not engage in the "conversation". So then you have to choose to either send another email to Dr. Charlie Smartypants with basically exactly the same information that was on your original email to Dr. Bob Smartypants THAT HE HAS ALREADY SEEN BECAUSE HE WAS CCed ON THE REPLY EMAIL or wait a few days and see if he replies to the CCed email he received. And then if he doesn't respond it gets kind of awkward because there's this big "I know you have that email about that thing why are you not responding" elephant in the virtual room, but you have to do SOMETHING, right?

What are you supposed to do? Any etiquette experts out there?

9 comments:

Phoenix Rising said...

Send it again. Rarely do I ever actually read what I've been cc'd on. Mostly because in my line of work EVERYBODY cc's EVERYONE and I don't care to get 418 emails that I normally wouldn't have to read. It's not you; it's the other doofuses that have clogged Dr. Charlie Smartypant's inbox.

Kim said...

I assume that you are dealing with professors? They likely receive hundreds of emails a day and they could be absent-minded (yes it's a stereotype, but dude it's been so true for me!). I say send it again and include some nice words like "so-and-so has CCed you, but I wanted to make sure you received it and welcome your input..."

Sharon Mattis said...

I would reply to the same email chain and take Bob off of it and just say, "Dr. Charlie, I'd love to get your input. Please let me know what you think." He may be waiting to see if you really need his advice.

Hanah said...

As someone who shares a last name with two other academics in generally the same field as me (my husband and brother-in-law), I am on the opposite end of this pretty frequently.

The best response is to reply right away to Dr. Charlie Smartypants and say something like, "It would be great to hear your opinion on this."

If you've already waited a while, you might try writing to Dr. Charlie again while offering him an easy excuse, such as, "Perhaps you replied to this but forgot to CC me?"

Jessica said...

I think everyone else has given good advice. I don't have anything to add, really, except it can be awkward sometimes to be Dr. Charlie Smartypants. You're not sure if the original questioner REALLY wants your input and it's a little weird to just insert yourself into the converstion (even though it was really Dr. Bob who brought you into the conversation.)

WhitMc said...

Ahhh, you are in my territory! My MO is to forward the email to Charlie and say something like "Mr. Charlie Smartypants, any input you have would be much appreciated. Signed, Ms. Sassy Smartypants." And then, 3 days later when Carlie has not responded, I forward my last email I sent to him and ask if he is the appropriate person to talk to about X, and if not, can help recommend someone? It gets to their ego that way.

Tara said...

Oh, infuriating situation. I used to send a follow-up to Charlie and ask for his thoughts, opinion, enlightenment, or whatever. Usually just a reply without Bob on the email. And usually with an apology for him getting the same email over and over as an acknowledgement that he probably already saw it.

Sarah said...

Agree with Phoenix Rising-- I almost never read CC's because they so rarely apply to me. Send it again.

Erin said...

I agree with everyone, but especially echo Tara's advice to include an apology--that usually helps to smooth things over.

"I'm sure you've already seen this, but just in case, I thought I'd re-send it. Sorry to clog your inbox, but I really would love your help." ...or something similar.

But DEFINITELY re-send.