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Don’t Send That Angry Email!

Get it off your chest, but keep your feelings to yourself. That is, if you want to have a successful career.

I suppose I’m a bitter person. Twenty years in the investments business will do that.

I’ve seen all the same bullshit over and over again. After a while you just grow tired of bending over and taking it. Sometimes it takes the strength of Zeus to stop yourself from telling some idiot at work to shut the fuck up.

But if you want to keep your job, you don’t do that. Even if you don’t want to keep your job, the world is small and word travels fast. So don’t do that.

I’m not saying you need to be a ‘yes’ man or woman. Have opinions, provide criticism and strive to improve your business. But there’s a point where an opinion becomes an argument and an argument becomes an attack.

I’ve spent a lot of time whining, complaining, moaning, attacking in emails. HOURS! I’ve perfected these emails. Some of my emails read like Col. Nathan R. Jessep’s testimony in A Few Good Men. I know how to make an great case.

But do you know why I still have a career? Because I never sent those wicked emails.

Do you know why I still have a career?

Because I never sent those wicked emails.

If I had sent those emails, at best they would generate tacit agreement with no action. Some would position me as a ‘complainer’, limiting my prospects. Others would put me on ‘the list’.

You don’t want to be on the list. The list – whether official or not – includes disgruntled employees that don’t necessarily cause problems but are generally unhappy. Unhappy employees don’t get raises or promotions. Unhappy employees also don’t get packaged out. If your employer thinks there’s any chance you might quit on your own, they’ll just put you in the corner and ask you to shovel shit until you do.

Other than personal satisfaction, those emails wouldn’t have fixed my problems. In fact, by being the guy who doesn’t unnecessarily complain about the problems everyone already knows exist I probably advanced my likability within the organization.

You think executives aren’t already getting emails from other people venting about problems they already know they can’t fix? They don’t need another jackass making them feel like shit anymore than they already do. So by not sending those emails, you remain a positive force that helps them get through their day.

With that said, you don’t want to be a pushover. You have valuable opinions and are in this to create an imprint. Do this by delivering messages based on facts and evidence.

Instead of sharing opinionated complaints filled with “I think”, provide insights that start with “evidence suggests”. Be a messenger of truth by way of observations and recommendations that are rooted in objective information. Nobody cares about your feelings, but they do care about facts that are observable by anyone astute enough to see them. If you deliver those facts combined with actionable suggestions, you become the smart employee who can help build the business.

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