A while back, I co-hosted a radio program called "Funny Business." For one show, we asked listeners to send us the stupidest emails that they'd ever received.
They sent us plenty of boneheaded examples, but the top 10 (listed below) shared a distinguishing characteristic: They could only have been written inside a large enterprise.
Just in case there's any doubt, these emails (which I've edited down to their gists) pretty much prove that the average entrepreneur is way smarter than the average corporate bureaucrat:
1. Celebrate the good times.
Subject: Company Picnic
We will have our first company picnic next week, which we have dubbed "Morale Builder 2004." The picnic will feature carnival rides and all-you-can-eat hot dogs and beans. A menu of steak and lobster is available for executives.
2. Ignorance is bliss.
Subject: Computer Training Course
After much consideration, we have decided to cancel the training for our new computer system on the grounds that once people learn the system, they usually leave.
3. Thanks, chump!
Subject: Recommendation Status
I sent your recommendations, under my signature, to the vice president. I thought your suggestions were good, and I know he will pay more attention if my name, and not your name, is on it.
4. Not quite grasping the concept.
Subject: Open Door Policy
Under our previous Open Door policy, any employee was permitted to speak with any executive. Henceforth, employees must first ask their direct manager for permission before speaking with an executive. Otherwise the Open Door policy remains the same.
5. To boldly go...
Subject: Internal Entrepreneurism
We encourage our employees to take intelligent risks, after due consideration of all market conditions, wise assessment of financial impact, and a thorough discussion of all contingencies among internal and external stakeholders.
6. I guess he missed the computer training course.
Subject: Computer Downtime
It has come to my attention that the e-mail system was down yesterday. From now on, I have requested that the system manager send a group message to everyone next time the system goes down.
7. And wear it with pride!
Subject: Recognizing Employee Contributions
After several strong sales months, we have decided to print Employee Appreciation T-shirts! These shirts will go on sale next Monday.
8. How to get that 5% raise.
Subject: Your Employee Review
To summarize my earlier remarks, your problem is how hard you work. If you want to get ahead, you have to work like you're making twice your salary.
9. Undeniably true, however...
Subject: Customer Support
We have decided against creating a Customer Support Department on the grounds that it might encourage customers to complain more often.
10. Those undeserving wretches!
Subject: New Parking Policy
We have decided to allocate parking spaces to managers. Our current policy of "open" parking seems to benefit ONLY those employees who come to work early.
If you've got some even dumber emails, please feel free to forward them to me (at my website) or leave them as comments below.