The Sarah Palin
email circus demonstrates work and personal email should never mix.
June 16, 2011 Like almost all modern workplaces, state governments
save and archive
email being sent back and forth from their offices. Last
week the media was given access to over 24,000 emails sent by
Sarah Palin while she was the governor of
Alaska. Why does the state government have all of those emails? Just like
an employee in the private sector, a governor does not own the emails they
send from work. Their employer (the state, in
Sarah Palin's case) owns the
email, regardless of
the content. Right now there are thousands of reporters and ordinary
Palin's emails looking for anything of interest. If all
of us went through your work
email today, what would we find?
Email can live forever
Remember that even though you delete your work
email, there is still
potentially a long term digital record of your email. Many employees are
shocked to find this out, especially when the company receives a subpoena
for their old email, in a harassment lawsuit for example, and the IT
department turns over mounds of old messages between you and various
peers. Nothing you write on your work computer is private. There are many
people who can view your messages both now and even years into the future.
Another problem with an inappropriate email is that it can be accidentally
sent to the wrong recipients. Just look at what happened to Congressman
Anthony Weiner who thought he was sending lewd photos via Twitter to a
select few followers, he accidentally sent it to many thousands of people.
In a matter of seconds his political career was threatened. You may want
to send a joke or comment that your friend would find amusing, but perhaps
others in your email address book would be insulted if they saw it. Be
sure you know who you are sending the email to.
Your career and work provides your livelihood. You and your family depend
on your success at work. Don't let something like an
email ruin your
ability to earn a living.
Don't let email indiscretion or accidents ruin you!