Monday, April 24, 2006

Neurosis of the Day

Smilies in the emails. I am a big fan of the email smilies. Like so -- :). I think typewritten word mistakenly tends to come across stern and a smiley will extend the casual breezy tone you actually meant.

Eg.

You're a ho and you have some tacky-ass acrylic nails.

You're a ho and you have some tacky-ass acrylic nails :)

See how the smiley makes the statement so lighthearted and fun? Like, I'm a ho with some tacky fake nails but WHO'S COUNTING?

You get into shaky territory with the winky face though. It can either come across as catty or coy, depending on who you're talking to.

Eg.

You're a ho and you have some tacky-ass acrylic nails. Ouch.

You're a ho and you have some tacky-ass acrylic nails ;) This one just doesn't have the same bite, and means a) You are workin' those see-through plastic stilettos! I can get away with calling you a ho because you're so OBVIOUSLY NOT you HO-BAG or b) I sort of want to get it on, I think? I know, I'll put a winky face in and let YOU figure it out.

Needless to say though, emoticons (is that what those things are called? did I just make up a word?) are UNprofessional. And if there's anything I learned from medical school, it was to BE PROFESSIONAL. We have a Dean of Professionalism and Seminars on Professionalism and everything. (And you'd think that if this was a matter they could create a whole Dean-ship for they'd have fleshed out the objective a little more. We had 8 separate lectures on professionalism M1 year, each one boiling down to, "Uh, BE PROFESSIONAL.")

I was thinking about it because I had to email a radiology attending who's one of the PIs for my research study today asking him to please get some of the scans read because we have an abstract deadline on Monday. Of course, my idea of a sternly worded serious email to an attending or anyone in a position of power over me is pretty much, "Um, so if you have some time and it's not, like, a HUGE inconvenience, do you maybe think you could get that last scan you've been sitting on for these past 3 weeks read whenever you have get a chance? At your leisure? Thank you so much in advance and also thanks for even wasting your precious important attending time reading emails from a lowly medical student." (Although much more earnestly.)

So anyway, I sent off this email and received a reply 10 minutes later. Apparently he's in Shanghai for some research conference and will get the scan read when he comes back on Wednesday. I shot back a quick email saying thanks a lot!! and have a safe trip back :). Yes, that's right. I said !! and :) to an attending.

I spent the next half hour wondering if that came across really unprofessional and maybe I should send a more stern follow up email? Just to show that I'm not a 14 year old girl who says "u" and "r" and "ttyl" and "btw" and OMG. (OR AM I? BWA HA HA HA!! Ahh..the beauty of the Internet.)

But then, if I hadn't included the smiley face or the double exclamation point, it all just seems really heavy-handed.

Thanks a lot and have a safe trip back. See, I'm not ORDERING him to have a safe trip back. Thus the smiley. And I don't want to seem like a smart ass, like "Thanks a lot [for NOTHING]," and hence the !!

Eh. I could go on and on forever.

Eh :) I could go on and on forever!!

See the difference?

3 comments:

Kristina said...

Ahh!! Don't give up those precious brain cells worrying about a little smiley! ;) They're all lined up and ready to learn some critical bit that is going to save someone's life... you don't want that smiley-cell popping up at an inopportune moment!!

hee hee

punchberry said...

The problem with smileys is that sometimes they convey an honest pleasant demeanor but sometimes they are used to mask or excuse the underlieing bitchiness. Like, if you're gonna be a bitch to me, then just face up to it, you bitch :-)

Also, I noticed that I am the only one that still puts noses on my smileys. Everyone else has abbreviated to a :)

g said...

I'm a fan of exclamation points myself! I think it breathes life into e-mails!
Also I get really upset when people use all capitals. I feel like people are yelling at me. STOP IT!!!