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身在职场 不回邮件需要新借口

2014-05-13    来源:网络    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

Last week I received an automatic reply from a man I had tried to contact saying  he was “away from the office with limited access to email”. I ignored it.
不久前我收到了一封自动回复的电子邮件,来自一个我曾试图联系过的人。信中称,他“不在办公室,不方便使用电子邮件”。我对此选择了无视。

The same day Adam Parker, head of US equity research at Morgan Stanley, received a similar message, only he didn’t ignore it. He sent out a cri de coeur to all clients, explaining that it was his job to interpret the world for them and he was ruling that the “limited access to email” excuse was baloney. There is virtually nowhere left on earth, he pointed out, unreachable by email. What the phrase actually means is: I’m feeling tired or lazy and think I’ve earned the right not to reply.
就在同一天,摩根士丹利(Morgan Stanley)的美国股票市场研究主管亚当•帕克(Adam Parker)也收到了一封类似的邮件,只不过他没有选择无视。他向所有客户发出了一封表示强烈抗议的邮件,信中说,为客户阐释这个世界是他的工作,在他看来,“不方便使用电子邮件”的借口简直扯淡。他指出,在这个地球上,其实没有什么地方是电子邮件到达不了的。“不方便使用电子邮件”的言下之意是:我累了或犯懒了,并认为我已经有权不回复邮件了。

Mr Parker is right – this excuse does not work anymore. But he is wrong to be so disapproving about it. We all are sometimes tired or lazy or on holiday or otherwise disinclined to do something we have been asked to do. What we need are better excuses.
帕克是对的——这种借口已经不再管用了。但他不应该如此不满。每个人都难免有时会因为疲倦、或犯懒,或正在度假,或其他原因,而不想去做他人要求我们做的事。我们所需要的不过是更好的借口。

The problem is that technology is steadily ruining all the old favorites. “The cheque’s in the post” doesn’t work now that no one writes cheques any more. “The dog ate my homework”, a little fragile at the best of times, works even less well now that so much homework is done online. “The boiler has exploded and I’m waiting for the plumber” is hopeless, since – provided the laptop didn’t also explode – you can work at home.
问题在于,技术的进步使得人们过去常用的各种借口都逐渐失效。“支票在邮局”这招已经不管用了,因为已经没有人再使用支票。“我的作业被狗吃了”,这个借口在最容易取信的时候都有点不可信,而如今很多家庭作业都在网上完成,这个理由就更不管用了。“锅炉爆炸了,我在等水管工来修”,这个借口简直无可救药,因为只要你的笔记本电脑没有跟着爆炸,你完全可以在家工作。

Even the new excuses created by technology are starting to look threadbare. “Your email must have got caught in the spam filter” is a handy white lie that I have often used to get me out of scrapes, but as filters go on getting better its value is diminishing.
即便是技术创造出的新借口也开始显得老套。“你的邮件一定是被垃圾邮件过滤器拦截了”,这个方便的善意谎言是我常常用来为自己解围的,但随着垃圾邮件过滤器变得越来越精准,这一招也越来越不灵了。

So which excuses do still work?
那么还有哪些借口仍然管用呢?

A trusty standby is to say you are too busy – which has the added bonus of making you look important. “Terribly sorry I didn’t reply, I’ve been snowed under”: I used to use this a lot, but am trying to wean myself off it. For a start, I’ve noticed really important people never send out messages saying they are snowed under. Moreover, practically everyone thinks they are busy (although, as I pointed out recently, none of us is as busy as we fancy ourselves to be). To plead busyness does not suggest you are important. It suggests you are inefficient.
一个可信的应急办法是说自己太忙了——这还能带来一项额外好处,就是让自己显得重要。“非常抱歉我之前没能回复邮件,我忙晕了”:这个借口我以前经常用,但我正试图克制自己不再使用这一招。首先,我发现,真正重要的人物从来不会发邮件声称他们忙得昏天黑地。此外,几乎每一个人都认为自己很忙(虽然正如我最近指出的那样,其实每个人都没有自己想象的那么忙)。以忙为借口并不能凸显你地位重要,反而显得你效率低下。

A second way out is to invoke a prior engagement. This sometimes does the job, but can backfire. Too often I’ve said “I’m afraid I can’t make the 27th” – only for the other person to come back and say the event has been moved to the 29th. And then you are stuck with it.
另一个解围办法是声称自己之前已与人有约。有些时候这种方法可以奏效,但也可能适得其反。这样的情况经常发生:跟别人说,“很抱歉27号我没有空”,结果后来别人又回来告诉你活动改到了29号。这下你就没法推了。

Better is to claim to be in the middle of a family emergency. This excuse works particularly well for men, for whom kudos is to be gained by playing the family card occasionally. However, to claim an emergency when there isn’t one may seem even to the unsuperstitious like an invitation to providence to visit something truly calamitous on the entire family.
更好的办法是,声称自己家里有急事。男性运用这个借口的效果格外好,对于男性来说,偶尔打家庭牌可以加分。但即便在不迷信的人看来,其实没事却声称有事,或许就好像是向天意发出的一份邀请,请求它向全家降下真正的灾祸。

The ultimate family emergency is, of course, death, and this is the most robust excuse of them all – timeless, final, and untouched by technology. But even this excuse is becoming a little less effective than it once was. A friend, poleaxed with grief after the death of her mother, has found after a couple of weeks that her get-out-of-jail-free card has stopped working so well. A return to normality is expected.
当然,终极的家庭不测是死亡。这是最强有力的借口——不受时间限制,不受技术影响的终极武器。但即便是这个借口的效力相比以前也有所下降。一个朋友在她母亲死后以悲痛为借口,无往不利;但几周之后她发现,自己的免罪金牌变得不那么好用了。在旁人看来,过了这么久她应该回归正常状态了。

The best excuse I have come across recently was made by a senior executive who cancelled an important meeting with a colleague, claiming that “a legal issue has come up”. The genius of this is that it sounds both very serious and very forbidding. Much as my colleague wanted to, he refrained from replying: Gosh, what sort of legal issue? A spot of fraud? Bankruptcy? Murder?
我最近见识到的最佳借口来自一名高管,他取消了和一个同事的重要会议,声称“出现了一个法律问题”。这个借口的天才之处在于,它听起来既非常严肃,又令人不敢质疑。我的同事很想回复说,我的天啊,什么法律问题?欺诈?破产?还是谋杀?但他最终还是克制住了自己,没有这样做。

In the absence of any legal issues of my own, I am increasingly seeking refuge in the truth. So when asked last week if I wanted to go on a news show broadcast live at 10.30pm, I didn’t pretend to be busy, I just said it was past my bedtime. When asked if I wanted to attend an awards evening, I explained that awards evenings didn’t bring out the best in me. Such bluntness is a three-way win: you don’t have to feel bad about telling a white lie; there is no comeback and you don’t get asked again.
由于我自己没有遇到过任何法律问题,我越来越倾向于用实话为自己解围。因此,不久前被问到是否愿意参加一个晚上10:30的新闻节目直播时,我没有假装太忙,我只是说,那个点我已经要睡觉了。在被问到是否愿意出席一个颁奖晚会时,我解释道,我在颁奖晚会这种场合通常发挥不佳。这种坦率能够创造三赢的局面:你不必因为撒了一个善意的谎而心怀愧疚,别人无法反驳,你也不会被再次问及。

The same approach works best for out-of-office replies. There is no need to claim limited access to email. Either you are the sort of person valued by the Morgan Stanley boss and work on holiday – in which case you don’t need an out-of-office email at all. Or you view holiday as holiday: in which case the best approach is to say “I’m away until X. I’ll read your message when I’m back” – thereby cunningly not committing to ever replying.
同样的策略最适用于“不在办公室”的回复邮件。没有必要声称自己不方便使用电子邮件。如果你是那种受摩根士丹利老大重视、假期也工作的人,那么你根本不需要“不在办公室”的回复邮件;抑或你是那种觉得假期就是假期的人,那么最好的办法就是说,“我在几号之前都不在办公室。我将在返回办公室后阅读您的邮件”——如此还巧妙地避免了承诺将回复邮件。



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