Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Questionable Professionalism of the Smiley Face

I do believe the corporate world is in serious jeopardy. I’m not talking about unscrupulous business practices, or an unstable economy…but something far more unsettling:

At what point in time did this icon become an appropriate method of communication? ‘Cause I seriously missed this memo. I don't even know this person...and they're already smiling and winking at me?

I’ve finally located and unpacked my IV, so he can contribute his valuable insight on this critical topic:

Clinton Kelly: (Shaking & stomping his feet) “I’ve lost all feeling in my legs. I hope you’ve budgeted for chiropractic care…or maybe one of those nice massaging chairs with the magic fingers…”

Kathryn: “Budget? What budget? If you pay me back the $20 you owe me, that’s our budget. Knock yourself out.”

CK: (Sighs wearily) “Well, you can’t put a price on the importance of professionalism.”

K: “Yes, you can. Twenty bucks…it’s worth twenty bucks. I was talking about the amateurish use of the semicolon alongside a closed parenthesis when used in the context of corporate correspondence.”

CK: “I’m sorry…what?”

K: (Rolls eyes) “It looks bad when you use a winky, smiley-face in a business email.”

CK: “Yes…I’m well aware. OMG…BRB…TTYL…LMAO. Simply inappropriate.”


CK: (Winces) “There’s no need to shout. You actually received a work-related email that included this?”

K: “Uh-huh. After I surmised that she was probably barely out of her teens, I had the frightening thought that her contemporaries are possibly responding in the same way. I mean, maybe I’m the exception…the ‘old dog that can’t be taught new tricks’, as it were.”

CK: “Yikes. You got all that from a smiley-face? Did it ever occur to you that she’s unconsciously struggling to translate her dozen-a-day text messages to her BFF for the uptight, unfamiliar confines of a work- suitable email?”

K: “I’m sorry…what?”

CK: “Maybe she’s too green to know better. Cut her some slack…no harm, no foul. You didn’t wink back, did you? Because that could be misconstrued as sexual harassment…”

K: “God, no. I politely LOL’d and then I told her I’d be AFK and would catch her OFS.”

CK: “’OFS’? I’m unfamiliar with that one.”

K: “I said I’d ‘catch her on the flip side’. God, Clinton…get down with the program, dude.”

CK: (Smiles) “Sorry. I must’ve missed the memo on that one…”

K: “You’re forgiven. Just remember…there’s a time and a place. Next time someone crosses the line, I’ll be ready…”

Spot said...

My client often uses smiley faces in our email correspondence and he is NOT a teenager. This is a marketing guru who owns his own successful business and teaches marketing at the college level. It weirds me out. I sometimes wonder if he's talking down to me...


Anonymous said...

That would strike me as odd if I got smiley faces in my business emails. I only keep those to friends only stuff.

Lauren said...

Yeah... I rarely use emoticon crap in places where they are appropriate. I still spell you "YOU" dammit! I'm taking your green anti smiley face thingy and I'm gonna use it! You've inspired me! This is my call to action! Proper English I shall save you! Lauren away!

Bernadine said...

Hi Kathryn

How are you?

I must admit when I want a financial statement or a questionnarie like in very quick I send them a smiley face. Just to soften them up a bit and people did respond... scary. So when I've red this post I was like.. oops I wonder if some of my respondents thought the same as you did when I've send them those smiley faces ;).

Have a good day Kathryn and a great weekend to you.

carissajaded said...

Ahhh the side ways smiley. I absolutely hate that thing. Srsly LOL It sux :(

No really. It irks me.

Runnergirl said...

I didn't recognise any of those acronyms apart from LOL - and half the time some people use that as "laughs out loud" and some people use it as "lots of love"...

I also hate text speak, but I have to admit to using smiley faces, but only with friends and family and in context.

What the hell is LMAO?!

Alan W. Davidson said...

I believe only Simon Cowell is allowed to wink like that...

Anonymous said...

OMG I can't believe she did that! WTH is up with people nowadays?! SNR and on a professional work-related e-mail at that SMH. OK, TTYL see you OFS.


Maureen@IslandRoar said...

Oh, this is good. And true. I never use these emoticons and I feel out of it. I don't even want to figure out how to do it. I'm a dinosaur. But it's spreading. Rapidly.

Betsy said...

Hehehehe....loved this. I agree, using that kind of stuff in professional business correspondence is least right now it is. I'm sure in another 10 years when the text-generation enters the work force, professionalism will become even more casual than it already is and it will be a normal part of the workday. Why don't we dumb ourselves down even further and just revert to valley girl speak? like, OMG, did you see that dude's report? He's like, totally wrong with his numbers and stuff.

Unknown said...

HAHAHA. Good one. Very funny post. I love that CK didn't get OFS. And I love that RunnerGirl doesn't know LMAO yet.

RunnerGirl--it is Laughing My Ass Off.

Thanks for bringing the funny, K.

Sage said...

Cute--I don't generally talk about work, but... the other day, one of my employees told me I'd upset another employee by the brash email I sent for information (which he was supposed to have given to me). She suggested that I put a happy face at the end of the request and I rolled my eyes and mumbled under my breath.

Full-On-Forward said...

Can't stop laughing--Just be glad that isn't acceptable on a MEDICAL Chart yet!!!!

Great post,


Oddyoddyo13 said...


Would like your input on the new product line. In your opinion, what does the label seem like to you? Your immediate response would be appreciated.

Danielle ;) ;) ;) ;) ;)

(Come on, you were just asking for it. *grins* I'm allowed to give you a smiley face though right? *bats eyelashes innocently*)

Anonymous said...

OMG, can you imagine? I mean, WTF?

Okay, retched a little just typing that. Just leads to me to remember my granny, "What's this world coming to?"

Carol said...

I agree. Let's keep this professional people. I work with a man, in his 50's, we sell radiology stuff, lots of doctors, rad techs, etc. His phone conversations- he calls every guy Bro or Dude, and he signs his emails TY- like it's too much trouble to type out thank you. I imagine his children communicate only with acronyms. TTYL BFF

Heather said...

I can't ever remember to do those, darn it! I'm limited to the LOL and LMAO, those are all I know.

Momiji chan said...

hey girl im sorry i havent been on lately T.T ive been busy eh hehe

Miley said...

We had a client who is well educated and likely makes well over 6 figures a year. We asked her a question about something and her email response was shocking.
"My bad!"

wendy said...

Yeah,business is simply that. Business. I imagine that an employer would be just as upset if they were to receive a resume that used smiley faces and texting in it. Um, I barely know some of the texting lingo. What does AKF mean? And I didn't know what OFS meant either. Sorry...Maybe you could do your next blog about the definitions of texting words. You would be doing me a HUGE favor ;)
Couldn't resist adding my winky LOL

Jerry said...

AFK. AFK? All Females Kiss? Another Friggin' Kleptomaniac? AFK?

TC said...

I use the sideways smiley because my daughter who is the fashion police and the proper behavior police rolled into one says I say LOL WAY too much, so I use the smiley face or tee hee or ha ha interspersed with LOL and I also write really long sentences....

Post a Comment

Fabulous Insights by Fabulous Readers

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.