Dear Reader,

I have shared with you my thoughts on my colleagues’ deplorable email habits. Now it is time for you to share with me.

Answer me truthfully, dear Reader.

Do you find yourself re-reading your emails?

Do you have a folder marked ‘misc’, containing your most finely crafted, incisive, witty, insightful emails?

Do you fully intend to list this folder as an asset in your will, renamed as ‘For Posterity’, or ‘Eyes Only Faber & Faber Eds’?

And do you secretly believe that one day a higher authority will come across this folder and publish them, with annotations, in the final volume of your Complete Works?

Ah, dear Reader. Of course you do. (How lovely it is that we can be so honest with one another).


This may come as something of a shock, dear Reader, but the only higher authority that will ever read your emails are the Vice-Chancellor’s minions.*

Bear this in mind, dear Reader, as you plan your escape new life outside the academy. Keep your communications with the outside world flinty, and to the point.

I offer you an example from my own inbox. Here is an email I received recently:


and my response:


Remember, dear Reader, God is not reading your emails.*

This, dear Reader, is Rule No. 4.

* Probably.


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