Wednesday, February 4, 2009

"Professional" Spam

I'm a lawyer. I work in an office that happens to be in the legal department of a large company in a specific industry (we'll call it the "widget" industry). The few hours I'm actually not in a meeting, and am able to get some work done, I sit at a desk, in front of a computer. I like to be able to focus, but I can't bring myself to turn off the notification that tells me I have a new email. In fact, I even set my email program to check for new emails every 1 minute. Yes, every single minute. Maybe I'm just lonely, and hope my friends will email me. Maybe I am just not terribly excited about being a widget lawyer. Whatever the cause, that's the result. Whenever I hear that little beep, I feel a tiny tingle of excitement. Is it my family? A good friend with great news? A guy I'm interested in asking me out? A group of coworkers inviting me to lunch? Sometimes, yes. That makes me happy, and after reading the note, I go back to my work with a smile on my face. But what about those other beeps? The ones that signify a less important email. If only there were a way to have a less cheerful sounding beep for those.

Maybe it's because it's the beginning of the year, but it seems like everyone has me on their email list. The State Bar Association is sponsoring this or that program. Sorry Bar, Widgets Inc provides all the Continuing Legal Education credits I need. Stop bugging me. Worse than the lawyer spam, though, is the widget spam. The area of law I deal with at Widgets Inc is very limited and highly specialized - federal regulation of widgets. I have no need to know about your upcoming "Building Widgets from A-Z" program or your "Going Green with Widgets" program. Depressed because it's another widget spam email, I dutifully go to the bottom of the email and hit "unsubscribe." Often, I get a response saying "We're sorry to see you go. It may take several days to complete your request." Why? It's just "delete" dude. Invariably, in the next 36 hours, I get more widget spam than I ever thought possible, as if they're using up a year's supply before they have to delete me. Grrrrr.....

I suppose it could be worse. I could be a gynecologist. Vagina spam would be much worse than widget spam, after all.

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