What Ashley Madison Teaches Us About Work-Email Abuse
It’s amazing how oftentimes people forget to consider the consequences of their actions. But it’s more amazing that people forget there’s a reason why a work email is designated for work purposes.
Among the many scandals that have been revealed from the Ashley Madison hack, the one that baffled us the most was that about 15,000 accounts were registered to work emails. As Will Schwalbe, coauthor of SEND: Why People Email So Badly and How to Do It Better, explains,
“The danger of using email for personal business is that, if there’s some kind of legal issue that comes up at your workplace involves having to investigate emails, then every single thing you’ve done with your email address is fair game.”
Well, crap. So much for assuming your email activity was private. And that got us thinking: what are some other stupid and reckless things people do with their emails?
#1. Register for a controversial service
Some people may have opted to use their work email because they were under the impression that their significant other had easy access to their personal one. Well, needless to say, highly controversial sites are bound to get hacked. Just be prepared for the social shaming.
#2. Email a recruiter
You know how your contacts typically auto-populate in the “To” field? Yeah, good luck when you accidentally send it to your manager Joe instead of the recruiter Joe. At least when you get fired, you’ll have all the free time in the world to look for a new job.
#3. Emailing your doctor
So you have a contagious virus, and you’re refusing to stay at home because you don’t want to use any PTO days. When everyone on your team, in your department, or even in your company gets infected, you’ll most likely be chased by an angry mob wielding pitchforks. Who are we kidding, if they’re sick, they’ll be immobile — lucky you.
#4. Putting down your email on a contest form
“Win a cruise for two to Hawaii.” More like sell your soul to soliciting brokers and spam lists. You shouldn’t even be registering for these with any email anyways.
#5. Using it to sell things on Craigslist
The great thing about having work emails is that they’re not easily searchable to solicitors. But not when you decide to sell your motorcycle on Craigslist. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire further.
#6. Tying it to any political donations
Politics is an extremely touchy subject. If your company’s domain is associated with a specific political party, you’re potentially killing any leads on your list that are advocates of the other wing.
#7. Using it on a review site
As you’ve already learned from the Ashley Madison incident, just about anything can be hacked and made public these days. That also means that nasty review you left for your current employer on Glassdoor.
#8. Use it to order weird prescription narcotics from Canada
This shouldn’t even be done with any email — whether work or personal — in the first place. What’s wrong with you?
Just because your work email address has your name on it, don’t forget that your company’s domain is what catches people’s attention. And any bad rap that your company receives from your reckless use with your work email will fall on you.