I’ll cut to the chase on this one: Don’t write down anything you don’t want anyone and everyone to read.
It’s really simple. Emails and texts can be forwarded. Print outs can be scanned and shared. Pictures can be taken and transmitted. Pieces of those things can be taken out of context. These things can and do happen. Pretty frequently
Who hasn’t “replied to all” by mistake or missed the fact that they were BCC’d? Think of all the reasons people share stuff they shouldn’t, ranging from innocent to evil. Things get left around. Systems get hacked. The damage this causes can be severe and long lasting.
I almost learned this lesson the hard way.
Years ago I worked at a company. As was common earlier in my career, I had beef with all sorts of things. Issues with decisions about our business, our products, and our organization. Criticism of our leadership. Righteous anger at the negative impacts of all the incompetence. And so what did I do?
That’s right: I documented it all in an excruciatingly detailed email, and sent it to my boss.
Who then forwarded it to his boss, who then forwarded it to the CEO, who then forwarded it to the other Executives, eventually finding its way to our company’s outside legal counsel.
When I was called in the office of our CTO (my uber boss) it was explained to me that the only reason I wasn’t being fired was because my email was a little too accurate. It contained details that they didn’t want to risk getting exposed to the outside world (which wouldn’t have happened, but whatever). Had that not been the case, the course of my life would have been very different.
I’d like to say that’s the only time I was stupid enough to write stuff down I’d regret. That wasn’t the first time, and even worse, it wasn’t the last. Thankfully I never took a stupidity bullet right in the face, but I suffered many wounds. The fact that I’m where I am today is a minor miracle.
Got beef? Don’t write it down. Ever.