So there you are. Sitting at your desk, glaring at the screen. Gripped in a fit of rage, ready to unleash your fury at the incompetence of the other Broker. Or your boss. Or whoever pissed you off that day. You angrily strike the CAPS LOCK key, knowing full well that in e-mail etiquette, all caps means you are yelling. You want to make sure your co-worker, to whom you are about to vent, knows how serious you are about so-and-so this time. You pound away at the keys like a frustrated monkey trying to open a can with a rock, spewing hate and discontent. Then you select your coworker’s name from your address list and smash the send button with your mighty fist.
“Bob won’t believe what a jerk so-and-so is,” you snarl, and nod your head in approval of your work. For a moment, you even feel a little bit better.
Then, you suddenly feel less better.
You notice that in your haste, you neglected to realize your clever e-mail address auto-fill feature actually transposed your coworker’s email address (the intended ventee) with your archenemy’s e-mail address (the intended target of said venting). Apparently, both their names begin with “Y.”
Mother of God.
We’ve all been there. Maybe not to this extent, but an errant text, perhaps? “Oh, that wasn’t meant for you.” “Of course I was wearing pants in that picture I sent.”
In this age of technology and rapid-fire communication, some innocent incidents are unavoidable. However, many more are. You don’t have to take my word for it. Anthony Weiner, anyone? The AshleyMadison.com scandal? Peoples’ and organizations’ deepest, darkest secrets broadcast to millions across the globe with a single keystroke.
Having worked for many years in the field of protecting (and acquiring) sensitive information, I can offer some advice: don’t put anything on a computer connected to the Internet that you would not want the public to see. Don’t badmouth people via text. Don’t discuss trying to screw the competition over email. Don’t register for a dating website if you are married. Internet privacy is a myth.
Or perhaps better yet, simply avoid doing those things altogether.
We’ve all been guilty of at least one of the above at some point, but given the odds of making a mistake or otherwise getting caught, shouldn’t we attempt to do the right thing, even when no one is looking? It’s the simplest solution. Think of how much simpler your life would be. You won’t have to worry about covering your tracks, keeping your stories straight, hurting peoples’ feelings, or getting caught. Your conscience will be clear.
If you should happen to believe in some sort of afterlife or reincarnation, you have reason enough to avoid these behaviors. And if you haven’t had the pleasure (or displeasure) of experiencing Karma in this lifetime, I assure you it exists. And yes, it’s a bitch.