WFME’s Right Name Wrong E-Mail

We all get junk e-mail.

But periodically, just like one can find joy in a wrong number phone call, one can also find joy in what I like to call the Right Name Wrong E-Mail — an e-mail message that has been mistakenly sent to you because you have the same name as the intended recipient. A missing period between the intended e-mail receiver’s first and last name has now ironically delivered that message to you.

And it’s almost too good to leave alone.

Today, I received an e-mail at one of my many e-mail addresses — all you need to know is that someone attempted to send a message to another Paul Davidson (I’ve changed the names of who sent it to me and what company they work for, FYI), but due to the similarity in our e-mail addresses, it came to me instead. It was a simple e-mail message at first that said simply this:

Subject: Job Description

Hi Paul,

Here’s a final draft of the Job Description, travel safe.

Barry
___________________________________________
Barry J. Russell
NovelStetrics Area Manager Eastern US

The e-mail message also contained an attachment. An eight page job description draft document, outlining the duties for the position “NovelStetrics Specialist.” I wasn’t quite sure if me and the other Paul Davidson were being offered a job or being given the opportunity to help shape the document, so I just went for it and replied to his e-mail:

Subject: Re: Job Description

Barry,

Final draft?  What if I have additional edits/thoughts?

Paul

Because, honestly — the document had so many wordy paragraphs, I figured that if Barry gave me the opportunity I would be more than happy to provide him with some thoughts. It was his next e-mail that quickly put my position and where I stood in relation to Barry and NovelStetrics into perspective:

Subject: Re: Job Description

Paul,

This is the final draft of the Novel Biocare USA official job description for all NES US positions approved by Sr. Management.  Not having the HR copy available this moment, I sent you the approved draft, which is the Job Description.  No changes or modification can be made.  Sorry for any confusion.  

Barry  
___________________________________________
Barry J. Russell
NovelStetrics Area Manager Eastern US

Ah ha! It was finally clear to me. I wasn’t in a position to adjust the official job description document! I was the guy applying for the job in question. Duh. Of course I couldn’t make any changes or modifications to the job description of the job I was applying for. But I could ask questions. Right?

Subject: Re: Job Description

Barry,

Are you open to me asking a few questions about what’s contained in this document?  Or should that be directed to someone else?

Best-

Paul

And he responded:

Subject: Re: Job Description

No problem, I’m the person, let’s discuss tomorrow in detail.  

Barry
___________________________________________
Barry J. Russell
NovelStetrics Area Manager Eastern US

I decided I couldn’t wait for tomorrow, and shot off all my questions right then and there:

Subject: Re: Job Description

Barry:

Definitely, we can discuss in detail tomorrow.  However, just a few quick questions that jumped out at me from the job description:

In the first paragraph it says, “The Representatives coverage area is determined by sales area and may further be assigned specific Focus Zones within the assigned sales areas. The representative must possess a current and valid driver¹s license with appropriate automobile insurance.”

How firm are you guys on a valid driver’s license and automobile insurance? I’ve always thought that automobile insurance is a scam anyway — you know, you pay and pay and as long as nothing happens and you get in zero accidents, you still pay?  I’ve never been a proponent of that so-called “fleecing of America” if you get my gist.  Some flexibility on this point would be well received.

Your third paragraph states, “Coverage area routing and planning must include support of study clubs, universities, key customers, laboratories, local courses/shows and Dental Solutions Specialist. Restorative and laboratory customers must be identified in the planning process.”

What exactly do you mean by “study clubs?”  When I was in college I was a member of a few of these “study clubs” but they were simply fronts for drinking and drug abuse.  I don’t know that you necessarily want to lump in such “study clubs” in your list of “musts.”  This isn’t a deal breaker, but I’m pretty firm in my belief that study clubs are simply opportunities for others to abuse themselves.

The fifth paragraph starts out:  “Submit sales and expense reports in a timely manner.  All sales reports must be filled out on-line in the time frame specified.”

Honestly, who is enforcing “timely manner” and “time frame specified?”  I’m assuming it would be my immediate superior and not their assistant or someone below them.  I like to think I can manage my time on my own, but if it’s going to be managed by someone else, I would only feel comfortable if it was someone who got paid much more than me.

If you could answer those few questions that would be great.  We can discuss everything else in detail tomorrow!  Let me know if you want me to bring some honey roasted peanuts — I’m sure they’ll give them to me on the plane and I’m happy to oblige!

Best-
Paul

I was pleased to see that my new friend Barry responded quite quickly:

Subject: Re: Job Description

Please read my response in blue.  Barry
___________________________________________
Barry J. Russell
NovelStetrics Area Manager Eastern U

Barry:

Definitely, we can discuss in detail tomorrow.  However, just a few quick questions that jumped out at me from the job description:

In the first paragraph it says, “The Representatives coverage area is determined by sales area and may further be assigned specific Focus Zones within the assigned sales areas. The representative must possess a current and valid driver¹s license with appropriate automobile insurance.”

How firm are you guys on a valid driver’s license and automobile insurance? I’ve always thought that automobile insurance is a scam anyway — you know, you pay and pay and as long as nothing happens and you get in zero accidents, you still pay?  I’ve never been a proponent of that so-called “fleecing of America” if you get my gist.  Some flexibility on this point would be well received. Paul this is none negotiable, NES get auto allowance.

Your third paragraph states, “Coverage area routing and planning must include support of study clubs, universities, key customers, laboratories, local courses/shows and Dental Solutions Specialist. Restorative and laboratory customers must be identified in the planning process.”

What exactly do you mean by “study clubs?”  When I was in college I was a member of a few of these “study clubs” but they were simply fronts for drinking and drug abuse.  I don’t know that you necessarily want to lump in such “study clubs” in your list of “musts.”  This isn’t a deal breaker, but I’m pretty firm in my belief that study clubs are simply opportunities for others to abuse themselves. They are Professional Dental Study Clubs.

The fifth paragraph starts out:  “Submit sales and expense reports in a timely manner.  All sales reports must be filled out on-line in the time frame specified.”

Honestly, who is enforcing “timely manner” and “time frame specified?”  I’m assuming it would be my immediate superior and not their assistant or someone below them.  I like to think I can manage my time on my own, but if it’s going to be managed by someone else, I would only feel comfortable if it was someone who got paid much more than me. We have company policies & procedures all employee’s adhere too.

If you could answer those few questions that would be great.  We can discuss everything else in detail tomorrow!  Let me know if you want me to bring some honey roasted peanuts — I’m sure they’ll give them to me on the plane and I’m happy to oblige!

Paul you should also be aware Novel has a pre-employment drug screen test.

Best-
Paul

While I’m not sure why Barry felt it necessary to inform me about the pre-employment drug screen test, I figured maybe it had something to do with mentioning peanuts. Or something else. Who knew? I shot off one last e-mail to him with my response:

Subject: Re: Job Description

Barry:

Thank you for taking the time to respond to these particular questions I had on the HR job description document. Let me respond to each of your responses:

I totally understand, in regards to the non-negotiable nature of the driver’s license/car insurance situation. This is typically how it is everywhere, but you can’t blame a guy for trying. In my book, driving around without car insurance saves you enough money to cover any accidents you may have while under the influence. In general, I mean. Not specific to me and my own experiences. Nonetheless, moving on.

Professional Dental Study Clubs! Hah! My bad.

As for the company’s policy and procedures, I can be a company man that’s for sure — so thanks for this response.

As for the preemployment drug screen test, that’s par for the course. To be expected. How much lead time do you give people? Just curious how much notice someone might get before having to, you know, do the test.

Finally — you didn’t answer my question about the peanuts. Should I bring some for you or not?

See you tomorrow-

Paul

And then, nothing but silence.

The moral of this post, of course, is something like: “If you’re sending an e-mail, be sure you get the address right. Or else someone like me might reply.” Or maybe the moral is something like, “Don’t hire new employees who ask too many questions.” Or maybe it’s something else.

I just hope the other Paul Davidson has a successful job interview tomorrow.

And that he can explain not bringing the peanuts.

18 comments on “WFME’s Right Name Wrong E-Mail

  1. Tom - March 28, 2007 at 3:19 am -

    I really want to think this is humorous, but I keep thinking of the poor guy whose job search you’re messing with just for fun.

    I’m sure when he arrives for his interview it will come out that “Barry” was emailing the wrong person, but the damage is already done in that “Barry” will have gone through 24 hours of thinking that “Paul” is a complete loon and has likely already decided not to hire him.

    I’m sorry, but this is NOT cool…

  2. Word - March 28, 2007 at 4:58 am -

    Paul, (the blog guy, not the job applicant), That other Paul D. is going to be MAD at you! I’m going to refer to your blog as my “Study Club” from now on, so much more important sounding.

  3. Jerry - March 28, 2007 at 5:33 am -

    I understand Tom and Word’s concerns for the other Paul’s prospects of landing the job but come on. This exchange was hilarious because Barry is such the company man — mindless, process driven, and grossly overestimating his own importance to the company. If OtherPaul gets mad at anyone it has to be Barry for screwing up the email address and I suspect that blame will ultimately fall on Barry’s Assistant whether justified or not. Barry’s in this for the long haul and a gaffe like this won’t stop him. 10 bucks he has printed out the exchange and is consulting with HR first thing in the morning to see if he violated any policies or if the exchange was in any way inappropriate for the workplace.

  4. Word - March 28, 2007 at 5:41 am -

    Jerry, just to clarify – I am not worried about OtherPaul’s prospects. Actually, I can’t wait for the confrontation, in all it’s dual-Paul quality, to play out here at WFME! I love it when Paul messes with people’s heads.

  5. Jeff - March 28, 2007 at 6:21 am -

    You seem to have a problem with dopplegangers.

  6. Pauly D - March 28, 2007 at 7:38 am -

    Just so everyone knows — at the end of the day yesterday I sent an e-mail to Barry to let him know that he had been e-mailing the wrong Paul Davidson. I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s job prospects. He responded this morning (and was mad at me) — but thanked me for being honest.

    That being said, prior to me informing him, I found the exchanges worth sharing.

  7. monkeyinabox - March 28, 2007 at 7:38 am -

    It’s probably the guy who won the ham from WFME. After receiving his prized meat, he was so ecstatic he changed his name to Paul Davidson. So, really, he should have known this would be coming.

    Or perhaps it’s the Paul Davidson who registered http://pauldavidson.com/ and thus really deserves to be flogged for putting up nothing more than a saw horse that’s painted yellow and black. We all know that WFME would have given the .com site so much more, well, words and that would have been much more enjoyable than a saw horse. So, really that Paul Davidson also had it coming.

    Or perhaps it was Mark Cuban just messing with you Pauly D. We all know how billionares can be mischief makers. Hire up an intern here or there. Write a 8-page job proposal. Set up a fake company. Create a Professional Dental Study Group. It’s all doable for those billionaire goofballs. It’s simply the billionares version of Punk’d. Yes, Pauly D, you’ve been Punk’d, Cuban style. You should have seen it coming.

  8. MIchelle - March 28, 2007 at 7:47 am -

    That’s similar to my advice to job applicants, make sure the phone number you put on the resume is a not only good, but the person who may answer it knows you are applying for a job. I received a resume from a girl and when I called the number to set up an interview with her, the person who answered the phone told me “I think she is dead”.
    Apparently the girl had got in a big fight with her mother-in-law (whom she was staying with) that morning.

  9. kiki - March 28, 2007 at 7:56 am -

    Paul, I’m happy that you let Barry off the hook, although I am even more tickled by the idea that Barry’s first and only explanation for your behavior was drugs. That’s kind of awesome.

    How come you didn’t post his reply? Did he call you names? Inquiring minds want to know how a guy named Barry whose job it is to Area Manage some sterics-things gets angry via email!

  10. Pauly D - March 28, 2007 at 8:03 am -

    Kiki – Basically, his e-mail said: “You almost cost this man and his family the chance at a job.  What if this was you or someone in your family who needed a job.  In the future, please if you receive other emails in error, respect the error and inform the sender immediately. Thanks for being honest, Barry”

    Then about ten minutes later I got another e-mail from the company providing me (Paul Davidson) with login and password information for my assessment test for the job.

  11. Jerry - March 28, 2007 at 8:13 am -

    OH PLEASE TELL ME YOU TOOK THE TEST! How fantastic (and not to mention fodder for an additional WFME Post) would that be?

  12. kiki - March 28, 2007 at 10:10 am -

    I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I don’t think I like Barry very much. Barry seems to take himself WAY too seriously. What you gave Barry is months — perhaps YEARS — of humor. He gets to tell this story over and over again. It’s probably the single funniest thing that’s ever happened to him. And yet he has the audacity to blame you for his error.

    I think Barry has issues.

  13. kiki - March 28, 2007 at 10:10 am -

    PS – I STILL CAN’T REGISTER ON GRAVATAR!

  14. Amy - March 28, 2007 at 6:31 pm -

    I can’t believe Barry wasn’t smart enough to catch on to you. If you were the real applicant, why would you have to ask such silly questions? Wouldn’t you have known it was a professional dental study club?

    Could he really be so alarmingly serious? You gotta wonder about people who just don’t get humor.

  15. MIchelle - March 29, 2007 at 6:45 am -

    Oh, I don’t know Amy. I have gotten some INCREDIBLY stupid comments from Job Applicants. You kind of have to treat all of them seriously (and then make fun of them behind their backs).

  16. nic - March 29, 2007 at 8:14 am -

    Did you ever get a chance to talk with “the real” Paul Davidson?

  17. Pauly D - March 29, 2007 at 8:53 am -

    Nic – Nope. Never did. Feel pretty good about that, by the way.

  18. Jacquie - March 30, 2007 at 2:58 am -

    I feel sad for people who don’t think the kind of stuff (pranks?) you pull are funny. What a sad life they must live.

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