Corporate Dinosaurs

Have you noticed how common it is to receive professional corporate e-mails that show absolutely no respect whatsoever for basic typographic rules?
And I don’t mean such nitpicking as whether periods and question marks go inside or outside quotes: I’m talking full-on spacing chaos (either dozen of whitespace before and after every single item of punctuation, or inversely, not a single space for the whole paragraph), with the occasional (though thankfully rare) ALL CAPS EMAIL every now and then.
While I do not expect spam or random newbie mails to be jewels of typography, it is always a bit unsettling to receive such loosely typed e-mails from people who’ve supposedly been exercising higher-exec positions for up to a few decades sometimes…

I think the explanation is precisely there: none of these people are used to typing their own mails. Up until this fateful era where typists have been replaced by MS Word, nobody above the rank of manager would have ever condescended to type his own mail. Maybe a quick draft by hand, but that’s about as far as it would go. As for formatting and typography: this was the secretary’s job.

Ironically, nowadays, even CEOs of multi-billion dollars companies have to occasionally type emails by themselves. And obviously, they were never told not to put spacing before a period.

That reminds me of such a man who justified his absolute refusal to carry a cellphone thus: by answering your own phone, you are basically doing your secretary’s job, and lowering yourself in the face of business partners. Sheer brattiness aside (I guess he could afford to be a brat, at least by his own standard of success), he had a point: at the time, by adopting this nifty new gadget, businessmen were virtually downgrading their standing, since even the most common peon could break in their higher spheres of power and reach them directly at any time of day or night without fear of being filtered by a zealous assistant.

As for our cellphone-adverse gentleman: he held strong and never accepted to carry a portable communication device on his person. And thankfully never lived to see the cell-phone boom of the following decade.

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