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Add pizzazz to uncomfortable emails with the help of children’s drawings

March 23, 2011

The Coffee Run header

In the course of your career, you’ll probably have awkward email exchanges to your superiors a number of times – and it’s never easy. As I was crushing my six-year-old brother in Madden the other night, I realized that kids almost never have this problem – they can invent the most ridiculous stories to charm their way into getting whatever they want.

It’s hard to stay angry at a cute, crudely drawn children’s picture.

Though it’s easy to get pissed after reading a totally made-up email story, it’s hard to stay angry at a cute, crudely drawn children’s picture. So why not harness that power to avoid friction in the workplace?

If you haven’t saved your artwork from elementary school, there’s plenty of kids’ artwork on the Internet you can steal. Remember, children don’t understand copyright law and you’re bigger than them.

Below are four email samples I’ve peppered with relevant illustrations I drew between preschool and 4th grade:

Sample #1: The Resignation

Dinosaurs in a field

It's an ankylosaurus

Dear Candace –

I am writing you to create a formal record of my resignation from My last day of work will be April 2.

Though I sincerely enjoyed much of the time I spent with the company and will be sad to abandon the mission at such a critical juncture in the animal nightwear industry, I have decided to move in a different direction by pursuing my childhood dream of genetically reanimating dinosaurs and chilling with them in a moonlit field.

Galleon at sea

Me and Ted Greenwood at sea

I am aware of the technical challenges involved, and this is not a project I undertake lightly. Leaving  was a difficult decision for me, and I made it only after a long talk with my dad. In the time I spent here, I developed the deepest respect for the people who brought me along, including Ted Greenwood — who showed a college kid with no experience how to develop a client list, bundle a customized sales package and navigate the frigid waters of the North Atlantic on a tri-masted galleon.

Look, a pretty rainbow

Look, a pretty rainbow

In lieu of two weeks’ notice, please accept this rainbow.

Sample #2: The Late Arrival

Linda –

Sorry for the short notice, but I’ll be arriving a couple hours late this morning due to a really scary dream. There were ghosts all over the place and these huge eyes glaring at me, and honestly I never even figured out whether the eyes belonged to a giant creature or were simply levitating in space – probably the former, because they had eyebrows as well.

Ghosts and eyes

I was scared

Anyway, I’ll be picking up scones for everyone on the way in.

Sample #3: Food Theft

Debby –

It has come to my attention that you have been reappropriating my Yoplait containers from the break room fridge, particularly the Key lime pie flavor, which has historically been my favorite.

This is not a threat, but the following illustration of legendary Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith being struck by a car accurately conveys my feelings toward you right now. I respectfully request that this behavior be halted immediately.

Emmitt Smith road rage

Don't jaywalk next time

Sample #4: Paid Time Off

Mexican Hanukkah in the desert

A family tradition

Frank –

In re: your previous message – I am cognizant of the fact that I have used up all my 2011 vacation days and floating holidays, but next Friday is Mexican Hanukkah. This is a particularly meaningful season for me, during which I visit family in the desert and wear a sombrero that is larger than an adult cactus, as depicted at right. I’ve already booked a round-trip flight on the plane below, which carries missiles that lock on to HR managers who have treated me unfairly.

Airplane with missiles

Note the missiles

I also might need to borrow the digital camera if nobody’s using it.

The Coffee Run is a weekly satirical column. Please do not actually heed any of this advice.

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