the poodle in a stroller, the music file, and other email signatures gone wild — Ask a Manager

Last week I asked about the funniest/weirdest/most inappropriate email signatures you’ve seen. Here are some of the highlights you shared.

1. The nice day

I know a woman who is known for being kind of blunt/curt in her emails. I think she was spoken to about it, because she added a “have a nice day” line to her signature. The funny thing is that, combined with her blunt writing style, the “have a nice day” just comes off as sarcastic: “You forgot to attach the new cover sheet to the TPS report. Did you not read the memo? Have a nice day!”

2. The sports fan

I sent an email to the CEO of an independent (meaning, not part of one of the major professional leagues) team, in connection with my job. I got back a one-line reply of actual communication. Followed by…

“All the Best,” in larger font; next line, the CEO’s name (Dr. [firstname], which is apparently how he’s known) in larger and blue font, below that, the team’s logo; below that, his full name, title, the Club’s name, his email address and phone number (in a mix of fonts, italicizations, colors, sizes, and capitalizations); and then, a line saying, “Please listen to my ‘Walk Up’ song…”

There was a 1MB file attached. It was a clip of Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger,” starting with the “you think you got the best of me” line. After about five seconds, an announcer’s voice came over the top, announcing, “Giving his all for [team] Nation, the Chairman, CEO, President and Owner of your [team], [NAAAAAAME]!” Ending just in time for the chorus of the song.

3. The day you deserve

A valued coworker uses (in their email signature): “Have the day that you deserve!” They somehow pull off a universally cheerful and helpful office and email presence that makes it feel more like a good wish that you become a person worthy of having a great day than the curse it has to be.

4. The cat box

A new cat meme is in this woman’s signature every single day, but not good memes. One around Christmas featured Grumpy Cat saying “Your gift is in the litter box.” She sends emails daily to various external clients.

5. The glitter fairy

I work at a Fortune 500 company that has mandatory email signature requirements (down to font and specific colors for specific lines). For some reason one of the department managers felt it was necessary to include a picture of a glittery fairy — complete with animated sparkles — that she changed to a new/different color every two weeks.

6. The gifted and talented administrator

I got a job working for a local council’s education department in a team of admin assistants. I had no experience or professional knowledge of the sector. One of my new colleagues had the email signature “gifted and talented administrator.” I was a little taken aback by her praising herself in her own email signature. It was weeks before I realised she was the administrator for a program for high-achieving students, which I had never heard of, called Gifted and Talented.

7. The poodle

The lady who did payroll at our large, international corporation used magenta Comic Sans and a professionally staged photo of her poodle in a stroller.

8. The standards enforcement

Purple, comic sans, size 14, with stars and swirls … from the person in charge of making sure all of our client deliverables are formatted according to the standard business templates. Really made one question her judgement.

9. The evangelist

Our IT guy (now retired) used have his signature formatted thus:

James Smith
Christian, Director of IT

…as if “Christian” was part of his job title.

10. The un-self-aware

I once was CC’ed on an email ranting about another staff member, who’d made one small, fixable mistake. The email ended with, “Cross me once and you’re out of my life. I will not work with her.”

The email signature was, “Be kind to others, bring peace wherever you go, and love always.”

11. The self-important politician

In the email signature of someone very full of himself (a former politician): “Unless we have a CONFIRMED meeting time on MY calendar and unless I’ve ALSO given you separate WRITTEN confirmation at least one day before that I’ll be attending, I will likely NOT be present for said arranged meeting.”

12. The departure

An employee who I replaced at a previous job had set her email to forward to the group inbox when she left, and had also set up an autoreply explaining that she was no longer with the company and that the email was being forwarded to the team. The signature line read “Onwards and DEFINITELY upwards,” and I still giggle over it.

13. The intern

We had an intern with the following quote in his signature, in the font Impact: “We Be Ballin’. Don’t Let Nobody Tell You Otherwise!” Immediately following this, he attributed the quote to himself and added a year. The year was the year he was born.

14. Excelsior

One of execs has “Excelsior!” in his email signature, which he forgot to remove in his email announcing layoffs.

15.  The charming Anatole

This one’s just charming, but a contact from a non-Anglophone country has a default English language sign-off that is slightly archaic and almost conventional (think “I remain / Yours very truly / Anatole”). But he’s missed a bit, so what we receive is the following:

I remain,

And it’s delightful.

16. The mortification

This was me… a decade+ ago. First full time job, really. With a pretty prestigious government agency. Very young. Oh so young. I worked in one department for several months, where I only emailed with friends or individuals for one-off communications. I created rotating email signatures that I liked or thought were funny – from Gloria Steinem to Grouch Marx. I was promoted to another department where my responsibilities included all-staff emails (which included VERY VERY IMPORTANT GOVERNMENT PEOPLE). I failed to remove the quotes my first week. I open an email. Address it. Signature automatically populates. As it does. I get distracted. And hear that “whoosh.”

I sent EVERYONE an email that said “I never forget a face, but I your case I’ll make an exception. – Groucho Marx” Nothing else. That was the entire body of the email.

After my heart found its way back into my chest from my stomach (I have no idea how long it was). I replied all (which really, just called MORE attention to the email) and went very overboard in my apology. I had the head of IT come show me how to recall emails shortly after that, and heard many a story from so many people about more embarrassing email mishaps. In the end, I definitely entertained more people than I insulted. (Hopefully?) First week on the job and I insulted everyone’s face. I actually ended up really loving that job and everyone I worked with and I think I was very successful. Fun start though.

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