March 11, 2010

The emailers..

Sure.. all of us email. I mean in this age of the Internet, who doesn't? But this title, the "emailers" should strictly refer to people who email for everything. And I've come to believe I am one of them. Often I email my professor who is one floor below mine, rather than simply going over and conveying the information. And this has more to do with practicality than laziness. Before you start questioning that line of thought, let me assert that indeed I got into this groove of things 'coz of Dr P back in UC. Often we scheduled meetings in the stairwell or near some classroom only for me to learn later that he'd either forgotten about it or scheduled something else in it's time slot. "Why didn't you just send me a confirmation email" would often be his chagrined response. In his defense, I guess the email helped him directly put it on his Outlook calendar or something similar to schedule a meeting which would then send him a reminder and essentially set the ball rolling. And so it began. Emails for everything... from meeting for coffee to setting the thesis defense date. From friends to professors to colleagues to family to companies to industries and what not. Email. The easy, comfortable, reassured way of reaching people who remained connected. And so I was hooked to it. I have discovered however, that in Paris people prefer the personal touch. More often than not, it's more of you could've just told me rather than email me. Often emails are forgotten, ignored or trashed without being read and people seem to remember personally scheduled meetings rather than impersonally worded emails. It also helps build rapports with people you haven't worked too often with in the past. I've learned to work with this situation though. These days, I send an email as a correspondence-retainer and then follow it up with a phone call or a personal visit to the office of whoever I am contacting just to make sure they read the email. And here it works out even better because while they can certainly understand my written French, with my spoken French (though I presume I have gotten infinitely better at it), it still leaves room for some interpretation and entertaining dumb charades at times. Finally, communication is the key. And who cares if I had to resort to either actions or English to convey the last couple of words to complete a message? And in time, I won't need those either. Fingers crossed.


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