It's National Poetry Day, apparently! My English lit chops instinctively kicked in when I found that out this morning, so I've been spending all day sharing plennnnty of my favorite poems (and, swoon, poetry slam videos) over on Twitter.
Poetry seems particularly suited to what is officially autumn weather here in Berlin. I was in the UK from Saturday until late Tuesday night, which included a very adorable visit to my cousin and her babies in Bristol...
... and now I'm just catching up on work, answering emails, and biding my time until mulled wine season really and truly begins.
On the subject of virtual correspondence, I need to vent a little bit today about an email exchange I've had in the last few weeks. Be forewarned, this is an Epic #ELB Email Takedown.
Okay, here we go.
As longtime followers will know, I'm a San Diego girl who's spent most of the last seven years living in the UK & Germany. A few study visas, a few work visas. All things I sought out on my own, and accomplished on my own--or with help when I asked.
So, when it comes to immigration, I kinda know the ropes. No, I take that back. I am a vast well of specific and helpful knowledge.
As happens frequently, I was recently introduced over Facebook to a friend of a friend. She's an American woman, my age, who's thinking about moving to Berlin because her UK study visa is about to run out.
Totally fine. I tell her I'm happy to get on the phone for 20 minutes and answer her questions. She says, "Thanks in advance! I will hit you up soon!"
Ball's in her court. All good.
Pause. I have to interject and explain to you I get a lot of Facebook messages. A lot. I probably have 15-20 unread FB messages at any given time. It's basically like email to me.
Because of this, I am pretty good about checking my message requests and filtered messages, in case I miss something. Most people are not.
About a week later, I do one of these routine message request checks, and I see I have a separate message from this friend-of-a-friend woman.
This is big mistake number one. She didn't add me on Facebook, so I basically just found her message by luck.
What she could have done better: If she would have responded on that same conversation thread (the one our mutual friend started), I would have seen her message immediately.
So, I luckily find her random message. Slightly edited for privacy's sake, here's what it said:
hey alexa how's it goingggg?? basically i'm intrigued at your move to germany and exit from the uk... firstly- i don't really think there is any way i can stay here, but did you almost find one? i heard you might have. also, when you moved to germany, did you instantly start your own work as in working for yourself? also do you speak german? i'm just curious as to how that transition worked for you, let me know when you get a spare moment. thanks! xo
No. No, no. No, no, no.
This message is big mistake numbers two through seven thousand. I'm not going to rant about it, I'm just going to jump right in and explain why.
(1) Girl, you do not know me. I appreciate that I am approximately your same age and that we share a good friend in common. This does not give you an excuse to:
- use this much casual punctuation
- use a boatload of improper informal grammar
- not introduce yourself in any way, shape, or form
- not even capitalize my name
I don't know what you know about me, but do your research. I am a busy, professional woman who already offered to get on the phone with you for twenty minutes and try to help.
(2) Here are the answers to the questions you actually asked me: Good, Yes, Yes, Poorly.
"I'm just curious as to how that transition worked for you" is not a question. It is a dumb statement about your own curiosity.
I am not going to sit down and write you a detailed, five-paragraph essay on my entire life history, on how I moved to Berlin sight unseen, on how I started my businesses, on how I got my first clients.
If you would have Googled me, you would see that I've written more than one article on the topic. That I didn't actually move from the UK to Germany, but also spent an intense year in San Francisco in between.
You would see that I write a newsletter read by thousands of people, and maybe you would have come at me in a different way.
(3) I am not going to let you know "when I get a spare moment."
I already told you, let's talk on the phone.
I will take 20 minutes out of my day and give it to you. I will tell you my life story, and explain how I did it all, and cheer you on, and tell you I'm happy to introduce you to people when you get to town.
I will do that because our mutual friend is flipping fantastic, and she cares about you, and I care about her.
You should have come back to me the first time and said, "Awesome. Thank you. Are you free sometime on Tuesday between 10AM - 4PM UK time? Let me know what number to call you at, and I'll take care of the rest."
Insert yourself into my calendar, I already invited you to do so. But do not ask me to find a spare moment and then come check if my sacred extra moment works for your schedule.
No, no. That's not how this works.
But I didn't say any of that to her. Instead, I'm saying it to you, my wonderful and darling readers, so that you all know better for next time.
I did reply when I found her message, though. I said:
"Hey, good to hear from you.
Easiest to chat on the phone so I can answer all your questions straight away.
I'm around tonight or tomorrow. Just ping me and we can chat."
Seen on September 25. No response.
PS: Digging the #entrylevelboss life? The best way to care is to share, baby.Forward this email to a friend.
PPS: New around these parts? Hit reply and introduce yourself!