Stop Using Your Work Email for Personal Email. Please.

Dear people who work at jobs,

I’m not sure how to break this to you, if you haven’t already figured it out, but… your work email account? Totally not private.

You know that gal who works in your IT department, the one who always wears black and drinks out of a Star Wars mug and has an eyebrow piercing? Actually she would probably be a friend of mine and she’s good people, you don’t have to worry about her. But those other two people who work with her? They could totally log in and read your email any time they want – either at your manager’s request, or just for fun.

At my previous job, my colleague’s daughter got very sick suddenly. He went on leave while she spent a few months in the PICU. He was obviously not checking his email during that time. So various team members logged into his mailbox every day and forwarded work emails to the appropriate places for handling. Are you comfortable with everyone you work with having access to everything in your inbox? Friends writing to you about marital issues? Your own emails about your financial situation or your health? Lots and lots of emails that show you’ve been working on your blog or updating Facebook continuously during the work day?

Here in Austin, I knew someone who showed up to work one day and there was a padlock on the door of the building. Seems the business had gone bankrupt, but the owners didn’t let any of the staff know. All computer accounts were now inaccessible. If your personal contacts are in the habit of emailing your work account, how easy would it be to get all of them to update their address books? How much mail would you lose in the meantime?

Some people use their work accounts for personal email because their job blocks the major providers for personal email – Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, and so on. If you’re in this situation, I’m so sorry. But is it worth sabotaging yourself at work to send email?

Just think about it, okay? Segregating your personal and work email doesn’t completely stop your employer from checking up on your internet use, but it’s just good sense.


2 thoughts on “Stop Using Your Work Email for Personal Email. Please.

  1. Sarah M.

    I actually know of people who have been fired over this very issue. Maybe subbing to porn sites using your work email is not the wisest idea, eh?

  2. Skye

    You know, I didn’t even go there… but yeah, if the content can in any way be seen as inappropriate by whoever’s checking on you, that’s double trouble. That doesn’t even have to be porn, it could be politics or religion.

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