vThe story of the guy who moved abroad without his mailbox


eMails from 30 months. There is a mail sound saying "you have 937 unread mails". Imagination was passed by reality. How many mails? Maybe 4000, there is no counter. The mailbox size was 450 MB. Not a size that shocks a recent computer, and the mail administrators lost the battle of the 80 MB limit a long time ago.

One colleague once thought that the mailbox would be blocked till my retirement, so that it could then be printed out and the happy retiree could depart with lots of binders full of messages.

How come that a person who is not there gets so many mails, and that no one notices that they are not read? Note, an "out of office"-message was sent in the first six months. In our brave new IT world, the important thing is to communicate (and be it automatically). If the communication is received is of lesser importance.

And what type of message does an expat receives in his old mailbox once he moved?

First, three newsletters who were unimpressed by error messages and unsubscribe attempts. These can be deleted quite fast and 2000 mails are gone. One day there will be a link "click here or we stop sending", but this is future. Long live the sort by sender. All those automotive news that happened without reader. Reader by mail, because there was the internet.

40 invitations to cocktail parties, presentations and others, where the person invited was not missed - not one mail with a regret that one did not come. One invitation to Prague (one nice colleague noticed the error and forwarded her invitation. Important things still make it, if there are the right human beings on the machines)

17 product promotions (from the buyer's past) and two career opportunities.

20 people had an IT problem and requested help. One task came from the boss.

26 informations about the special offers for DaimlerChrysler vehicles. Thousands of others would give a lot to work for a company with such offers for vehicles of such a prestigious brand. None of those vehicles made it into my courtyard.

1 Virus.

5 requests for vacation.

Three offers for a hotel stay sent by the training department.

130 automatic mails from the mailbox to switch off the Out-of-Office status. Then the machine went on vacation.

100 informations of the communication department with a special tip on the program of the in-house TV. Admittedly, the program was seldom watched by those who could, not to talk by those who could not. Maybe that is why they canceled in-house TV.

Two mails concerning a controller workshop. Normally, those workshops take place to discuss how to cut cost. One of those mails informed that the workshop will be canceled to cut cost.

20 invitations from the art forum of the company. The expat did not even knew that such a thing existed. Apparently the controller responsible for the art forum did not receive the invitation for the controller workshop.

Two mails, sent about two years after the access to the mailbox was lost. The first said that the mailbox would soon be deleted, and the second, that this process was stopped. Some mysterious power wanted this mailbox to disappear and another mysterious power saved it. Why? Hopefully the process owner knows why.

One big shot (and direct superior) mailed that he has a new cell phone number. It was his only direct communication in nearly three years. Should he have been called?

410 notifications that a certain computer system is shut down or brought up again. All this in eleven months. Poor colleagues who have to work with such a system. The password for this system came in another mail. This mail was never opened and the system was never used.

12 invitations to know-how events, eg. "Successful Communication of knowledge". Not clear if they talked about email-boxes.

Several hundred different requests. Some, time has solved by themselves. Some came again with a reminder. In some, the recipient was only in copy. In only very few cases the sender called to see why there was no response.

Seven invitations to company sport training, including golf. A form of employee motivation that does not come easy in your mind if you live in a country where golf clubs are as common as obelisk pitching areas elsewhere.

Lots of informations of the CEO. He explained the situation of the companies, the strategies chosen and that financial results and stock price will improve soon. He asks to support him. Due to sort by subject these regular informations line up one after the other. What is the change. Little, just the name of the CEO.

Finally some information about a program called EXACT: EXpatriation As Chance for Talents. Somehow, expats must be part of those talents. You become expatriated, your mailbox blocks, your non-presence passes unnoticed. You are forgotten and no one is worried about the absence of response. So you can stay for years, hopefully in a nice place.

This chance is lost if you cannot resist to access your mailbox anyway. The dear reader of this report has been warned.

(Post Scriptum)

Upd. on 19. Dez 2010