Dear 22-Year-Olds, There Are a Few Things You Need to Know About Business Emails

by Evil HR Lady on January 19, 2018

The terrible date between Aziz Ansari and “Grace” made the internet go crazy and opened up all kinds of debate over the #metoo movement. The story’s author, Katie Way, though, has made herself a topic of news over her completely inappropriate email to HLN anchor Ashleigh Banfield after someone from Banfield’s staff contacted Way and invited her to come on the show.

It’s an unequivocal no from me. The way your colleague Ashleigh (?), someone I’m certain no one under the age of 45 has ever heard of, by the way, ripped into my source directly was one of the lowest, most despicable things I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Shame on her. Shame on HLN. Ashleigh could have “talked” to me. She could have “talked” to my editor or my publication. But instead, she targeted a 23-year-old woman in one of the most vulnerable moments of her life, someone she’s never f—ing met before, for a little attention. I hope the ratings were worth it! I hope the ~500 RTs on the single news write-up made that burgundy lipstick bad highlights second-wave feminist has-been feel really relevant for a little while. She DISGUSTS me, and I hope when she has more distance from the moment she has enough of a conscience left to feel remotely ashamed — doubt it, but still. Must be nice to piggyback off of the fact that another woman was brave enough to speak up and add another dimension to the societal conversation about sexual assault. Grace wouldn’t know how that feels, because she struck out into this alone, because she’s the bravest person I’ve ever met. I would NEVER go on your network. I would never even watch your network. No woman my age would ever watch your network. I will remember this for the rest of my career — I’m 22 and so far, not too shabby! And I will laugh the day you fold. If you could let Ashleigh know I said this, and that she is no-holds-barred the reason, it’d be a real treat for me.

Thanks,
Katie

So, what would I say to other 22-year-olds?

To  keep reading, click here: Dear 22-Year-Olds, There Are a Few Things You Need to Know About Business Emails

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Jill January 19, 2018 at 3:28 pm

“22 and not too shabby.” Um. Having *one* story go viral hardly means you’ve reached the pinnacle of career success.

Ms. Way should remember that not only is the internet forever, but it’s also quite fleeting. Her story is the hot thing now….but give it a day or two and it’ll be lost in the Internet wasteland. Instead of burning bridges, she could have used this successful story as a catalyst for something even more. Too bad!

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Anonymous January 19, 2018 at 3:28 pm

As a 22-year-old, let me just say I am shocked at the arrogance and entitlement this young woman has–I recently entered the professional world and I constantly feel like I have no clue what I’m doing.
Also though, it would’ve been a lot more constructive if this journalist went on HLN and defended Grace/had a constructive debate with Banfield…that would’ve helped her cause a LOT more than this cringey email.

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Tami January 22, 2018 at 1:43 pm

This is exactly what I was thinking. What an opportunity lost! Instead of getting defensive, why not use this as a catalyst? If she was half as smart as she think she is, she would have jumped on the opportunity to get on HLN instead of burning a bridge.

And don’t feel bad, at 44 I question what I know every day as well. Overly-confident people frighten me.

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BethRA January 19, 2018 at 3:59 pm

Also, (and this applies to more than just 20-somethings) dumping on someone who a) isn’t the source of your displeasure and b) is in no way in a position to address your complaint is really bad form and makes you look like a bully at best.

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Dorothy January 19, 2018 at 5:47 pm

Yes, I wish I could gather all the young people I know and point out that the crap you post online can follow you forever. A prospective employer or university won be charmed by pictures of you uponhaving sex or drinking at a party.

However, the Open Letter is a form as old as written language. A good example is the Epistles in the New Testament. I’m guessing this screed wasn’t intended for the addressee. It was intended to be quoted and reproduced (ahem!) to give this chick even more undeserved attention.

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Observer January 21, 2018 at 1:42 am

It’s an old format, and it’s stuck around because it works. This is not even address to “this chick” -it’s addressed to people who are relatively new to the work world and, even if they are not as bratty as Ms.Way, may make some mistakes similar to what she did.

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Goober January 19, 2018 at 5:57 pm

As Banfield pointed out, a young woman who professes to be a feminist publicly attacking an older woman over a) age, b) lipstick, and c) hair highlights isn’t a feminist, she’s a hypocrite and a misogynist. Way has seriously damaged what she claims to stand for, and fed the aspects of journalism business culture she says she hates.

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Annie January 19, 2018 at 5:59 pm

Why would this 22 year old woman think it was appropriate to use language that a 14 year old knows is inappropriate? She dropped the F-bomb in a letter to a news outlet. That is very bad manners and judgement.

As for the whole Aziz and Grace date: Grace, you can also learn from EHRL. No is a complete sentence. You felt this guy was a creep after dinner? Then the appropriate reply was “No thank you”. Your story sounds like bad date remorse. You weren’t really ok with what you were doing, but you rolled with it. Then you left the situation and felt horrible about how you acted. Grow up, Miss. Bad dates happen. Do not let your bad judgment trivialize the #metoo movement.

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ThoughtsForLunch January 19, 2018 at 7:09 pm

This whole situation is awful and a detriment to all the progress on sexual assault.

The babe article was written poorly using innuendo language meant to let the readers imagination run wild. I got the sense from the article that the author didn’t care about the #metoo movement, feminism, or even Grace for that matter – only clicks.

This email lends evidence to my judgement. No feminist would weild looks against someone to discredit their professional opinion. That’s one of the issues so many of us are fighting to address!

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Mariam January 19, 2018 at 8:58 pm

While your comments about how to write (and not write) professional emails are on point, you and some of the comments missed the mark when criticizing “Grace” for not saying “no” the way you all think she should have said no. You do well on professionalism and workplace issues generally, but your knowledge about affirmative consent and sexual coercion seems woefully lacking. You could have written all the good points in this without even mentioning “Grace.”

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Annie January 19, 2018 at 9:10 pm

Grace stated that Aziz creeped her out during dinner. So when a creep invited her back to his place after dinner the answer should have been “no thank you”. That isn’t what happened. She went back to his place, engaged in consensual oral sex and went home. If your body language is hinting at “No” then your actual actions should match. It is unfortunate that Grace slut-shamed herself and then tried to blame Mr Asari. Her behavior undermines the #metoo movement. #Metoo is about sexual assault. Not after-the-consensual-fact regret.

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Mariam January 19, 2018 at 11:54 pm

My point is not to argue Grace’s case here. I don’t think an HR blog is really an effective venue for this discussion. I recommend checking out https://jezebel.com/babe-what-are-you-doing-1822114753 for that discussion.

My point here is the EHRL could easily have left out any mention of Grace and still made her point about professional email communications.

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Milennial_perspective January 20, 2018 at 3:01 am

I really disagree that Grace is any sort of victim. I actually think Aziz is the victim of revenge porn and Grace needs therapy to understand how to set and maintain boundaries.

When engaging in sexual activities, or any social activities, you have a responsibility to clearly communicate boundaries. Failing to do so is not anyone elses fault and it’s disengenuous to pretend other people are to blame for crossing imaginary lines in the sand you did not communicate. It’s frankly beyond the pale to go on a public smear campaign against people who crossed boundaries with you that you never communicated.

Finally no one was focusing on Grace saying no until you brought it up. For claiming this is not the forum to have this discussion you started the discussion yo….

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Nacho January 21, 2018 at 9:52 am

If I put a woman’s hand on my dick 5-7 times, and every time, she moved it off, I’d consider that a communicated boundary, and probably stop trying to get her to touch my dick.

If you read the article, she was actually pretty clear she didn’t want to have sex with him, and told him multiple times, including phrases like “no, I don’t think I’m ready to do this, I really don’t think I’m going to do this.” That’s a pretty well communicated line in the sand that Aziz still crossed by trying to undo her pants.

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Milennial_perspective January 21, 2018 at 11:04 pm

I did read the article. You are getting the timeline off though. The encounter starts with Aziz undressing Grace and giving her oral which she does not complain about. He then asks about sex and she responds to slow down. He then goes to couch and asks for oral which she obliges. At this point Grace is already undressed so I do not see how undressing her was boundary crossing. Even In the article she doesn’t mention being upset about that part.

Finally lots of people are harping on about the hand on his penis thing but the encounter was over 2 hours long! That’s an average of 1x per half hour and it’s not clear she moved away instantly each time. She even says that she “froze up” which I interpreted to mean leaving her hand on his penis.

It’s not clear from the article which is very poorly written in a way that let’s people will in their own blanks and come to their own conclusion.

Much like Grace was unclear in her actions and words so is this article. Maybe they are the same person.

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Evil HR Lady January 20, 2018 at 10:38 am

Mariam,

I knew some people would not like that line, but I left it in anyway. Why? Because Grace’s problem and Katie Way’s problem is the exact same one: they don’t know how to just say, “no thanks,” and go on with life.

I also, as Ruby Jackson asks below, wonder if Katie and Grace are the same person.

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Barney Stinson January 20, 2018 at 12:09 am

Mariam wrote: ” you and some of the comments missed the mark when criticizing “Grace” for not saying “no” the way you all think she should have said no.”

I’m not criticizing “Grace” for not saying no. I’m criticizing her for thinking that displaying ‘non-verbal cues’ should have been all she had to do for Ansari to stop, and publicly calling him out on it. In some ways of looking at it, that could be called a reckless disregard for the truth.

People aren’t psychic, and not everyone is sensitive to pick up on varying degrees of nuance in non-verbal communication. Ya gotta be clear.

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Mariam January 20, 2018 at 12:17 am

Again, the point of EHRL’s article is professional communication via email. There’s no need for her to bring in the discussion about Grace.

Also, you are doing a great job showing your lack of education about affirmative consent and coercion. I recommend you read https://theestablishment.co/in-the-midst-of-metoo-what-type-of-man-do-you-want-to-be-328634985fc5.

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Barney Stinson January 21, 2018 at 4:11 am

Just because one of your friends wrote a blog about what she thought should be happening in male/female interations doesn’t make that the ‘book on affirmative consent and coercion.’

And just because you don’t think that Grace’s behavior is worth mentioning here doesn’t make it worth mentioning. I agree with Evil: “Grace’s problem and Katie Way’s problem is the exact same one: they don’t know how to just say, “no thanks,” and go on with life.”

And I’ll save you some time: don’t bother telling me what an awful man I am. I’m a woman.

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Ruby Jackson January 20, 2018 at 12:28 am

Anyone else think by the reaction of Katie Way that Katie is really Grace?

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Evil HR Lady January 20, 2018 at 10:38 am

Yes. I think it’s highly possible.

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