I read an interesting article in the online edition of The Wall Street Journal today, which reminded me of many, many similar emails I’ve received over the years. If you don’t want to read the whole article, here is the gist of it:

Jill Campen was baffled recently when her boss Marty Finkle fired back a one-word reply to her carefully thought-out email asking for his approval on a client-training presentation she had prepared: “Done!” Ms. Campen, a consultant at Scotwork North America in Parsippany, N.J., puzzled over the message for a half-hour, then decided she was too upset to resolve the matter by email. She called Mr. Finkle and asked, “What is going on with you? ‘Done?’ What does that mean?”

I suppose it depends on how well you know your boss, but I wouldn’t have any issue with this to be honest. The boss read it then indicated he understood her email, which is surely the point? I imagine his email inbox is pretty full, so he probably responds to as many as he can as simply as he can in order to get through them. More importantly I would say that having a boss understands something instantly, as well as trusting that you can manage yourself, is probably the best sort to have. If she really needed an opinion, surely she would have asked him to provide one?

Oh and calling the boss up to ask “What’s going on with you?”, is probably not a great career move!