Ah, the ancient art of the work clap back. The professional putdown. The office offense. Is there anything so satisfying as pressing "send" on an email politely reminding the recipient to please refer to your last message, wherein you discussed their question in detail? Within the confines of an office, it's sometimes the best entertainment a gal can find — and I'm not the only one to think so. Recently, people began listing their favorite career comebacks on Twitter, and they are a salty inspiration to us all.
Last week, D.C.-based writer and marketing consultant Danielle René (known on Twitter as @DeeRene_) tweeted her preferred method of putting someone down without ending up on the human resources naughty list: the simple phrase "per my last email." Honestly, it's kind of genius — a succinct reminder that this conversational ground has already been covered, a fact the reader would know if they had been paying attention. Ahem.
She added a few other examples. Is someone giving you the professional runaround? List events from your point of view and ask the recipient to "please advise." Are you being pressured to take on extra duties? Remind them that this is "outside my scope of work." René's suggestions are sheer, glorious brilliance.
When she asked her fellow Twitter users to share their own examples, they answered the call.
As it turns out, there are plenty of comebacks out there waiting to be deployed. Taken together, the tweets are a master class in standing up for yourself (in an HR-approved manner) in the workplace.
Some people even use their signature as a barometer of crankiness, which will make you paranoid about every "warm regards" you receive for the rest of your career.
Some clap backs are just a few words, while others take some preparation.
That being said, there's always room for a meme or two.
One user commented that while she enjoyed the thread, it was indicative of the different expectations for men and women in the workplace. Men can be straightforward without repercussions, but women are expected to downplay their criticisms. Research suggests that this is true; studies have shown that women who come across as dominant or self-promoting are penalized at work.
It's a fair point, but that doesn't negate the thread's appeal. René told Refinery29 that her tweets were inspired by a friend's experience at work. She didn't expect the thread to go viral, but clearly, it struck a chord. The lure of the professional clap back, it seems, is universal.
While "snarky email writer" is a great Twitter bio, it's probably not the best reputation to have around the office, so you may want to use your professional comebacks sparingly. When you do break one out, the moment will be even more cathartic for being unexpected.