I don’t get angry very much. I’m usually pretty upbeat and when I hit something weird, scary, or uncool, I get stoic rather than upset. Yesterday a set of emails within IBM led me to get upset and I let the person know I was upset.

The unfortunate and somewhat funny thing (in hindsight) is that I had actually misinterpreted the person’s statements and intent so I actually got upset about something they didn’t really say.

The good news is that we worked it out, laughed about it, and I apologized for losing my cool. We reflected that the root cause was simply that email remains a crappy communications mechanism for anything but simple conversations, especially when you don’t know the people with whom you’re emailing very well.

This led me to make a personal resolution to myself: I won’t ever again react in anger to something I read in email (or a bug report or any other form of quickly composed written media). If I read something that makes me upset I will give the other person the benefit of the doubt and get on the phone or if possible walk over to their desk.

Then maybe I will find something to really get angry about 🙂

But then again, maybe I’ll find it was just a misunderstanding.