CC: The Office Politics of Armageddon

There can be few initials guaranteed to provoke more office division that CC.  Carbon Copy, or Courtesy Copy as it is increasingly known by a generation who have never seen a manual typewriter and a bottle of Snopake Correction Fluid, much less an actual, finger-grubbying sheet of carbon paper, is the function within an email message of copying in additional people beyond the principal recipient.  Used correctly, it is a useful communications tool to keep colleagues ‘in the loop’.  Used politically, it is a Machiavellian weapon for ambition and deceit.  CC walks a tightrope between good and evil.  It is a fine line between the school do-gooder and the playground snitch.

In the wrong hands, CC is used as a tool for self-promotion; for blame-shifting; and for points-scoring, amidst a host of other hyphenated reprehensible actions.  It can be used to bully; and it can be used purely with the intention to CYA.  Like a race towards nuclear Armageddon, the use of CC quickly escalates.  The natural retaliation to CC is Reply All, however Reply All only serves to provoke the crisis.  We are now at DEFCON 1.  This is how the world ends.  Not in the CC of Climate Change, but in the simple CC of Carbon Copy.

I have a solution.

I am frequently sent emails in which others are CC’d; emails which are purely meant for me and yet others are still CC’d.  Treat these ‘others’ as you would digital interlopers; internet voyeurs; virtual Peeping Toms.

Press Reply, not Reply All; cut off the oxygen of their eavesdropping at source.  Face your CCer squarely, one-to-one.  The bully is reduced without their followers; the arse-coverer flagrantly exposed.

© Simon Turner-Tree


Simon Turner-Tree prepares for the CC Armageddon.

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