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电邮成为被动攻击型同事的武器

所属教程:职场人生

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2016年03月24日

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  When Ray Tomlinson, the man credited with theinvention of email, died 10 days ago, all sorts ofpeople saw it as an excuse to complain about howhis creation has messed up our office lives. It hasprevented us getting things done, fried our brainsand taught us to go on working even when in bed.

  3月5日,当被誉为“电邮之父”的雷•汤姆林森(RayTomlinson)去世时,各色人等都把这当做一个借口,抱怨他的发明搞砸了我们的办公室生活。它阻止我们完成任务,让我们的大脑崩溃,并促使我们即使躺在床上也要继续工作。

  I have a different accusation to level at email — it has made us all passive aggressive. Ithas encouraged us to sulk, to be falsely polite, sneaky and obstructive. It has stifled debateand made office life more stultifying and aggravating than it has ever been.

  对于电邮,我有不同的指控,它让我们都形成被动攻击型人格。它鼓励我们生闷气、假模假样的礼貌、爱耍花招和作梗。它扼杀了辩论,让办公室生活变得空前单调乏味和令人恼火。

  Last week I sent a longish, careful message to someone who had come up with a proposal Ididn’t agree with. All day I heard nothing, and then when I was at home making supper thatevening, my phone bleeped.

  上周,我向某人发送了一封篇幅较长、措辞谨慎的邮件,此人的一个提议是我不认同的。整整一天我都没有听到任何回音,接着,当我那天晚上在家做晚饭时,我的手机响了。

  The reply consisted of one word: Noted. This was the perfect passive aggressive response.It was just about polite enough for me to have no legitimate grounds for complaint. It shutdown the discussion, and left me with only one sensible course of action — to pour myself alarge glass of wine and seethe.

  回复邮件只有一个词:知道了。这是一种完美的被动攻击型回复。它勉强足够礼貌,让我没有任何正当理由去抱怨。它终结了讨论,使我只有一条理智行动的出路:为自己倒一大杯红酒,让自己强压住怒火。

  Email alone didn’t make the office passive aggressive — we were going that way anyway. Itall started a couple of decades ago, when the four great forces of modern office life — politicalcorrectness, HR, PR and litigiousness — ruled that it was no longer acceptable to lose yourrag. As working life remained at least as enraging as it always was, all anger, resentment andhostility were pushed underground, re-emerging in the even nastier form of passiveaggression.

  电邮本身不会让办公室变得被动攻击——我们本来就在朝那个方向发展。它开始于20年前,当时现代办公室生活的四大力量(政治正确、人力资源、公关和动辄诉讼)意味着,发脾气是不可接受的。由于职场生活至少像以往那样令人恼火,因此所有的愤怒、憎恨和敌意都转到了表面下,以更恶毒的被动攻击形式重新浮现。

  At around the same time, we were introduced to email. At first, we saw it as a way of ventingthe rage that we could no longer show in person, and sent each other furious rants in blockcapitals. After a bit, people realised there was a problem with this. Anger doesn’t usually lastbut an angry email lasts forever. Now anyone who shows even the slightest ill humour in anemail is deemed to have done something far less socially acceptable than breaking wind inpublic. They are likely to be punished by having their rage exposed and shared by everyonewith an internet connection.

  大约是在同时,电邮进入我们的生活。起初,我们把它视为发泄无法当面表达的内心愤怒的一种方式,用大写字母互相发送愤怒的咆哮语句。过了一段时间,人们发现这么做是有问题的。愤怒通常不会持续很久,但愤怒的电邮会永远存在。现在,如果有人在电邮中流露出哪怕一点点的坏脾气,就会被认为做了一件大逆不道的事情,其被社会认可的程度远低于在公共场合放屁。暴露自己的愤怒并通过互联网分享给所有人的人,很可能会吃亏。

  While email is ill-suited to overt rage, it is perfect for communicating hostility passively,without getting caught. The first trick is silence. This is the easiest, most deniable and mosteffective passive aggressive ploy there is. All unwelcome emails can be simply ignored.Someone wants you to do something? Don’t reply. An email that is hard to write? Don’t write it.

  尽管电邮不适合表达明显的愤怒,但它是被动表明敌意、而且不会被抓住把柄的绝佳方式。第一个诀窍是沉默。这是最容易、最可否认且最有效的被动攻击手段。所有不受欢迎的电邮都可以索性被忽略。有人想让你做点事?不要回复。邮件很难写?干脆别写了。

  The upshot of so much silence is devastating. Far from speeding work up, it slows it down. Itmeans that the most comforting axiom for office workers — “no news is good news” — doesnot apply any more. Now no news could be very bad news indeed. Maybe you are about to befired. Or maybe the person is just busy. You will never know, so you will always worry.

  这么多沉默的结果是毁灭性的。它不会提高工作速度,反而会阻碍工作。它意味着,最让办公室员工安心的格言(没有消息就是好消息)已不再适用。如今,没有消息实际上可能是非常糟糕的消息。或许你即将被炒鱿鱼。又或许对方只是很忙。你永远无法知道,因此你会一直担心。

  Failing silence, the next best passive aggressive trick is extreme brevity, of the sort I wassubjected to last week. Noted. OK. Fine. Thanks. Again the hostility can always be denied.Maybe the person genuinely thought your message fine. Or maybe they hate you. Not knowingis not pleasant.

  如果做不到沉默,退而求其次的被动攻击诀窍是极度简洁,就像我上周遇到的那种。知道了。OK。好的。谢谢。同样,这种敌意总能被抵赖。或许这个人真的认为你的邮件不错。又或者对方恨你。不了解实情的感觉令人不爽。

  Copying bosses into emails is a gift for passive aggressive workers everywhere. In the olddays you had to go out of your way to grass someone up, but now all it takes is two innocuouslittle letters: cc.

  把老板抄送到邮件里是被动攻击型员工获得的一份礼物。过去,你必须费尽心机才能出卖某个人,如今,你需要的只是两个无关痛痒的小字母:cc。

  Passive aggressive email is also perfect for passing the buck. It is no longer acceptable tosay “do so and so” to a colleague — as we all have to pretend everyone is equal — whichmeans power is exerted passively by ending emails with “thanks in advance” or “I’ll leave itwith you”.

  被动攻击型电邮还是踢皮球的绝佳方法。跟一位同事说“这么做,再这样做”不再可接受,因为我们都不得不假装大家都是平等的,这意味着,通过在电邮结尾写上“先说声谢谢”或“那就麻烦你了”,权力就被动施展出来了。

  Even more annoying are emails that end, “Happy to discuss”. This almost certainly means: “there is no point in discussing as the decision has been taken”. Worse, is “Let me know if thatmakes sense”, which might be straight or might mean “You’re an idiot. I have no interest inwhat you think.”

  更令人烦恼的是电邮结尾写着“乐意讨论”。它的意思几乎肯定是:“已经做出了决定,讨论毫无意义”。更糟糕的是,“如果这听上去有道理的话,请告诉我”,这可能是大白话,也可能意味着“你是个白痴。我对你的想法没兴趣。”

  Although all passive aggressive messages are by nature deniable, a good trick for spottingthem is when they come with unnecessary politeness. The more someone admits to being “alittle surprised” the more incandescent they probably are. When a sender who usually signs offwith the uncharming “rgds”, types out “with my very best regards”, you are almost certainly introuble.

  尽管所有被动攻击型邮件顾名思义都可被抵赖,但辨识它们的一个很好的方法是它们往往带着不必要的客套。人们越承认“有一点意外”,他们的情绪就越可能激烈。如果某个发件人通常会在结尾处写上毫无吸引力的“祝好”,今天却写出了“致以我最美好的祝愿”,那么几乎可以肯定的是你有麻烦。

  Sometimes it is possible to respond to passive aggression in kind. I have recently beenignoring a request to do something, which prompted first “a gentle reminder” and then thegloriously passive aggressive question: “Is your internet down?”.

  有时,我们可以用同样的方式来回应被动攻击。我最近没有理会一个让我做些什么的要求,这先是招致了“一个友情提醒”,接着招致了一个典型的被动攻击型问题:“你的网断了吗?”

  In case the sender is reading my column, let me assure her that it’s not down. I just don’twant to reply. Fortunately, in newspaper columns you can still say what you think. In email it isno longer possible.

  如果这位发送人在阅读我的专栏,我向她保证我的网络没有断。我只是不想回复。幸运的是,在报纸专栏,你仍可以说你所想。在电邮中,就不可能再这样了。


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