Reality has dawned. You’ve just said goodbye to four days of chills, good fun and freedom to fly the middle finger at every work-related email that dropped in your inbox over that period.

You’re sitting at your desk this morning experiencing post-holiday blues, trawling through your stack of emails and wishing God to take your life right now. It’s a battle that we totally understand, worse because half of those emails seem like they were crafted to frustrate you and steal your joy.

However they make you feel, you have to answer those emails as early as possible and professionally too. It’s not out of place to assert that answering emails requires a special skill and when they’re the emotional, angry types, then you need to take that skill to another level.

Here’s a simple How To to help you get through this phase without getting yourself fired or in an avoidable workplace conflict: 

  1. Don’t take it personal: It’s the first step to dealing with what stares you in the face. Whoever sent the email – client, colleague or boss – did not necessarily set out to annoy you. So you need to begin by removing yourself and your sentiments from the situation. Think of it like this: maybe they were having a bad day too, maybe they were confused about some work you did and simply need clarification, or they’re just the type who never know how to not annoy anyone. Whatever it is, it has nothing to do with you so don’t make it about you. When you detach yourself, you can set the distractions aside and respond professionally.
  2. Read and reread: So do you ever find yourself in a situation where an email sets off fireworks in you at first sight then when you finally settle to read through it, it’s not as bad as you first assumed? Yes, this is most likely how you will react to the emails in your inbox this morning. The way to deal is to take a deep breath, read through, get off your desk, have a quick chat with a colleague or anything else that helps you cool off, return to read the email again then carefully type your response.
  3. Ask a colleague for help: There’s a very big chance you’re too jaded to get the point and all you’re seeing is an attack. So ask the person on your left or right to help you read through and interpret the message in their own perspective. Now this is only possible if it’s not a confidential email.
  4. Keep your response short: So let’s assume the email actually does succeed at pissing you off. You’ll be starting a war if you respond in the same tone with which it was sent. To avoid all of that, you should keep your response precise and straightforward. Don’t attend to every sentence in it but direct your response to the main subject being discussed. While you’re at it though, ensure the other person doesn’t read your tone as pointed and acerbic.