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A funny thing in corporate America is the mystical Outlook Inbox.

I get the heebie jeebies when I have more than 10 e-mails in my inbox; because in my world this means things have either not been addressed or require follow-up.

I see some inboxes in the corporate world with over 1,000 e-mails in them. 1,000!!!!!! It makes my skin crawl just to see it and makes me very uncomfortable. And apparently this is a common dilemma around the office.

So today, May 2nd, is e-mail clean-up day. What is this? It is very simple, actually. New company policy states that any e-mails over three months old that are not filed properly in managed folders (the little guys to the side that are your safe haven) will promptly be deleted. And each day, your inbox (and sent mail, for that matter – because apparently people allow thousands and thousands of messages reside there) will be company cleaned, so you only have the last three months’ worth of messages.

So how does a company prepare their employees for this?

1. A training course (sent to our e-mails) of how to use managed folders and what e-mails you should and should not retain
2. A handout explaining the importance of taking said class; and offering a link to an online how-to tutorial
3. A second e-mail sent to us with the training course
4. A reminder e-mail that, “hey – this is happening and it is no joke”
5. Posters on easels all around the building explaining that, on May 2nd, e-mail clean-up will take place, regardless of if you read the messages sent to you or took the training course. This is for reals happening to you so be ready. You had plenty of warning time.

So this morning as I walked into the office, I see a man staring at one of the posters explaining that today, May 2nd is e-mail clean-up day – and he is looking at it like a child pretending to not understand their parents saying “no” to them. Confused. Bewildered. Uninformed.

Even with an onslaught of preparation, people still have no idea this is happening. It really makes me stop and think how my generation, lazy and sloppy as we are, understand how e-mail works and how we absorb messages that are sent to us because we are striving like no other to get ahead in business. And how us working Generation Y girls are seriously prepared for what business has to throw at us and that we will definitely one day take all of the men’s positions in this workforce (because, where I work…it is already happening; and I daily watch more and more women take over projects from these guys).

And why is this? Because we know how to read an e-mail.

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