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We’ve ALL received that email from the boss.

The one that if we responded the way we truly wanted, we’d most likely leave the office at the end of the day with our belongings in a cardboard box.

Because it seems like over the past year-and-a-half, our bosses have been demanding more and giving us less!

And—as if the pandemic wasn’t enough—I think we’re all damn near sick of their demands too.

The people in power reap the benefits of our 60-hour work weeks, and we, the ones doing all the grunt work, feel more anxious than ever. They peddle passive aggressiveness like it’s fine art, and the one time we stand up for ourselves and demand better treatment, we have insubordination circled in red in our employee files.

Well, The Prompt’s Fictional HR Department is here to help!

Disclaimer: This should in no way, shape, or form be construed as actual advice from an actual HR department. We have no employees. We’re all just disembodied writers with a penchant for cereal mascot sex, damning the man, and compiling incomplete and growing lists. Don’t take this advice. It comes from a subversively humorous online literary compendium. Not one of us is a licensed professional, nor do we play one on TV.

We’re simply responding to Sharon’s passive aggressive email so you don’t have to… and so you can keep your job.

Unless of course you really do want to get fired… then feel free to take notes.

The Email: Annotated in Italics, for Your Pleasure

Hi there!

An exclamation point. Tread carefully. 

Good morning!

I don’t buy it. You literally didn’t even know my name the last time we were at the coffee machine at the same time. In fact, I think you’re about to completely ruin my morning

Hope you are doing well!

Really, Sharon. Are any of us doing WELL these days? 

Suffering through a third wave of a pandemic while you constantly send out corporate jargon internal comms regarding the importance of “getting back to the office” for the sake of “productivity, collaboration, and creative idea sharing!”

Circling back on our ongoing conversation about building the team. My last update from you was last week.

Oh, here we go. “Circling back.”

You demanded I respond to you immediately, which I did, and make this “a priority,” which I did. And provided you daily updates, which I did. But this is the first time I’m hearing from YOU in at least two weeks.

I “hopped right on it,” but you can’t even take the time to acknowledge my existence until now?!


But go on, try to somehow make it seem like I wasn’t doing MY job. 

Thanks for your email!

Which I’m pretty sure you didn’t even read. But go on…

I’m sorry for the delay in responding. I was out of the office and AFK – away from keyboard – 😉 – for some time, taking advantage of some well-earned PTO. I hope you’ve been able to take some time to recharge and relax, as well.

Ah, what a privilege! Escaping to your East Hamptons mansion for some “away time” with Preston and Cooper and Hunter and Grayson and Champ and Junior. 

Remember the time you insisted I run a salary report while I WAS AT MY GRANDMOTHER’S FUNERAL and then you sent the email to the entire company about the importance of work/life balance?

Or when we proposed eliminating “black out periods” for PTO use, and you made a speech about how PTO is a “privilege” and how “the machine can’t work with all its cogs, even the smaller ones” and it just wouldn’t be possible for “everyone to just jet away at a moment’s notice” during “our busiest times” because “what would our clients think?”

And then immediately after, you hopped on a jet to Mexico because you “just needed to get away from all the noise!” And, interestingly enough, there was no signal in Mexico, so we got to deal with all your clients who were angry that you were unreachable. 

Per my last email…

Bitch, I can read. 

I expected an update upon my return.

Bitch, can YOU read?! Scroll the fuck down.

I know we’ve been expecting more from everybody with fewer resources, but I really did expect you to step up!

Never trust exclamation points from Sharon. You THINK she’s being nice, but she is just setting you up to only knock you off of your pedestal.

Fewer resources? 

That’s rich coming from someone who gets paid six figures and just received a promotion, raise, AND bonus—but fought tooth and nail against a proposed cost of living increase for the rest of the organization.

“It just wouldn’t be fiscally responsible with the current uncertainty in the market for us to start throwing money at people.”

We really appreciate your ongoing contribution to the company, and would ask for your continued commitment to the goals of the organization.

“If anyone is dissatisfied with their compensation, then perhaps it’s time they polish their résumé. The job market is so hot right now, they should have no problem finding a role more suited to their skills and desired pay.” 

Specifically, we need your efforts to support the incredibly urgent need to fill vacancies in my department.

So urgent, the last candidate I sent your way didn’t hear from you for two weeks, you forgot about the Zoom interview, made them reschedule the interview in the middle of their kid’s weekend birthday party, and then you gave them the next weekend to complete a four hour presentation for leadership.” 

And then you refused to meet them at their asking price because you “didn’t think they showed enough passion or desire to work for the company throughout the interview process.”

And then acted shocked and made sure you let me know “how disappointed you were in my process” (while CCing the President) that we couldn’t “seal the deal on one of the most qualified candidates you’ve met in recent history.”

But go on, Sharon, keep talking to me about your urgent needs. 

You urgently need to calm the eff down. 

I’m not sure of your bandwidth, but, if you could find some time to meet to discuss the recruitment process, I’d like to make some suggestions for process improvement – as I’m not sure the communication has been as clear as we need it to be for success. My calendar is up to date.

In other words, you need me to work around YOUR schedule so you can tell me how to do my job…

…even though we met at the beginning of this whole thing and you outlined the process step by step.

But Sharon, if there’s one thing you’re good at—besides always LOOKING busy—it’s your selective memory, your exceptional passive aggressiveness, and swinging your dick around to get what you want. 

Hey Sharon, if I don’t hire anyone, what’s next? Public shaming and embarrassment at the next All Hands Town Hall? Or burning me in effigy during the “Return to Office” kick-off extravaganza I’m forced to plan, despite the fact that no one wants to attend because we’d much rather be working from home?

I’ve CCed a number of people on the email so they are in the loop.

Because you just love undermining me every chance you get under the guise of being professional and keeping “open lines of communication.”

Like the time you praised me openly in a one-on-one phone call and said, “I appreciate all your hard work and everything you’ve been doing.” 

And then, at a public meeting, proceeded to question every decision I made. 

Keeping everyone in the loop, my ass. 

How much do they pay you to be a completely insufferable human?

I’m looking forward to our future collaboration and thank you in advance for your expected cooperation.


I hold you in overwhelming disdain and only work with you because I have to. And when I say “collaboration,” I mean I expect you to do as I tell you. If you attempt to provide ME feedback on what I can do better, I will summarily ignore it. 

Additionally, if you don’t do what I expect of you, your days here are numbered. You are here to make my life easier, but I can make your life a living hell. 

The Response: Simplified & Translated for Your Self-Preservation

Dear Sharon,

Great. Thanks. Will do.

Dear Sharon,

Thanks for your email.

Fuck off. 

<3 <3 <3

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