I Second That Emotion

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Deb Kloeppel
By Deb Kloeppel, Founder and CEO MSCCN-CASY


Let’s face it, most of us write “like we talk” and many more of us, beyond that, can’t put a proper sentence together if our lives depended on it.

Email has a wicked side to its ability to communicate lightning-quick thoughts, emotions, and directives to everyone and anyone listed within our e-address book – and therein lies the biggest problem of all when writing emails that actually do more harm than good: emotional emails!

Emotional emails can kill friendships, business opportunities, and all chances to move forward in whatever setting the emotional email plows through.  Allow me to give you an example of an emotional email I received from an applicant, wanting a job on my team. Keep in mind, the letter is verbatim to prove my point:

Dear Mrs. Kloeppel, I have heard through the grapevine that you are a really tough boss and that’s alright with me! You see, I want to work for you and your mission and I’m willing to pour my heart and soul into your organization. Recently, I interviewed with your Executive Director and Gateway Manager and was told that my chances for a job on MSCCN were excellent. They informed that MSCCN is a 24/7 high temp operations  and that you push your team to get many tasks done simultaneously in order to propel your vision forward. I believe I would become a wonderful asset to MSCCN and hope that you and I can come to agreeable terms regarding billable hours upon deliverables.


Jane Doe

I’d like a show of virtual hands here if you think I should hire an applicant who sent the above email.

Do you think I hired her?

No, I did not.

My reason for not hiring her will surprise you. Everything in Jane Doe’s email (letter) was perfectly fine to send to a potential employer. Yes, the letter is a bit risky. However, I value boldly honest people who call it as they see it!

This particular applicant knew my reputation for seeking  brutally honest  people to work our MSCCN mission.  I respected Jane Doe for the above letter.

I was absolutely going to hire her until I reached the sentence that stated: I would “become” a wonderful asset to MSCCN and hope that you and I could come to reasonable terms.

As the Founder and CEO of the only military nonprofit employment program in the nation, I don’t want to hire people who “hope they will become” an asset to my organization. I want them to KNOW they’re already an asset to any organization they apply to. The phrase could come to” is a major sign of passive aggressive tendencies. I need confident professionals on the MSCCN team who do not need constant validation and daily approval.

When Jane Doe used the below emotional terms, her insecurities and passive aggressive tone came through loud and clear.

–          “would become”

–          “hope to ”

–          “could come to”

These negative terms are red flags when addressing hiring managers and recruiters.

A list of emotional words never to use within a business email setting and/or interview:

Difficult/Unpleasant Feelings
irritated lousy upset incapable
enraged disappointed doubtful alone
hostile discouraged uncertain paralyzed
insulting ashamed indecisive fatigued
sore powerless perplexed useless
annoyed diminished embarrassed inferior
upset guilty hesitant vulnerable
hateful dissatisfied shy empty
unpleasant miserable stupefied forced
offensive detestable disillusioned hesitant
bitter repugnant unbelieving despair
aggressive despicable skeptical frustrated
resentful disgusting distrustful distressed
inflamed abominable misgiving woeful
provoked terrible lost pathetic
incensed in despair unsure tragic
infuriated sulky uneasy in a stew
cross bad pessimistic dominated
worked up a sense of loss tense
insensitive fearful crushed tearful
dull terrified tormented sorrowful
nonchalant suspicious deprived pained
neutral anxious pained grief
reserved alarmed tortured anguish
weary panic dejected desolate
bored nervous rejected desperate
preoccupied scared injured pessimistic
cold worried offended unhappy
disinterested frightened afflicted lonely
lifeless timid aching grieved
shaky victimized mournful
restless heartbroken dismayed
doubtful agonized
threatened appalled
cowardly humiliated
quaking wronged
menaced alienated


The below email would have hired Jane Doe on MSCCN: please compare every word with her original letter to me:

Dear Ms. Kloeppel, It’s a pleasure to virtually meet you. After my interview with your Executive Director and Gateway Manager, I am convinced that my skill sets match perfectly to the open job position within your organization. Your reputation as a boss, who works 24/7 inside of a mission that has earned a trusted reputation for eight years, is a bit daunting – yet exciting!

I’ll deliver all tasks before me with great gusto and detail within a reasonable time frame. I look forward to speaking with you in the near future, should your time permit.


Jane Doe

When writing emails, brief and concise wording are your best friends. There are people who write diatribes inside of their emails spewing emotions and venom … and it’s exhausting. Be polite to your readers and remain joyful – even if you’re feeling lousy. The secret to read-me-emails  is simple: remain the person people want to hear from – often.

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