Who Owns that Email? - Not You
Participation in a professional society can bring many rewards: a more diverse professional network, educational opportunities, and leadership roles to name a few. Email communication is a vital part of most participation. But who owns those emails? Based on my limited experience, I would estimate that it’s not the authors.
A great majority of the professional association related emails I have seen are from addresses such as firstname.lastname@example.org. In all likeliness email sent from a corporate server belongs to the corporation, not the sender (take a look at your company IT policies). This goes along with the contact list in the electronic address book and the accompanying calendar.
The convenience of using work email for professional association correspondence should be weighed against the risk that you could lose access to it forever. You might not have any plans on changing jobs or your employer might have no concerns with using corporate email, but life has a way of giving us unexpected turns. Simple things, like a spouse's relocation, a family emergency, a company buy-out, or a great new opportunity can change your relationship with an employer and you might never have the chance to get that PST file (assuming Outlook is the company program of choice).
Look into shifting non-work communications to one of the many free options available. It’s a great way to minimize the risk of disruption. I’ve seen colleagues' work disrupted by a loss of access to company email servers. If you want to avoid that, take a few simple steps to protect your resources.
Validation is a great feeling. On Aug. 17, Inc. magazine published this article that reinforced what we said in this column back in our Oct. 2015 newsletter. Basically, we bucked many current trends that cast younger generations as somehow significantly different and advocated that we treat people as individuals. Inc. magazine breaks down many of the myths spread in pop-culture and, by inference, reinforces our suggestions.
Here's to meeting up at the SEAoO Annual Conference!