The other day I was going through my e-mails, hoping something in my inbox would inspire me for the first topic of this blog.
I start clearing the day’s junk. … shift+delete, shift+delete, save that, shift+end+delete
AAH! CANCEL! ESC! [Expletives.]
I was going too fast, mistakenly hit the end key and then hit the delete key. In a flash, everything in my inbox below my first e-mail was selected and permanently deleted.
It was gone. All gone. I grabbed the phone and dialed our tech help desk, praying that they had some magical way to recover files from permanent deletion.
Their answer: "Sorry, you're s.o.l."
I like using shift and delete so I don’t have to delete it again from my deleted items folder in Outlook. I thought I was saving time, and now I lost time. Months of work, gone. Conversations, lost forever. And I bet there will be people I never talk to again because I don’t have their e-mails sent from long ago.
As the vomit feeling swept over me, I realized how heavily I depend on e-mail as storage for all things important. I’m an e-mail pack rat, saving everything and using it as my filing cabinet. I have so much faith in my e-mail that I’ll e-mail myself files as a backup incase something happens to my hard drive.
On one hand it’s a bad habit, and on the other it’s just further proof of how much we rely on e-mail to function. I know how important it is to back up my hard drive, but I never considered needing to back up my e-mails. Most major employers will backup company e-mails, but going back to the tapes to recover one person's inbox isn't typically worth the IT department's time.
Cyberspace doesn’t crash. But people who are tired from staying up too late watching Lost make stupid mistakes and can delete everything. Meaning I’ve now learned that I don’t just backup to save myself from crashes, I have to backup to save me from myself.