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Here is my issue. I'm on an email chain with a few higher ups. Yes, I understand I'm the grunt that does all the real work while the leader, "look at the bigger picture." But while they're busy staring off into the horizon, I have print deadlines.

So my senior team member asks a question in the email chain, I answer and ask her another question having to do with the print deadline (basically asking her to confirm if she still wants to print).

Then the other senior team member answered the first senior team member. But they both ignored me! And now my email with an important deadline question has been lost. But of course if this doesn't go to print they're going to blame me!

How can I get them to answer me?

If you say, "Go to print without approval" - it's not that easy. We have a small budget so if I go rogue I'm going to get blamed for spending money. I know I can email again, call, and hunt them down so I get my answer, but I'm hoping for a better answer than, "it's just life" or take 20 steps because I'm a lower level employee and their time is more important.

closed as off-topic by sf02, The Wandering Dev Manager, bruglesco, OldPadawan, gnat Mar 14 at 7:51

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    We can't read their minds. – sf02 Mar 13 at 17:16
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    Hi Jake, welcome to The Workplace! I rolled back your most recent edit, as we try to avoid replies and conversation in posts. I'm glad we could be of help! I encourage you to wait a while to see what other responses come in and how the votes play out (I usually recommend 24 hours), and then you can mark an answer as correct to indicate it was helpful for you. You can also upvote any answer you found helpful. I encourage you to stick around and take a look at our tour and help center and get a feel for what we're about here. Good luck! – David K Mar 13 at 17:37
  • Sometimes, when possible, is better to get the answers we need in person. Use the email only to register that the conversation really took place and that decisions were made there. Just in case. – dvc.junior Mar 13 at 18:23
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You are experiencing a common problem with email chains: sometimes key issues/questions get lost.

I have a co-worker who will respond to almost any email they are CC'd. That means that the person who was supposed to answer the question, and is in fact the only one with the answer, may not realize when they see 10 response that they were the one who was supposed to answer.

When you changed the subject within the chain your question was lost.

Start a new email.

Or better yet call that person and ask your question, then followup with an email that restates your discussion and provides a status update to all interested parties.

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You asked a secondary question that the person following up on did not know, or likely care about. It's a tangent that the people reading the chain simply are not that interested in. Who you are is likely secondary to the topic. I'd suggest emailing or going to the person directly that you want to answer that question.

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So my senior team member asks a question in the email chain, I answer and ask her another question having to do with the print deadline.

Then the other senior team member answered the first senior team member. But they both ignored me! And now my email with an important deadline question has been lost. But of course if this doesn't go to print they're going to blame me!

How can I get them to answer me?

Don't ask an important question as an unrelated aside to a chain email. It often will (and in this case did) get lost in the shuffle.

Instead, talk to them in person, call and ask, or send a separate email only to the individuals who need to confirm your request.

And for future reference, talk with them to determine the proper channel to get approval to print.

I know I can email again, call, and hunt them down so I get my answer, but I'm hoping for a better answer than, "it's just life" or take 20 steps because I'm a lower level employee and their time is more important.

You need to get over this whole "I'm a lower level employee", "I'm the grunt", "they're busy staring off into the horizon", "their time is more important" thing. That attitude will not serve you well in the long run.

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So my senior team member asks a question in the email chain, I answer and ask her another question having to do with the print deadline

This is the issue.

You are writing and asking your secondary question on an email that already has a subject and intention.

If you want to ask someone directly what you should do with your print deadline it would be much better and effective to send an email dedicated to that matter to the person you want to ask to.

Something even more effective is to grab the phone or visit such person to their desk.


On another note, just throwing an unrelated question to an email thread with some superiors and then replying back in such unprofessional way (CAPS LOCK, threats of not moving forward, etc.) is something I suggest you refrain from doing anymore.

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How can I get them to answer me?

Email is often not the best communication tool. They may be inundated with emails from clients or from other people higher up the management ladder. How do you get them to answer you? Call them on the phone. Hit them up in whatever chat app you use. Walk over to their office or cubicle. This isn't difficult stuff. It's not rocket science and there's no mystery or magic.

If I don't get a response using one communication method then I use another communication method.

The answer itself may be their responsibility but getting the answer is yours.

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