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Smiley Face Emoji: a Working Woman's Dilemma

When I email people, which feels to be about 5,000 times a day, some say I come off as short, harsh and grumpy. Aww, hell, let's just call a spade a spade. What I consider simple, straightforward and politely direct conversation, some wrongly misinterpret me being, well, a bitch.

But to be honest, I don't have the time to soften the edges, make the world pretty at every juncture and ask for a high-resolution image with a long-winded request for the thing I need in the next 30 minutes. So I add a smiley face to make sure they know that every short, direct, grumpy email I send is always sent with love.

Or at least a dose of "Like."

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I've gone from being perceived as a bitch with, "Need high-res image by 8," to being the sweet girl next door with a few smiley faces (i.e., "Do you have a high-res images available ASAP? ;-) :-)")

Adding an emoji smiley face is my way of saying, "Hey guys, this is that cool chick from that magazine who doesn't have time for bullshit, getting-to-know-you-emails. But that doesn't make me mean, just short on time. OK? Now. can you send me an image, pretty please? :-) :-) :-)"

Have career women gotten to the point that they need to perpetuate the myth of being the nice girl in order to still get what they want, in fact, what they need?

But this infusing of the happy face is getting out of control. I find myself adding exclamation points and smiley faces when I really shouldn't.

"Hi there! Just following up on an email I sent a month ago that you never responded to. Can you just let me know if you like the idea or not? :-) Feel free to provide the courtesy of a quick YES or NO. I'm trying to make some money here. I've got children to feed. :-) Happy Face!!!"

But I find myself also wondering why all of this sugar-coating is needed in the first place. Am I being fake by adding emoticons to just about everything I write? Am I too afraid of being disliked to be straight up and honest—and direct—the thing I'm best at? Have career women gotten to the point that they need to perpetuate the myth of being the nice girl in order to still get what they want, in fact, what they need? Must we be sweet to succeed?

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I've tried it both ways, and I can tell you this: To navigate in this world of indirect communication, in an email world where tone is inferred and relationships dangling in cyberspace like a participle (remind me what that is again?), sometimes the difference between a work and no work is the way you come across.

Yes, people want to work with the people they like, and so, for that, I say be nice. Or at least act like you are. :-)))))).

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