We have a pretty cool little system at work that sends us an email whenever we receive a voice mail. This means that the email then shows up on our Blackberry. It is very helpful when we're traveling or we decide to cut out of the office at 2pm on a Friday.
Suddenly, this little system started sending me emails telling me that I had voice mail when I didn't actually have voice mail. Strange. What was up with this little system? Why would it make me rush back to the office from the bar only to discover that I don't actually have voice mail? I immediately called the tech guys that are in charge of the system and ordered them to get to the bottom of it.
Soon, I began to get random emails from people I didn't know. They addressed me as John and began to congratulate me on my new job. I headed to the company's online directory and discovered that we had hired a new employee named John Ford. I immediately understood what was going on.
At my company (now also, John Ford's company) the email convention is to use the first initial of the employee's first name and the employee's full last name followed by the infamous @, the company name and .com. For example, my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Obviously, everyone - including the guys who set up the email/voice mail system - assumed that John's email address was email@example.com. It obviously was not his email address. Therefore, I ended up learning about all of his voice mails. Plus, he had some industrious friends who decided to guess his email to send him congratulations. They guessed wrong. They sent their emails to me. Fortunately, the tech guys fixed the voice mail thing and I was able to remedy the erroneous friends with a couple quick emails of my own.
It looks like my hardships are now over and I'll be back to taking extra long lunches again tomorrow.