“You want to know the truth? No one likes supermen, or superwomen. They just make the rest of us feel inadequate”


e got a whole bunch of e-mails, and I have no idea what they’re referring to, something about jewelry.” Linda sounded baffled, and maybe a little annoyed.

“What?” I said, scrunching my face.

“No clue.” Linda shrugged.

I leaned over to see her screen, and my stomach dropped. They were all responding to the jewelry recommendation e-mail I had sent last night — to the wrong mailing list apparently. How did this happen?

“I’ll take care of this,” I told Linda.

I felt my face flush, did she notice? How beyond unprofessional of me. Oh, Shifra, how did you let this happen? My mind whipped to Ari, but I distinctly remembered pressing the send button myself — this was on me.

I made myself a coffee, and settled behind my desk to survey the damage. My inbox had many e-mails; I clicked on the first one.

Hi Shifra, I think your e-mail account may have been hacked by some jewelry spam something, they’re recommending jeweled hoops that are the exact shade of our new home décor line, which has me concerned. I suggest you look into it. Please let me know when your servers are secure. Thank you. —Harold Plinbas

That wasn’t too bad, good recommendation, but if they think my security’s been compromised that’s pretty bad. Next.

Please unsubscribe me from this mailing list.

That’s it. I breathed. That much I could do.

Hello Shifra, I don’t know what jewelry product you’re hawking here, but it’s highly unprofessional to spring this onto your clients. I demand an explanation and reassurance that this won’t happen again. I don’t appreciate such solicitations. —Dana Rhays

Ouch. Not good. And she’s right, if that’s what it was, but it’s not. I clicked on the next e-mail.

Hi Shifra, I’m not really sure what this jewelry recommendation stuff is. I don’t think jewelry would be a successful collab for us, even though the lipstick charm bracelets are really cute and chic. What was your thought process? —Lianne Schroeden

I chuckled. She tried to make sense of it. People are funny like that.

I clicked through the rest of the e-mails, all iterations of the same theme. Ugh. What to do, what to do. I jiggled my foot incessantly, as if I expected an answer to be tapped out in Morse code.

“You okay?” Linda asked, looked back at me.

I gave her a tight smile and lied. “Yeah, fine.”

I got up and made myself another coffee. When I came back two more e-mails had come in — great. The PR agency has its own crisis. That’s a vote of confidence right there. I sat back in my chair, closed my eyes and inhaled, letting the coffee soothe me. What would I tell my clients?