Whether you started two weeks ago or are starting soon, welcome back to school! I hope your summer was refreshing and rejuvenating.
I’m in the midst of preparing for a return to work and grad school myself, so in lieu of a longer post I thought I’d echo an old post from one of my favorite bloggers, NJ’s own Jersey Jazzman. As we head back to work, please, PLEASE remember: as a public employee, your email is public record.
While the specific laws (and case law) vary state to state, New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act grants access to your email, among other documents, “for inspection, copying, or examination by the citizens of this State, with certain exceptions, for the protection of the public interest…”. In other words, if someone wants to see your email record, they’re going to see it.
This doesn’t mean you should be paranoid about using work email, or refuse to use it. It serves a purpose, and it’s a great tool for communicating with colleagues and parents. In fact, one of the reasons I think it’s so valuable is because it maintains an accurate log of exactly what was said between parties, in case that ever comes into dispute (the same can’t be said about phone or face-to-face conversations). Do what you need to do with it in order to do your job efficiently and effectively. Just keep it professional and be smart about how you use it, and remember that you should have absolutely no expectation of privacy when you use employer-owned technology.
Happy New Year!