The Use of Sarcasm and How it Backfired on Me

Recently I wrote a sarcastic and smarmy blog post:  A Thank you to all of the Unethical Attorneys Out There .   The point of the blog post was, in terms of Rainmaking, you cannot create relationships built on lies and unethical behavior.

While there were a number of attorneys who were able to read my sarcasm, there were a number of wonderful, ethical attorneys who thought I was out to smear the legal industry.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

What I did learn was an incredibly valuable lesson which I already knew but had forgotten.   Sarcasm is easily misconstrued on the internet.

As someone who teaches Attorneys how to get more clients, I also teach that sarcasm is not always appreciated and that you have to know your audience.

It is something that I should have remembered when writing the post.

To the two attorneys who reminded me of that – Thank you.

Help me spread the word!

Comments

  1. Jamie,

    Great integrity to acknowledge this publicly! Humour, and in particular, humour based on sarcasm, is very risky. ;-)

    I grew up in London where sarcasm is used often. I learned very quickly as a teenager that my Latin American relatives did not use sarcasm. They interpreted my sarcasm literally and were shocked and insulted. Ouch!

    On the bright side, now you have our attention! :-)

    Jorge
    Founder of The Online Bar
    http://follr.me/Jorge

  2. Jaimie Field says:

    Thanks Jorge – and I am excited to be a part of The Online Bar!

  3. Hi Jamie,

    The point of your original post may not have been clear or buried somewhere in there. However, your acknowledgment shows not only integrity as Jorge pointed out, but courage to quickly do so.

    Vivian

  4. Jaimie Field says:

    Vivian,

    Thank you –

    I (should) know better. While my personality boasts a witty, dry and snide sarcastic humor at time, unless we are sitting face to face, sometimes it is definitely misconstrued.

    As a Rainmaking Trainer, I teach this to my clients. However, sometimes I don’t take my own advice….

    Oh well, live and learn :)

    Jaimie

  5. Jaimie Field says:

    Vivian,

    Thank you –

    I (should) know better. While my personality boasts a witty, dry and snide sarcastic humor at time, unless we are sitting face to face, sometimes it is definitely misconstrued.

    As a Rainmaking Trainer, I teach this to my clients. However, in this case it was a do as I say not as I do… and I had to pay the consequences….

    Oh well, live and learn :)

    Jaimie

  6. Jaimie,

    Your point is well-taken! Two years ago I wrote my company’s email policy and trained all the employees on it. One key point I made is that in emails people will often write the way they speak and that the written word does not translate the same way, in part because you do not have the benefit of hearing the person’s vocal inflections or seeing facial expressions. The same point can certainly be made for articles. As my company’s sole in-house counsel, I have seen a number of instances where a mere phrase in an email or other electronic document can be so easily interpreted differently than its author ever intended it. Even though by nature I have a sarcastic sense of humor I learned quickly and for many reasons to be very careful what I put in writing!

    Thank you Jaime!

  7. Jaimie Field says:

    Janette:

    Like you, I have a dry, sardonic nature and the sad part is not only do I know better, but I teach it to my clients.

    This was a classic case of “Do what I say, Not what I do” and that is not usually my mode of operation…. Thus, the apology!

    I really appreciate your comment.

    Jaimie

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