Driving Co-Workers Nuts by Keeping Them in the Loop

Keeping co-workers in the Loop - Business Humor

One of my jobs before cartooning full time was as a customer service rep for a small distributor. Our products had to be kept to extremely tight tolerances (often thousands of an inch) and even the tiniest mistake could end up costing a lot.

So we were required to triple check customers’ orders, orders going through the plant, orders for the required raw materials, quality control, etc… To add insult to injury, our computer systems were still of the green letters on a black screen variety, so it ended up being ungodly amounts of paper.

One especially crucial and time sensitive order had management’s attention, so I literally had most of the company asking me to keep them “in the loop.” It became so ridiculous that had I not done the above cartoon, I surely would have gone mad.

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Mark Anderson, professional cartoonist

About the Author: Mark Anderson’s cartoons appear in publications including The Wall Street Journal and Harvard Business Review. Anderson is the creator of the popular cartoon website, Andertoons.com, where he licenses his cartoons for presentations, newsletters and other projects. He blogs at Andertoons cartoon blog.


Mark Anderson Mark Anderson's cartoons appear in publications including Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and Harvard Business Review. His business cartoons are available for licensing at his website, Andertoons.com.

14 Reactions
  1. LOL – Mark! That’s what I love about your cartoons – I swear you’ve been looking over my shoulder for most of my corporate career.

  2. When you translate this to email, it gets even more ridiculous. That’s why one large company not long ago banned “cc-ing” on emails — I wish I could remember which company it was.

  3. Shashi Bellamkonda

    LOL < Mark that was hilarious. If I email a group of people I try to tell them to reply only to me and then send a summary to the whole group. I think wikis or other collaborative tools may be the easier way to loop people in or out 🙂 Thanks for making this Friday smile.


  4. I always look forward to Fridays to see what funny you give us. This week did not disappoint. I know it’s a good one when I can’t help but snicker out loud.

  5. Anita,

    I read on Palo Alto Software’s Business in General Blog, that Nielsen has stopped with the “reply to all” feature.

  6. Talking about on how to use email, read Jason Kincaid’s post on TechCrunch, @TwitterHR For Future Reference, Use BCC When Rejecting Applicants.

  7. Mark: How do you stay in the cartoonist loop? 😉

  8. Hi Mark
    I just turned off my crackberry, I mean Blackberry, simply because being the loop was costing me so much time on tiny responses. No longer was I thoughtful or even thinking when I responded to someone. Your cartoons clearly strike a chord for people.

    Have you done any on the latest trend of “Working in the Cloud” — meaning using web-based apps and that sort of thing? Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)? I think there are a lot of people trying to figure out how to use these sorts of apps. Some are easier than others, that’s for sure.

  9. @TJ – “No longer was I thoughtful or even thinking when I responded to someone.” Its funny that you mention that. It does seem to become the case when your overloaded with correspondence and now its a matter of just getting a response out, instead of really communicating effectively.

    Another great cartoon, Mark!

  10. Friends don’t let friends reply to all.

    I have done some cloud computing cartoons for custom clients, but none for regular sale yet. Gotta get on that. Thanks!

    As far as staying in the cartoonist loop, there just aren’t that many of us, so it’s not too hard.

    Glad you liked this one all! Thanks!

  11. Hilarious!

    What really gets me are all the folks that do a “reply all” just to say “Thanks” 🙂

  12. Thank goodness! I’m so happy reading replies that someone is realizing that processing email requires thinking. I have a blog post with solutions for Reply to All and also one on curing BlackBerry addiction.

  13. Great cartoon, but instead of just being “out of the loop” I make “the loop” smaller as well. That’s just a fancy way of saying to eliminate as much as possible, but prevention is better than the cure.

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