A Lesson About Emails for Jobseekers

Resume Writer

Registered User
Feb 7, 2004
Total Time
16 yrs
Hi Everyone,

I thought I would post this article on Michael Brown from FEMA. While it does not specifically have to do with him conducting a job search, it does have to do with using your email at work! :D

Increasingly, employers are looking at what employees are sending out from their company email address. Many companies either have in-house computer forensic specialists or hire outside firms to look at how employees are spending their time on the job.

While I am not a computer expert, I know if your company is on some type of network, people in the IT department can view your screen to see what you are doing. As far as I know, there is no right to privacy; especially if your company has a policy against conducting non-employment related actions.

As for emails, I always tell my clients not to use their work email address for sending info to me, not to place that email address on their resume or to respond to job postings. It sends the wrong message to new employers AND you can get fired if your company has a policy against this.

Here is the article:

FEMA E-Mails Shed Light on Brown's Katrina Response
Former Director Discussed Clothing as Floods Ravaged New Orleans
By Andrea Stone, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON - E-mails sent as Hurricane Katrina raged reveal that FEMA's then-director, Michael Brown, discussed his clothing and his need for a dog sitter but left unanswered urgent messages.

A House committee investigating the response to Katrina released about 1,000 e-mails as members complained that the Bush administration had failed to provide copies of communications among high-level officials, including White House chief of staff Andy Card and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.

Deputy White House press secretary Trent Duffy said, "The White House staff is working on that information collection."
The newly released e-mails depict an official who "made few decisions and seemed out of touch," said Rep. Charlie Melancon, D-La.

Last month at a Senate hearing, Marty Bahamonde, the Federal Emergency Management Agency's only employee in New Orleans when Katrina struck Aug. 29, said he e-mailed Brown on Aug. 31, "Sir, I know that you know the situation is past critical ... many will die." Brown replied, "Thanks for the update. Anything specific I need to do or tweak?"

An e-mail offering critical medical equipment got no response for four days.

Brown resigned two weeks after Katrina hit. E-mail excerpts:

· Aug. 29, 7:19 a.m., Cindy Taylor, FEMA deputy director of public affairs to Brown, about his shirt as he appeared on NBC's Today: "My eyes must certainly be deceiving me. You look fabulous — and I'm not talking the makeup."

· Brown, 7:52 a.m.: "I got it at Nordsstroms ... Are you proud of me? Can I quit now? Can I go home?"

· Aug. 30, 10:52 p.m. Brown to assistant Tillie James: "Do you know of anyone who dog-sits?"

· Sept. 2, 8:37 a.m. Brown to acquaintance Betty Guhman, on his pre-Katrina plans to leave FEMA: "Last hurrah was supposed to have been Labor Day. I'm trapped now, please rescue me."

Andy Lester, Brown's lawyer, said the committee "ought to focus" on FEMA's budget and other issues and not on e-mails that he characterized as efforts to boost morale among stressed staff and deal with family matters.


Don't try this at home
Oct 27, 2004
Total Time
I get my Netflix emails to my work account. I hope that entertains the IT people.

It's also interesting that my company's spam filter has filtered out the ATA Smartbrief by accident a few times. Then IT sheepishly emails it back to me a day or so later. It's obvious they are watching.


Wing, Nosewheel, Whatever
Dec 19, 2001
Total Time
Interesting how the writer for the McPaper advises us that there was an urgent call for medical equipment but offers "proof" only of Nordstroms and dog sitting.

I don't think there's much to this. I think this is the media trying to smear the Bush administration as usual. The big story here really ought to be the idea that urgent and LEGITIMATE messages were being ignored. That's what should be proven with quotes from his e-mail inbox. Surely if they can get his outbox, they can get his inbox too, right?

However, your point about being careful about how you use your employer's server is a valid one. Don't go sending resumes out to potential employers from your present place of employment. They might take that the wrong way.