lmao, that was amazing. Equally amazing that the kid was so receptive to your ... advice.
Here's a tale.
My Project Manager and the other designer were in a series of all-day meetings, an internal 'company retreat'. The VP of my department took about a week off for personal affairs - a funeral. I was basically left in charge on the bridge.
I was fielding emails from another department head who had been on my back for a week or so. She wanted a bunch of materials printed - new folders, business cards, letterhead, a presentation document, etc. etc. for a conference we were presenting at that weekend. Yet, she and her manager hadn't even approved my designs. Things kept going back and forth with little resolve - I told her it would not be ready if she didn't approve things so I could send to the printer.
Anyway, I went ahead and ordered some of the materials - the ones they sort of approved ("That looks nice", "I like that one"), but come Friday little was resolved. She eventually sent an email basically chewing me out, and CC'ed my PM and the VP. She has a habit of CC'ing upper management whenever she feels slighted. Her email basically said: "This is unacceptable! I expected these materials last week, now we're going into this conference unprepared. We expect support staff to get things done for those of us who are not in the office so regularly. Etc., "you suck", etc.
I waited awhile, to see if anyone else would reply (but of course they were out so didn't expect anything), so I finally replied myself. Mine went something like this:
"Frankly, I am unimpressed with your department. My designs have sat with both you and your manager for weeks, on multiple occasions, waiting for approvals - we 'support staff' would never move on something without those approvals, as you know. And, as you are also aware, these are only updates to previous yet still viable materials, which you can use for this one conference; the new materials can be used going forward after that. I have put in overtime hours on this, which your dept may be billed for, and I am now leaving for the weekend. Break a leg at the conference."
Both emails were of course longer, but that was basically the exchange. I left, assuming I would hear about it by an angry call from either my PM or the VP over the weekend. If not, I'd get yelled at on Monday - Marketing & Communications is always at the bottom of the pyramid, and my VP was rather known for bowing to other departments, even when we were often in the right. Plus, I was the newbie (only there like a year and a half at that point), hardly wise to run off the mouth at a director.
I was just so frustrated and over it, I didn't care what happened. I didn't think I'd get fired over it, though it did flitter in my stomach a few times that weekend. But, I had my own life and refused to check my work emails at all that weekend.
On Monday, I got to the office and found a string of emails in my inbox. First, from my VP, basically saying: "I cannot believe you (the program director) have been bugging me with this CRAP (he actually said that in his email, which he never does) while I am away at a funeral. Nick (that's me) is doing his job exactly as he is supposed to, getting sign-offs, etc. I stand behind him completely and you can use your old materials for this conference until you are better prepared for your next one. PS, I am CCing our CEO on this to save you the trouble of escalating this up the ladder, as you seem so inclined to do."
oh, em, gee. I almost died from laughter and from relief. My PM and the other designer also were laughing and saying I handled it as well as anyone could while everyone was out. The rest of the emails were basically the program director and her manager saying things like "oh, the conference went ok; oh, but I swear I told you to go ahead with those, etc. etc."
After those, and another "Ok, good" email from the VP, I wrote up a diplomatic email to patch things up some, saying "I'm glad things went well, next time let's all work on communicating better, blah blah."
I actually earned a bit of praise from that little spat, that particular director never bugged us much ever again, and we sent out reminder emails to the entire company (a little salt in the wounds, yeah, but necessary) with our department's rules and instructions for submitting design requests, and following through/approving things in timely fashion.
All in all, it worked out ok, and I and several others definitely look back at it and laugh to do this day.
lol, the end.