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Leaving email
Old 10-08-2020, 08:35 PM   #1
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Leaving email

So, there's a thing that's got me pretty wound up about retiring, and I wonder whether and how other folks have dealt with it.

I've had the same primary email account at my j*b since 1991, tracking not only my w*rk, but also my professional life (conferences and organizations and research, etc.) and even a good deal of my personal life (since back in the day, folks only had one email address, if that many). I know I'm a bit of a digital packrat, but what can I say? It's been my memory for over half my life, documenting interactions and achievements with colleagues and coauthors and confidants for decades.

Well, the Company says that they have a policy against "bulk export of email", so except for what I choose to forward manually, one at a time, to my personal email account, I've got to leave all of that behind. Trying to determine the few to save from 30 years of stuff just fills me with despair. It feels like trying to dig the Panama Canal with a teaspoon.

Am I being a fool? Do you just learn to move on and let go of such memories?

- Skeptic
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Old 10-08-2020, 08:48 PM   #2
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Have you investigated the possibility of downloading your email "database", and determining if there are methods/programs than can process it offline?
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Old 10-08-2020, 08:50 PM   #3
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If they're real memories, you won't need emails to remember them. I'd export the contact addresses that are important to you, and let the rest of it go. Maybe a few personal emails if you must. When I left the j*b 15 years ago I exported my entire Lotus Notes email file to set up later in case I wanted/needed it. Never happened. You'll stay in touch with anyone you want to, and the rest of it will become just faint memory, like last night's indigestion.
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Old 10-08-2020, 09:06 PM   #4
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That wouldn't not of bothered me. The few I really wanted I took and the rest is the past. What you don't have, you won't miss in a very short time. IMO
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Old 10-08-2020, 09:06 PM   #5
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Have you investigated the possibility of downloading your email "database", and determining if there are methods/programs than can process it offline?

Yep. It's all in MS Exchange, and downloading it from there is disabled by the server. I can save emails as files through a laborious method, but I have a feeling that the administrators will eventually discover that, too, and shut it down. :-(
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Old 10-08-2020, 09:10 PM   #6
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I too, use past emails as a sort of historical reference resource. I can understand why you would want to keep your email library.

You could start by sorting by sender, then date. This will at least give you timelines for individuals on your contact list. Maybe scan through some Subject lines and find important conversations to forward to yourself.

Another technique would be to search keywords and contact names and find important conversations to forward to yourself.

It's going to be a daunting process.
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Old 10-08-2020, 09:11 PM   #7
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If they're real memories, you won't need emails to remember them.
I maybe should have said "mementos" instead of "memories", but I get your drift.
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Old 10-08-2020, 09:15 PM   #8
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It's going to be a daunting process.

Well, I do at least have it all in a fairly rational collection of (hundreds of) folders. Still, daunting is right the word. I fear it will delay my retirement even more. :-(
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Old 10-08-2020, 09:29 PM   #9
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That wouldn't not of bothered me. The few I really wanted I took and the rest is the past. What you don't have, you won't miss in a very short time. IMO
Same here. I knew about my company's "no bulk download" policy and circumvented it by downloading e-mails, files, etc. piecemeal onto a thumb drive in the weeks before I left.

I transferred it all onto my home laptop ... where it gathered dust. A year or so later, I deleted it all.
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Old 10-08-2020, 09:56 PM   #10
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It's been my memory for over half my life, documenting interactions and achievements with colleagues and coauthors and confidants for decades.
My wife does that. She keeps virtually every email (and text on her phone for that matter) just in case she needs to refer back to it some day (which she never does).

Personally, if I have an email worth keeping, I save it to a standalone file and delete the email. I have zero emails in my account, my wife has over 450.

Rather than keeping every email, could you copy the important information from selected emails and paste them into a single word document or something?

Of course, if you haven't referred back to those emails recently, I'm betting you never will. They're probably not as important as you think they are.
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Old 10-08-2020, 10:42 PM   #11
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The only copy of an email I kept from megacorp is my goodbye email ☺️.
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Old 10-08-2020, 10:42 PM   #12
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Yep. After a while you won't care.
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Old 10-08-2020, 10:49 PM   #13
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This was a real issue for me. 20+ years worth of work contacts, many of which I thought I would like to maintain after retirement. All saved in an Outlook .pst file - which turned out to be unreadable on my home system once I left.

I was unhappy about this for a while, but it turned out to be liberating. Just make a clean break and start life anew.
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Old 10-08-2020, 11:10 PM   #14
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All saved in an Outlook .pst file - which turned out to be unreadable on my home system once I left.
I took an Outlook .pst file home when I was laid off, and I was able to retrieve emails with an Outlook viewer.

For myself, I kept any personal (non-business) emails in a separate folder, mainly from my wife and those from financial institutions I needed to have contact with at work from time to time. Downloading those was a simple matter of copying that single folder. It helped that I maintained this separation during my time with the megacorp.
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Old 10-09-2020, 12:19 AM   #15
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Hint that you might come back as a retired annuitant or consultant and will need full access to your e-mails off premises. In fact, can't you access your work e-mails from home, away from the office? If so, just copy to another drive or at worst a memory stick.

I was aware that I needed hard copy of all my e-mails to cover my back early on in my career. I saw too many co-workers who took instruction from e-mails only to get left out to dry when those e-mails vanished. One example; a superintendent checked with the AGM about hiring an outside contracting company who had his nephew as an employee. The nephew was probably going to do work directly for the company through the contractor and the budget was the supervisors. He wanted to be sure there was not nepotism construed. AGM said go ahead. A few months later, HR sent him home pending the outcome of an investigation. During the investigation he was questioned on the issue with the nephew. He said his AGM told him he could and had e-mail to prove it. AGM smerked and said no there wasn't. (This was the IS department and he had full access to the servers and had deleted the e-mail). To which the supervisor said he BCC'd every e-mail to his home e-mail address. Still the AGM said it proved nothing. The supervisor said, yes, it did. It proved the AGM was lying that e-mail never existed. Even though the content may be in question, the fact there even was an e-mail that no longer showed up on the servers BUT did show up on the firewall leaving the premises demonstrated the AGM was lying. They offered the supervisor to come back to work, the investigation was over. Not quite so fast, says the supervisor. And that's when the negotiations began for his buyout offer....

Anyways, I always sent every e-mail BCC to my off prem e-mail account. I have them back to 2002.
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Old 10-09-2020, 04:04 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Skeptic View Post
So, there's a thing that's got me pretty wound up about retiring, and I wonder whether and how other folks have dealt with it.

Well, the Company says that they have a policy against "bulk export of email", so except for what I choose to forward manually, one at a time, to my personal email account, I've got to leave all of that behind. Trying to determine the few to save from 30 years of stuff just fills me with despair. It feels like trying to dig the Panama Canal with a teaspoon.

Am I being a fool? Do you just learn to move on and let go of such memories?
- Skeptic
1 workaround is that you can start a new email, then drag existing emails in as attachments. There is a limit, but it is better than the 1 at a time method.

I was an IT manager so I was able to export all mine before I retired. That was almost 4 years ago and I've never had occasion or any real interest in looking at them. Also, I have to say that if you have 30 years of stuff in your email, you probably won't be able to find what you're looking for if that need ever arises.
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Old 10-09-2020, 05:15 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Skeptic View Post
So, there's a thing that's got me pretty wound up about retiring, and I wonder whether and how other folks have dealt with it.

I've had the same primary email account at my j*b since 1991, tracking not only my w*rk, but also my professional life (conferences and organizations and research, etc.) and even a good deal of my personal life (since back in the day, folks only had one email address, if that many). I know I'm a bit of a digital packrat, but what can I say? It's been my memory for over half my life, documenting interactions and achievements with colleagues and coauthors and confidants for decades.

Well, the Company says that they have a policy against "bulk export of email", so except for what I choose to forward manually, one at a time, to my personal email account, I've got to leave all of that behind. Trying to determine the few to save from 30 years of stuff just fills me with despair. It feels like trying to dig the Panama Canal with a teaspoon.

Am I being a fool? Do you just learn to move on and let go of such memories?

- Skeptic
I'd be very careful with my actions. The company perspective (and what you agreed to) is that the email on the company server or computers is the property of the company. Efforts to copy large amounts of email suggest impropriety to security. Taking a pst file could get you caught up in serious difficulty.

At certain times I would print out or forward email that had significant impact on me. Never went further when I left.
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Old 10-09-2020, 05:36 AM   #18
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I think this is a good lesson to not use company email for personal professional purposes - networking, etc. You would have had the same problem moving to another company as your career progressed.

If you are retiring those professional networking contacts will become much less important. Focus more on those who are also personal friends if they are also using your company email address.

All my work momentos - plaques, trophies, articles, even a magazine cover, went in a box, never to be looked at again except to purge and out in an even smaller box.
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Old 10-09-2020, 05:36 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoolRich59 View Post
Same here. I knew about my company's "no bulk download" policy and circumvented it by downloading e-mails, files, etc. piecemeal onto a thumb drive in the weeks before I left.

I transferred it all onto my home laptop ... where it gathered dust. A year or so later, I deleted it all.
This might work well enough and not violate your company policy but, unless you need this stuff for post employment work (consulting or something) you will probably never look at it. 15 years in I have never looked at my big box of files I wanted to keep just in case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by target2019 View Post
I'd be very careful with my actions. The company perspective (and what you agreed to) is that the email on the company server or computers is the property of the company. Efforts to copy large amounts of email suggest impropriety to security. Taking a pst file could get you caught up in serious difficulty.

At certain times I would print out or forward email that had significant impact on me. Never went further when I left.
I was going to suggest seeing if you could export to a local thumb drive, if the export function is not disabled. But, you should consider the nature and paranoia level of your employer. If they prohibit the bulk export because of some long ago worry about bandwidth they probably wouldn't care about a local download. If they are they are worried about proprietary data walking out the door, they may monitor internal traffic and could respond harshly.
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Old 10-09-2020, 05:46 AM   #20
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The only copy of an email I kept from megacorp is my goodbye email ☺️.
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Yep. After a while you won't care.
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which turned out to be unreadable on my home system once I left.

I was unhappy about this for a while, but it turned out to be liberating. Just make a clean break and start life anew.
Set yourself free and just let it go. Those of us who did, either by choice or force, got used to it real quick. You will leave free and clear with no corporate lawyers tailing you.

Do I miss a few things for reference? Every now and then. No big deal.

I wish I never comingled my personal and work email though.
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