We began to learn this week about Federal Procedure 34, a new law that requires companies to keep almost forever any email correspondence, Instant Messages (if your system archives them), or any other form of electronic communication that could be discoverable as part of litigation. What's discoverable? Well, practically anything. While companies are just now starting to grapple with the implications of this new law, the end result will be that routine email correspondence will live for a very long time, if not forever, in some form of storage from which it can be recalled.
Now, most of us behave ourselves well during the work day. Every now and then, however, we get a little too casual with use of the system. So, imagine the oh-so-clever remark you made about how your boss parted his hair, or the fight you had with your wife, or the sweet talk to that single co-worker, or the flame-out over something or someone who frustrated you...living forever somewhere. So, email with caution and consider picking up the phone more often.