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How to set up a private, professional email account 

Your company email account, email autoreply, and phone number will vanish on or before your last day. Emails get this ominous reply: "Recipient address rejected: User unknown in virtual alias table" -- which may not be passed on to the sender by their email service (or may be interpreted unfavorably by the sender.)

Don't use the "free" email from your broadband or cellphone supplier. If you depend on your broadband or cellphone provider's email service -- such as @comcast.net, @sbcglobal.net, @verizon.net, @att.net, @spectrum.net, @icloud.com, etc. -- you will probably lose your email address if you move to a new area or change broadband or cellphone supplier. Unless you are using POP-based email (where all your email is downloaded to a program running on your own computer, such as Outlook) you will probably lose your address book and all your old emails. Another issue is that supplier-based email addresses may not last forever. For example, a terrible mess ensued when the Houston cable franchise was sold.

In a few minutes, you can get a free advertising-supported internet email account (accessible via any internet-connected computer -- whether at work, at home, or at a library) from Microsoft, Google, or Yahoo.

A free account may be upgraded to a paid ad-free account for an annual fee.

We don't recommend using one of these unreliable types of email account for personal email for one thing, you may not receive all HPAA emails:

  • An email account that you don't check regularly. Some of the HPAA emails are urgent.

  • An email setup that sends challenge emails in response to incoming emails. You won't receive any emails from the HPAA's private forums on the Google Groups system.

  • Certain email providers: @bigfoot.com   @rediffmail.com

  • Email forwarding services. Many forwarding services are discarding emails not just from HPAA, but truly important emails from other senders.     

  • Generic addresses: Non-personal "role" addresses on your own domain are rejected by many senders: admin@  info@  sales@  support@

Choosing a professional email username

If available, get a username that incorporates your name -- like john_smith@yahoo.com or john.smith@gmail.com .

Cute email addresses or ones related to your spouse, business, pet, hobby, politics, former employer, age, birth year, or retired status can be a problem later -- and tend to get wearisome over time. You need a name that will work for many years as your life changes -- and that works for both personal and professional use.

If your name is already taken, experiment with your middle name, your initial, or add a word -- something like "john_robert_smith."

Some people use their zip code as a differentiator, but that's hard for people to remember, a privacy issue -- and a problem if you move. Using your birth-year as a suffix telegraphs your age.

Most email systems display only the "from" names in the Inbox. Make sure that the "from" setting on your email account gives the full name that people know you by -- i.e. "John Smith" instead of "JR Smith" or "J Smith." Cryptic "from" settings can can cause one's emails to be flagged automatically as spam -- or be discarded as spam by someone quickly going through their Inbox.

If you wish, you can have your personal email address forwarded to your email address at your employer. But company email systems often have crude anti-spam mechanisms that reject email newsletters you signed up for -- and you still have the privacy and data-loss issues.

Question? Email: info@hpalumni.org   (Dec 21, 2021)

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