I’m getting ready to go somewhere soon where you are not. It’s called a vacation.
And in preparing for it, I realize it’s been a long time since I’ve activated my automated email reply that tells you that I’m away from the office for awhile (trying to forget about you), and unable to respond with my usual speed to whatever it is you’re pestering me about.
I’ve hesitated to hit the auto-reply, maybe, because I usually am eager to take on any issue or concern 24/7. Always ready to respond. Bring it on.
That’s not it.
Maybe it’s because I never like to tell anyone that I am not working.
That’s not it, either. Everyone knows I’m a recovering workaholic.
Maybe it’s because I speak for all of us when I say no matter where we are – save a remote foreign country or at the bottom of a deep canyon somewhere – no one is ever entirely “out of the office.” And never, not even for a nano-second, are we “unable to respond.”
That’s what technology does for us, or perhaps better said, does to us. With smart phones and tablets, our virtual offices have no walls. They’re stuck to us like Velcro wherever we go.
Those of you who can honestly say you don’t peek at your work emails even when relaxing in another time zone can quit reading now. I know who both of you are.
The rest of you, if you feel the need to use auto-reply, then at least be honest. Here are examples of what I’d like to say to people:
--I am currently out of the office but I am reading all my emails. I’ll respond to the unimportant ones after I get back.
--You are receiving this auto reply because I am not in the office. Had I been in, you wouldn’t have received anything at all.
--I am out of the office right now and the only way I’m likely to respond now is if you email me again and say you’re ready to close that big deal we’ve been working on.
--Sorry, I’m out and will be unable to delete all the unread, worthless emails I receive until I return from vacation. Yours will be deleted in the order it was received.
--Thank you for your message. It now is No. 815 in my file. You can expect to hear back from me in about three months.
--I am out of the office. And that probably makes you think I have a life outside my job, which is good because I really don’t.
I think I’ll activate my auto reply. This could be fun.