What your out-of-office reply says about you

In this day and age there are still people who do not use the out-of-office reply message.  And sometimes that is because they don’t know how to use it or sometimes it means something about how you perceive yourself. but let me not get ahead of myself here.  Sometimes I digress mightily. Other times I really get way ahead of my thought to paper process. Or rather, thought to keyboard process. And, see that? That was me slightly digressing.  I like digressions. Or rather, I like my own digressions. I can’t stand other people’s digressions. Does that make me narcissistic?  No. You wouldn’t find that in the DSM-V. Maybe you would seeing that I haven’t bothered yet to peruse the latest version of the diagnostic manual. But back to …What was this about again?


Out-of-office reply messages. Got it! Back on track.


Most emails give you the option to format and put in place an out-of-office reply message. You put this together to essentially let people know you will not be getting back to them anytime soon. But how you message that message can be quite funny and say a lot about how you perceive yourself and/or how the workplace treats ya.

Here I go.


There are those individuals who have a messages that list 20 other people to contact who are covering different aspects of the person’s job.  I recently received an out-of-office reply message from someone who noted that if I needed help with maintenance call person X, but to call person Y for clinical care, person Z for security, person G for IT and person Q for housekeeping. Does that not seem too much? No wonder this person went on vacation. What is surprising is that they came back from vacation.


Then there are those individuals who bother to tell you where they have traveled to either for business or for vacation. This individual wants you to either be jealous or know how important they are. Perhaps both. But either way they are gloating.


Then there is that individual whose message tells you to contact some totally random person who is not going to be able to help you in any way.   That person is just messing with you and the company. They are probably out on a trip being interviewed for their next job.


Then there is that person who doesn’t use the out-of-office reply message. It could be because they are not technologically savvy. In which case, that bites for everyone involved. Or it could be that the person fully expects to be able to answer their emails even while away. It could be that they are a workaholic or don’t want anybody to know that they are not there. The latter makes me giggle. I have known people like that.  They are intense, frightening, and probably need to get a life. Was I too harsh in that last bit? Look out for those individuals and get back to me on that.


What do I myself do? I don’t direct people to others. I note that I will return the email within 48 hours. You know why I do that? Partly because I am a workaholic. And, partly because I hate going back to a ton of emails. It is more a preservation of my sanity that drives me to such messaging. And at the end of the day, that is what most of us strive towards.


7 replies »

  1. Not having an office, i just answer my e-mails when I can. I do regard most e-mails as an extension of “work”, though, as they invariably include requests and expectations.


  2. And then there are the people who say “all messages that are received while I am away will be deleted. Please resend after … if it was important.” People actually do that, but I couldn’t bring myself to delete all those messages – what if something interesting was in there?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love when someone turns on their automatic responses, but forgets to change the date from their last vacation. So the message, in June, says, ‘I will return to the office on January 4th.’ Wow, long vacation . . .


  4. ~Gives you a (mock) intense and frightening stare for a moment, covers up my email secretively and continues to stare~

    Or maybe work doesn’t let us out long enough to have lives….


    Liked by 1 person

    • ‘work doesn’t let us out long enough to have lives’ – HOW I agree with this. I have only been working full time for 9 months, how do people do this for YEARS ON END? When the heck does anyone get time to just sit down and stare out of the window for hours?? When does one get time to BE THEMSELVES!? This is all a phenomenon to me. My brain can’t understand it, and yet here I am progressing through it and desperately hoping I don’t lose my job…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. OR, and there is a repeat offender of this at my work, the person who CONSISTENTLY puts the wrong date in! E.g. ‘I am out of office until 4th of June’, even though they CLEARLY mean 4th of July, because today is the 29th of June! Every time! I really don’t know why I get so annoyed about that, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

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