The Art of the Out-of-Office Message

"Out of Office" written in the sand
The good news: the email you sent got a record-time reply.

The bad news: there's no one on the other side of the "send" button.

Yes folks, it's vacation time; the season of MIA colleagues...robotic replies...the out-of-Office (OOO) message.

To Be Funny...or Not to be Funny

There's no shortage of roundups on what qualifies as a stellar triple-O. Bloggers seem to be torn on whether the best out-of-office messages are straightforward, "I'll be away until day/month;" or the more daring (if perhaps ill advised), "I am currently out at a job interview and will reply to you if I fail to get the position." Frankly, we were a little surprised that one roundup felt it necessary to define what an out-of-office is (seems self explanatory). And we will avoid completely those that were too honest, too unfortunate, or too TMI.

How crafty you get probably depends a lot on what kind of biz you work in...and whether after vacation, you still want, you know...your job.

So...in the interest of vacation season, we offer our few tips: short seems preferable to novella; sales pitches seem ill advised; and for heaven's sake, be careful of limericks. But since we're not on vacation (sigh), we offer...

What a Few Out-of-Office Messages Might Look Like*

  • Out for a walk; no internet - Henry David Thoreau
  • Gone Fishing - Herman Melville
  • N_t _t  my  d_sk - Vanna White
  • Out in the field...give me a ring - Frodo
  • I'll be back - The Terminator
  • Trying to stop the feeling - Justin Timberlake
  • Gone for a ride - Paul Revere
  • Had to fly - Superman
  • Off to see the Wizard - Dorothy
  • Hung up...will swing back in soon - Spiderman
  • Could I BE any further from the office? - Chandler Bing

And finally...

In the interest of our multi-gen workforce:

  • Out of the office; if you need to reach me, leave a voice mail. Yes...on the phone. Some of us still listen to those - A Boomer
  • I'm not here...does anybody really care? - Gen X
  • Away 'til Tuesday...if this is my mom...get out of all your open browsers and hit restart - a Millennial
Happy Vacation Season!

*With thanks to Emily, Jessie, and the rest of my very smart colleagues
"Out of Office" written in the sand

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