Are you back at work from your 3-day holiday weekend and thinking about your upcoming vacation?  When preparing to leave on vacation, there is probably one thing you don’t think about much, and that is the automatic response you typically program into your email that lets people know you’re gone.

Most people use the standard text provided by whatever email service they’re using that goes something like this:

"I am out of the office until [enter date here]. If your email requires immediate attention, please contact [enter person’s name here]. I will respond to your email on my return."

If you get one of these, you rarely ever read it.  You already know what it says.  But if you ever get one of these, they may stop you in your tracks (courtesy of a post at

1) I am currently out at a job interview and will reply to you if I fail to get the position.

2) You are receiving this automatic notification because I am out of the office. If I was in, chances are you wouldn’t have received anything at all.

3) Thank you for your email. Your credit card has been charged $5.99 for the first ten words and $1.99 for each additional word in your message.

4) I’m not in the office right now but if it’s important, tweet me using #YOUAREINTERRUPTINGMYVACATION.

5) If you’re reading this, Doc Brown was unable to make lightning strike the clock tower, and I’m stuck in 1985. I won’t be able to respond to emails or voicemail until 9ish on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012, or until email is invented — whatever comes first.

6) I am currently out of the office. I have a cell phone, but I will not be giving the number out. If you can guess the number, however, I will take your call.

7) Hi. I’m thinking about what you’ve just sent me. Please wait by your PC for my response.

8) I am currently out of the office and probably out-of-my-mind drunk. Enjoy your workweek.

Now I know that your concern for professional propriety will probably never lead you to create an auto reply like those above, but it wouldn’t hurt to inject a tiny bit of personality into your message.  Remember, every email you send is sending someone a message!


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