Tag Archives: out-of-office

The O-O-O Syndrome

Often, when I send emails to my colleague Ooonuj, I get a O-O-O (Out of Office) message with text like:

-Out of Office-

Hi –

I am travelling to Hongkong, Malaysia, and China and will be out of office till 1st December 2013.
I will have no access to my India handphone number.I shall respond to your mail, albeit a bit late.

In case of urgent matters which require immediate attention, please call / text me
@ +86 13602696490 or Contact VVSS ( vvss@emaildomain.com) on the following numbers:
Tel: 91-22- 421666xx / 2880 73xx /  2880 73xx / 2880 73xx


Ooonuj Anar

[Digression: I personally avoid setting any O-O-O messages. I normally am able to read my messages with a gap of no more than 6-7 hours. Also, I do not think I do anything is so time critical. And mainly I am afraid that my autoresponder with battle with Ooonuj’s autoresponder and rapidly choke the cyberspace in endless exchange of OOO messages :-)]

That apart, if you read Ooonuj’s O-O-O message, you will notice that he has addressed one combination – “urgent matters require immediate response”. He is silent on:

  • Non-urgent matters that require immediate response
  • Urgent matters that do not require immediate response
  • Non-urgent matters that do not require immediate response

I believe that Ooonuj needs to cover all three cases – just to be complete.

Ooonuj also sends an actual response pretty fast (though this is terser than his OOO message). One day when I got his manual response even before I got his OOO response, I asked him what the matter was, and why his autoresponder was slow.

That is when he said, “Autoresponder? What autoresponder? I type a tailored OOO message each time. Because others also let me know when they are out-of-office and travelling all over the world and seem very busy, I thought I too should do the same. And my OOO messages to my boss are the longest – they usually contain the details of my day’s activities – just so that he knows I am doing some work.”

I did not know how to respond to that (manual or auto).

However, I did compile a set of possible OOO messages, just to bring variation to our dreary lives. Use them unmutilated or otherwise before I file for a patent (or is it copyright?)

  1. OOOooooooo – I have a headache all over my body.
  2. O-O-O – I am out out of office because I am out of my job. Thankfully, I will never have to answer your email.
  3. O-O-O – So what if I am out of office? I can access my email anywhere, I am just ignoring you.
  4. O-O-O – I am in a training on time management. I learnt that I should not sweat the small stuff. So I will ignore your email.
  5. O-O-O – I have been sacked. Click to see the company’s  skeletons in the cupboard. Go ahead, don’t be shy, click here.
  6. O-O-O – If you have anything that is urgent, contact my colleague Blah. He won’t help you either.
  7. O-O-O – If you have anything urgent, you will anyway figure out a way to get it done. I am on a vacation.
  8. O-O-O – If I was in office, you would have received nothing at all. You should be grateful for this automated response.
  9. O-O-O – I am out of office, because I don’t have an office.

By the way, now you know why my colleague is called Ooonuj.

Do add your profound, meaningful, inspiring, leadershipping autoresponse messages – as comments below.

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I'm Rajesh Naik, and this is my personal website If you are interested in contacting me, I am also available on LinkedIn and I will be glad to accept your invite.