My honest out of office reply

In Work Life by JD Dillon2 Comments

My L&D buddy Dan Steer recently posted his version of an “Honest Out of Office Reply” to his personal blog.  Dan took a decidedly “I can’t stop working because I love it” position with his message, ending his post with  …

Eventually, when these dreadful 2 weeks of on/off connected-dissonance is over, I can finally go back to work and everything will be normal again. I will breath out and all that stress of being on holiday will be over.

Dan is known to inspire others to action, so I’m going to steal … cough … borrow his idea and reflect on what my honest out of office reply may look like. As someone who is relatively proud of his ability to find work/life balance after so many years of being a work phone-carrying, always “on,” career-first professional, my message will be a little different than Dan’s tribute to the workaholic condition. Here we go …

I’m off … and I mean it. My inability to turn “off” in the past has irrevocably damaged my personal life. Because I felt I always had to be “available,” I never turned my work phone off. It caused arguments. It contributed to the end of relationships. It made people feel bad. So … I’m off … Deal with it …

But that doesn’t mean I’m “gone.” In fact, I spent a considerable amount of time before I turned off preparing the people around me to keep the world afloat in my absence. No, I’m not THAT important – after all, I’m not a doctor or an astronaut. However, I have made sure that everything to which I am responsible is accounted for, every thought and idea on upcoming work is documented, and the contacts you’ll need after your message bounces off my impenetrable “leave me alone” forcefield are shared.

And those people that are helping me be off for a little while — they know how to get in contact with me if I’m REALLY needed. They are under instruction not to push the red button, but it’s there just in case … like in Men in Black

Yes, this whole “time away” thing includes the professional stuff that happens after 6pm every day. I’m looking at you, Twitter! I’ll cya in a few days …

And even though I’m wholeheartedly turned off, I will admit I’m still thinking about work stuff. Pen isn’t going to paper (not that I use paper for much anymore), but it’s marinating up there. And, yes, I probably saw your email, because, as badly as I want to go 100% dark, I can’t stand coming back to an inbox with 3,476 messages. So, I’m filtering/forwarding/reviewing at times – but only when I’m by myself and completely disengaged from whatever attempt at fun I’m having during my time away. Otherwise, the phone stays in the pocket.

Now, please leave your message after the beep …

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