I’ve been getting a lot of out-of-office auto-replies lately, and I’ve been struck by their conventional blandness and lack of inspiration. The full potential of an OOO message as a source of original, thought-provoking, and unexpected commentary remains largely unexplored.. until now, that is.
Subject: Auto-reply from firstname.lastname@example.org
I know this message will catch you off-guard. I thought about the massive inconvenience caused by my absence and decided that perhaps there is a way to help the situation.
Although I cannot possibly imagine what you wrote to me about, I know that your email contains at least one question mark. For a limited time only (that is until this OOO message is discovered by my manager and I am fired for a breach of some rules of conduct), I will reveal the inconvenient truth about how I would have really gone about answering your query. What I intend to do is to tell you everything about how managers answer emails.
Incidentally, this also means that reading this OOO message will fully qualify you to assume my position, which (given the right timing) would open up shortly anyways. But I digress. If it helps you imagine the gravity of what I am about to do you can think of David Blaine revealing everything, and I mean everything, about the tricks magicians have been using for centuries to dupe their rapt audiences.
Chances are it’s the middle of workday wherever you are, so you would be pleased to know that there are only two secrets worth revealing. What else could you expect from managers? You didn’t think there was actually any substance behind the so-called management or that our insights are always original, did you? Oh, you are really in for a treat then.
There exists a magical button… I can actually hear you sighing now. Listen, before I got on board with this whole management racket I couldn’t believe it either. This magic button is the Forward button. The Forward button not only delivers you the answers, it also allows us managers to pose as the answer’s source while conveniently obscuring the actual experts. In fact, there are two well-kept secrets surrounding the Forward button: the button itself, and the anonymous worker bees (umm, experts) which toll in obscurity for the benefit of enhancing a given manager’s personal brand.
Whoever invented the Forward button… Jesus, sometimes I wake up at night wishing I was that guy. I really do, but I digress again. There is yet another secret to reveal – copy-paste. If you were born a prodigy and graduated with a PhD in theoretical physics at the tender age of 12 (how you got to asking me questions, that’s the real question), then you should know it all without the pesky forwarding business. But no matter what your IQ, you can’t get away from copy-paste.
See, copy-paste is any loafer’s wet dream come true. Someone actually wondered: how can I go about my business shamelessly reusing the wisdom of others without getting my own brain sullied with any real knowledge (and all this while appearing a goddamn genius!)? My friends, believe me, us managers know the answer to that one.
There you have it — I’ve done it. I’ve spilled the beans. The cat is out of the bag… or the Pandora’s Box, or what have you. So here is to the managers and their institutionalized ineptitude. God bless us all.
Oh, before I sign off, you can copy-paste that email you just wrote to me to my subordinates. That’s what I would have done were I in the office today.