Friday, December 12, 2014

This Week in E-Mail Auto Response, 12/09 - 12/12

Series Introduction

I have, in an effort to be more efficient at work, decided that I will only check my work e-mail  -- nick.carbone at macmillan dot com -- twice a day. And thus since replies will not be instant, each day I will write a new auto response so that my virtual correspondents know that in due time I will in fact read their tender missives.

I began this new approach with great resolve on December 9, a Tuesday. Though I suppose I could have saved it for a New Year's resolution, I believe in starting early when an idea is good. Also, it's year-end review season, and I can point to the tactic as an accomplishment in the same way that having a child just before the end of year is a great tax break.

Here are the auto responses for this first week. Each Friday, I'll post the weekly collection. Whatever I use as Friday's message will stay through the weekend.

See for a note on the rhetoric of out of office auto responses.


Tuesday, December 9:

And on the 9th day of December, the skies opened and the rain deluged, and verily I said unto me --- 'tis a good day to stay home and write unperturbed by the nuisance of a drench-the-trenchcoat commute to an office where, once I arrived, I would simply be writing while wet, with door shut to be undisturbed, meeting with no one, talking to no one. So I am home writing dry. If you need me, write me. If you need me to pay attention immediately, call me, my number's in the .sig below.

Though come to think of it, if you are seeing this iteration of my o/o/o, you are not someone who works in my office, and so it makes no difference to you where I am because it's not like you're in my office looking for me. But at least now you know I'm dry. And writing.

Wednesday, December 10:

Once upon a time I came to the office, sat at my desk, and turned on the automatic reply message. I then shut down my e-mail program. It was a gray and blustery day, and my work for the day included one brief face to face meeting and then lots of reading & writing. So I am in full e-mail denial if you are reading this: I've silenced the e-mail notification ding and icon and removed the e-mail shortcut from the start tray. If you're reading this far, know that I will blithely ignore my inbox until tomorrow. If you really need my attention, best to call.

Thursday, December 11:

Thank you for writing. No, really, I do mean it. Thank you. Even if your e-mail consternates, requires me to jump-to something, means more work of one kind or another, thank you. Sure, an e-mail of some other kind -- notice of good news, a gentle reminder to do something pleasant, like "Nick, don't forget to take your office nap today," praise of any kind, even if it's not for me -- might be more enjoyable, and so if you're sending one of those, consider my thanks even more profuse.

But really, whatever you send, since I'm a don't-let-the-sunshine-spoil-your-rain kind of guy, thanks. I'll get back to you as soon as I get back to e-mail reading, which is now deliberately intermittent.

Today my attention will be enslaved by other things, more, so I hope, productive things. 

Friday, December 12:

The Incredible True Story of the First Textbook

Because my new work efficiency diet requires me to cut down on my e-mail consumption, let me tell you a very truthy story while you wait for my reply.

Today is Friday, December 12, with only 378 days until Christmas 2015. On this day in 105 AD, paper making was invented in China. On the next day, that would be December 13, 105, the first textbook was published. No, not by Macmillan, we're not that venerable. The book was print on hand-written command. The first draft required readers to scroll, but after two unrolls to see more text, eye-ball tracking revealed that reading stopped; instead, students took to watching thieves get their hands cut-off, the role-playing video game activity of the time. Professors, since times were stricter then, tried corporal punishment, but the poking students in the eye with a stylus and yelling "since you will not do the assigned reading, dog, you do not need this!" proved counter-productive. So in revision, the book came out in a compact edition, a single sheaf, no scrolling required. However, by then, in addition to to thief punishment, other diversions had emerged -- ceramics was a growing hobby, and rice krispie treats were invented because opium had been discovered too. hus in its third revision, the book was reduced to an illustrated koan that could be copied by just about anyone. And so it spread, almost like a virus, across the land, causing giggles with each forward. But it also put the publisher out of business.

Glad those days are gone.

Meanwhile, I do check e-mail, but only twice a day, not constantly. So I will find your message eventually and if it requires one from me, I will respond. If a response is not required, know that I read every word you wrote, underlining the good ones.


Anonymous said...

I love these!

DRogers said...

Those are very funny, Nick. I wish I could write some that would go only to my students. Maybe you could suggest a few of those?

Nick Carbone said...

Thanks to you both for the nice words. DRogers, drafting some just for students would be fun. Maybe I'll give it a go.