It’s August in Corporate America and while I’m sitting in my cubicle working on my fluorescent tan, millions of Europeans are off gallivanting to the Mediterranean (or other seaside destinations) in their Speedos. I can only imagine the conditions in Europe right now- Paris is abandoned…only one eyed-cats and unsuspecting American or Japanese tourist roaming the empty streets (and what’s with all those one-eyed cats in Paris anyway…), In Rome, the incessant beeping of Vespas has stopped, and the rush hour on the Autobahn in Germany is noticeably lighter. Now... imagine you and millions of other tourists of all nationalities tromping through Provence, frolicking in Speedos up and down the Côte D'Azur, or standing in the sweltering heat in a line at Euro Disney where the people who are there to serve you aren't so happy go lucky as they might have been in April, since they didn't get to take the month of August off. This mass exodus of Europeans from their desks means one thing to me… more work, frustration, and no sun! The European culture of taking “quality of life” seriously (i.e. taking vacations) has always been a topic of discussion in my French and International Business courses. I was always amazed at the thought of not working for an entire month- and getting paid for it! I had one German friend who informed me that in Germany they even get paid more for vacation time, “because they’re spending more money.” WHAT?!
So, basically, I was reminded of this vacationing phenomenon on Monday morning, August 1st. On that particular morning, I had to send out a mass e-mail to all of the global users of the web-conferencing program that our company uses and I’m the administrator for. I expected to receive some Out of Office emails back like usual… however, this time my inbox was over-run with these Out of Office replies. I started to read through them to see what everyone was up to… while the NAM (North America) folks were out for an average of two or three days, the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) employees were out for the whole month! “On Holiday 8/1-8/31, no access to e-mail or voicemail” So as if the vacation related jealousy wasn’t bad enough, I read through a few more of these Out of Office replies to discover “On Holiday, will return 9/5, contact Melissa Harrington for any assistance regarding [my job whatever that is]” WHAT?!? Who are you, how did you find me? And what is your JOB?!?
So after discovering that one, I stumbled on a few more involving things like, “…with issues with ______ , please contact Melissa Harrington” and the, “I’m on holiday dammit, stop e-mailing me and bother Melissa Harrington…” Ok that one was a little dramatic, I’ll admit, but you can imagine my disbelief in all of the new responsibility with words like "issues" and "assistance" that I wasn’t aware I’d be getting for the month of August.
Luckily, I only have two more weeks of this summer daze I’ve been in before I can take a vacation and direct all of my Out of Office replies to my newfound European counterparts. ; ) Muahahahaha