Why is it that every time I push the out-of-office button, suddenly there is a flood of projects running down my inbox? I have noticed this happening every time I go on holiday, not that I leave the comfort of my office too often. It happened again this year. I decided to take a week off and recharge those batteries that I could feel were slowly but steadily running low.
A few hours after my pushing the button, emails started to arrive from every side of the globe, from all types of clients: loved long-term ones, agencies that I had only completed small projects for, even clients I had never worked with in the past. I was determined to rest and so, they all received the automated out-of-office reply. What a lie! I sent a personal one to each and every one of them.
Let’s take things from the beginning. I was taking a sneaky peak at my inbox every now and then, and by doing this I could see the number of emails rising. Internet on a mobile phone is such a temptation! Why is it in my nature to leave no email unanswered? Why was I tempted to send a personal reply even though an automatic one had already been sent? A million thoughts were running through my head while sitting on a sandy beach, sipping a cold refreshment under the hot sun.
Looking beyond the charming, summery scenery, I could not help but wonder: are these old clients and loved agencies ever going to contact me again after receiving this automated but polite out-of-office reply? Will they trust me with their projects again after exposing to them that I am a mere human being that needs to rest from time to time? Should I have taken my laptop with me? Should I have accepted some of these projects and worked during my so called holiday? Should I have at least done work for my favorite ones? And, what, leave the rest crying for help? Should I ever again take time off? All kinds of colourful little people were laughing at me, Mr. Little Worry, Miss Little Guilt, Mr. Little Pessimistic, Little Miss Scared and so very many others!
Even now that I am writing this post, I am not sure what kind of impact my holiday will have as far as work is concerned for the months to come. How fragile is a translator’s relationship with her/his clients? Does it take one automated out-of-office reply to lose all work and start building a client base again from scratch?
I will certainly let you know, stay tuned!