What your OOO says about you | The Sunday Times Style

1. It’s time to think about booking that summer break. You start the search…

A. In January. The Spanish island you’re looking at fills up faster than your weekly Zumba class.

B. At the last minute. Your boss won’t mind you moving the dates around, right?

C. Your assistant does it. You’re not sure when – or even what her name is.

D. No need since you got the chateau in Montélimar. Organising a chef on the other hand – nightmare! 

E. On Mr & Mrs Smith. You’ve deliberately picked somewhere with no wi-fi.

2. You’re compiling your getaway wardrobe. Where do you get the goods?

A. Topshop, Zara, Mango – you’re looking for multicoloured tassels and lots of neon.

B. Aspiga and Heidi Klein for a treat. For you, summer shopping is a year-round occassion.

C. Online, normally from Net-a-porter, but sometimes Matchesfashion. Desk delivery is crucial.

D. A few artisanal “pieces” from your last holiday – Deia has such good kaftans.

E. A mixture of high-street, designer and boutiquey finds: you want a nice range for your Instagram snaps (uploaded once you’re home, obvs, because #techdetox).

3. Holiday companions must be picked carefully. Who’s in the gang?

A. Your old school friends. You’ve been jetting off to Malaga, Corfu, Tenerife and the rest for almost 10 years now, #girlsontour.

B. It’s a mixed bag of old colleagues and friends from uni. When you’re taking seven minibreaks a year, you don’t limit your pool. 

C. Just the family. You’re only going for a weekend anyway, so it hardly matters. 

D. The same team since 2010: your three best friends plus husbands and kids.

E. It’s just you and your boyfriend – so good to spend some quality time together (if he calls the office, it’s over). 

4. It’s the first day of your break, but there’s an airport drama. What’s the situation?

A. Becky’s late. You spend a nail-biting two hours in Pret at Gatwick before just making the flight.

B. Drama? What drama? You’ve been here for three hours already, sinking Aperols in the BA business lounge. The holiday starts here, amirite?

C. You’re held for an hour by security, who are suspicious of your seven-point charger-adapter.

D. Diana has brought three large Rimowa suitcases; you forsee baggage reclaim hell.

E. The office has called – already – and you’ve had to reprimand your colleague about “personal time”.

5. You’re finally on foreign soil and there’s a Tom Hardy lookalike at the bar. You…

A. Immediately get in a huddle with the girls, shooting not-so-covert glances across the dancefloor and giggling.

B. Send over a vodka tonic with a wink. This wouldn’t be your first holiday romance.

C. Are too busy to notice: the Japanese financial markets have just opened and you’re on the phone to Tokyo.

D. Serenely ignore him. This hotel is super-exclusive, so it probably is Tom Hardy.

E. Hitch up your Gül Hürgel frock and flirt outrageously – you want to make your boyfriend jealous.

6. You’re in charge of DJing by the pool. Whats on your playlist?

A. Easy peasy: the top 40 always has some bangers – you’ll save Craig David for later.

B. That song you Shazammed from a night at Annabel’s.

C. Well, you’ve been recommended whale sounds by your therapist…

D. The mix tape you sourced from a restaurant in Marrakesh is perfect – so unusual.

E. Classic, “ironic” tunes. Abba and Bruce Springsteen are go-tos.

7. The week’s gone by and the holiday’s over. You go home with…

A. Sunburn.

B. Three of the season’s most Instagrammable pool floats. Perfect for Zakynthos next week.

C. Roaming charges bigger than the national debt. 

D. Hand-reared honey, homemade lavender bags and an eco-friendly pashmina.

E. A stack of emails, which you’ll ignore for weeks.

You are mostly…

A. I am on annual leave from Friday 17th to Monday 20th August and will get back to you on my return. Please note, I will not be on emails during this time. You are unable to call a few days off what it really is — a holiday — and insist on proclaiming yourself “on annual leave”. You are first in the office every day, sensible “commuter” trainers neatly placed beneath your desk, worldly goods in a Daunt Books bag. These four precious days in Mallorca (all-inclusive, booked months ago with a fistful of Wowcher codes) are your time to go wild. You spend the week before telling everyone how tired you are and how much you deserve it. During, your OoO is superfluous — you reply to all your emails anyway.

B. Happy July everyone! June-September I’ll be leaving the office at 3pm on Fridays and taking every other Monday off. I’ll get back to you when I can! Guys! The sun’s out! From May onwards, your overly cheery OoO is nearly always on. Year-round, you are the nemesis of everyone just trying to do their job: you spend more time gossiping in the office kitchen than you do at your desk and never finish any project on time. You have no concept of personal space and almost certainly own a novelty stapler shaped like an avocado. For you, summer is an excuse for almost permanent office abdication: when not sunning yourself on the roof, you’re taking hour-and-a- half lunch breaks and downing rosé at your desk. No one wants to work with you on anything until September.

C. I’m in a meeting until 4pm. If your query is urgent, call my mobile or contact my assistant. You. Can’t. Let. Go. So much so that you put an OoO on even when you’re in meetings and at the weekend. You’re considering one for when you pop to the loo. You’re friendlier with the IT guys at work (a broken Mac means a broken life) than you are with your husband, and your wardrobe consists entirely of black suits and Equipment shirts. Something from Apple is welded to your hand at all times, and if you haven’t managed to punch out an email response within 10 minutes, you feel a sense of panic akin only to misplacing your charger. You have a nickname at work, but no one will tell you what it is.

D. I’m on holiday! Well, trapped on the Isle of Wight. So much for sun! I’ll reply next week x. Your oversharing, “hilarious” OoOs are accompanied by a picture of you and your adorable husband and kids, hugging in matching Boden windcheaters against a postcard backdrop. You are the queen of the humblebrag. Everything from your clothes (“This? Ancient Céline”) to your home (“Such a big mortgage, but it’s worth it for Notting Hill”) is not-so-subtly promoted all day long. Your desk is fastidiously neat: just a few succulents and your children’s drawings (Arlo got an art scholarship last term). When you’re on holiday, your colleagues are thrilled to have got rid of you for a week. Until the Insta-shots land.

E. I am away on holiday and will not be checking my inbox until August 27th so do not expect a reply. You are riding the high horse of the work/ life balance, from which you refuse to be toppled. You pen the sharpest, most unapologetic one-line OoO you can muster. Falling into inboxes with a blunt finality, it will shame all those foolish enough to attempt contact. For you, righteous anger is a round-the-clock pastime: friends, family and neighbours are, like your colleagues, subjected to a near-endless tirade on how difficult life is. You live in an expensive townhouse with your long-suffering boyfriend. No one really understands you, and nothing is ever your fault.


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