Perfecting the “While I’m Out”

Though I literally have been back in NYC for less than 15 hours, I’ll be on the road again in less than 24 for a much needed vacation.   Leaving the office always gives me a bit of anxiety (which is something I am constantly trying to work on), so I’m doing the best I can today to make sure my teams feel secure before I leave the office.   That means today will be a buckle-down day, and I’ve already sucked it up that an early release for Summer Fridays just isn’t in the cards for me.

Aside from completing all your assignments before leaving the office, it’s important to send one final email with a list of items that your teams need to be aware of in your absence – the “While-I’m-Out” email.   In its best form, this is an appreciated courtesy.   In its worst, this note can seem like a to-do list for your colleagues to complete while you’re frolicking on the beach.   Whether you’re gone for a day, a week or a month, here are a few things to keep in mind while drafting the “While-I’m-Out:”

Step one, finish your work – This note is NOT the opportunity to pass along your projects to other team members. Complete your work before you leave.   If you don’t think you can get to something, stay late. If you can’t stay late, enlist help to finish the project before you go. If you were assigned something, you should finish it

Think about ALL your responsibilities – Do you monitorNew York Timesin the morning for the team? Make sure another person gets the paper each morning. Do you have the dial-in for the weekly call with the client? Make sure your manager has the passcode. It’s the little things that we forget to take care of before we go that can be the most annoying to figure out in our absence

Speak up and be heard – Make sure your team is aware of what you’re putting in your email. Do not send a “While-I’m-Out” without discussing moving projects with your team first.   If you have questions, send your note to your supervisor for a quick look before it goes to the team. If she has concerns, she can tell you then instead of calling you while you’re boogie boarding


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