On parental leave and auto-reply messages

I’m now (as of the date of this blog post) on parental leave (thanks, Brian 😊). I’m about to set up an email auto-reply which will guard my work email address until 15 July.

baby dogs - puppies, in fact

Note: the baby I am taking care of is a human baby, but the above photo contains baby dogs.

Here’s the deal: I’m away for a long time, and when I get back in July I’m going to delete all the unread emails in my inbox. Sorry if that seems harsh, but it’s the only way to deal with this situation and have any chance of enjoying one’s return to work.

  • If you’ve got important information which needs to be actioned before July 15, then you need to make alternative arrangements. I wish you all the best, but I can’t help you out with making it happen.

  • If you’ve got important information which has an expiry date after July 15, then put a note in your calendar to re-email me after that date (because your email still won’t survive the purge, sorry).

  • If you need to get in touch urgently, then you probably have my personal email or phone number.

  • If you want to organise some sort of hangs/see baby pictures, then try me on my personal email or phone number. I will be pushing a pram around campus at times, and I’d be keen to catch up.

But doesn’t that mean you’ll (1) miss a bunch of fantastic opportunities and (2) let a bunch of folks down? Well, maybe. On the first point, I already feel overwhelmed (at times) by the amount of stuff on my to-do list, so any attrition which occurs is actually kindof appealing. And on the second point I’ve tried really hard this last month to hand various things over to capable folks, so I’m hoping that if we are/were working on something then we’ve made a contingency plan (and that this hasn’t caught you by surprise).

Anyway, I’m gonna go be a Dad for a while. I’ll still read the odd book, and maybe even make some more music, but this isn’t a research fellowship—it’s parental leave. Have a great Autumn/Winter, and I’ll see you on the other side.

p.s. I really like the title of this post; inhabiting the liminal space between the the plainspoken declaration “I’m on parental leave” and the more philosophical (and pretentious) “On blah…” literary device.