When On Leave and Away Messages Do Not Apply


It's December and Christmas is in a few days time, over the years of working life, this year is the only year where I am still working my ass off till the very end of this holiday season. Don't get me wrong I am not complaining here but more so a reflection on how things have changed and it's no longer days where I can just call a day off whenever I like.

For those who have been working for yourself, including those who doesn't own your own company not business but works on a own time own pace kinda arrangement, you will know working more means higher returns and taking a day off means there may be missed opportunities or clients may not get their requests met. To whom may be very upset you didn't reply their email within the day and start to message you on Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger. Oh how I hate technologies on certain days when I truly just wanted a quiet day off.

With the possibility for emails to be linked to mobile phone, being out of office or away no longer have the same effect as in the past. Right? I see many of us replying an email within an hour of receiving their automated away message in the mailbox. But hey! They are still checking and replying to emails. Don't we ever really go on leave anymore these days?

I'm guilty of doing the exact same things. Because I work for myself and technically I do not have annual leaves nor medical leave to apply for, I am ALWAYS working. Even on weekends! Up till a point when my hubby has to send me a Whatsapp message from the living room to remind me it's time to spend time with my girls (it was 8pm in the evening). My heart aches. A LOT!

I vowed to myself two weeks ago that I shall tear myself away from work this week and just focus and do things for and with my family. And just enjoy the holiday season like how I had been doing for the past 13 years. And look where I am now! In the train to a whole day of meetings scheduled and typing this post while traveling. I hate myself!

Just two more days I said. And I will SET THE DAMN AWAY MESSAGE and ignore all emails till after Christmas. I don't care if you need the list of influencers for your pitch, I don't care if you needed to report for your management and I don't care you needed that very last minute urgent requests carried out. I don't care because it's Christmas! All of you have to take a break too and recharge for an even more productive 2016! So come on let's turn on that automated away message and BE AWAY 100%! Our mailboxes should take a break too you know. Ha!

Have a Merry Christmas and an Awesome New Year!


  1. I totally understand. My phone used to beep incessantly with notification for incoming emails from various inboxes, facebook messages, twitter alert, IG alert, etc etc. I have now turned all of them off. Nothing I do involves life and death, so clients and work can wait :)

  2. It really ain't easy being a working Mum. Sometimes, we really do need that 'I don't care' work attitude to fulfill our calling and roles at home. Oh well, leave the hard work to the New Year ahead. Enjoy the season!

  3. wow. you need a well deserved, quiet and relaxing holiday. I find myself more on the laptop than with my kids at times. really need to change my focus and remind myself.

  4. Oh yes do peel yourself away from work and enjoy the holidays with your family! I know easier said than done with the work you're doing now.. but ya, hope you get to achieve this.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

  5. Actually we need to set our mind to that holiday time with family. Entire year we are so busy with emails, messages that this time of the year should be no internet time :) Wish to follow that soon sometime.

  6. Too right. Now with smartphones and being contactable 'on-the-go', everyone expect an immediate reply to every message, and sometimes we just have to say STOP.

  7. I know what you mean. In fact, I do that all the time (working even when I'm on leave) as an employee. But I enjoy being on top of things. I don't like to hand over my stuff and come back to a messy table. I'd rather not put an Out Of Office notice on the email and attend to my clients as if I was seated at my desk. When I quit my job and go on holidays without a care in the world, I put my mobile phone in a safety box. It feels Really GOOD!

  8. Dear Claudia, please pace yourself so you won't get burnt out...I agree too that now our bosses, our clients and even our colleagues expect 'instant' replies even when we are on MC or annual leave or child sick leave. Connectedness has drawn the world closer but also turned us into work horses. Your health is important so do prioritise and try to take a good look at your workload for 2016. Hope you'll get some time to relax and recharge before the year ends!

  9. You know what, Claudia? Your circumstances reminded me EXACTLY how I was just a couple of months back, when I was working for somebody else on a own-time-own-pace kinda arrangement.... except that own time own pace = working for more than 18 hours a day and even at 11PM, I was still replying messages and emails.

    It was ridiculous. My husband was so annoyed with me because phone calls would come in any time, including dinner time (don't clients need to eat????). Eventually, I made the decision to leave. Because I know if I don't, I will never stop. I earn significantly lesser now, but I can finally breathe, do crafts, spend time with my kiddos (which was why I resigned from my full time job in the first place) and just live a life.

    Praying that you can find a balance in 2016!!


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