First mail and newspapers, then voicemail, now e-mail as an indicator
We have spoken in the past about how imprudent it is to tell strangers you are going to be leaving your house empty and unguarded for an extended period of time. And that when you call your newspaper delivery service and tell them to hold your paper for two weeks (you should be so lucky as to get two weeks off!) or call the post office and tell some disembodied voice to hold your mail, you are doing just that. It is much better and safer to have someone you know and trust pick up your mail and newspapers.
We have also written about how your voicemail messages can tell much too much. Nothing personal, but if I call your home and get a message saying you will be away from now ‘til then, I don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize that you will be away from now ‘til then. And, frankly, it is not all that much more difficult to figure it out if I get the message on your office voicemail: I can safely guess that if you are out of your office for two weeks you may not be home during that period. And it doesn’t help if you tell me you are on vacation, or even that you will be working on the Mugwump Project in your Texas research facility for two weeks. It is better to have your secretary pick up your voicemail and deal with anything urgent.
It also doesn’t help if we send you an email and get an auto-response saying you are on vacation, or away working. Now, crazy as it seems, if we send you an email on December 23rd and don’t hear from you for a few days, we probably will not be overcome with either worry or surprise: We know that people like to have time at home on the big holidays, and telling us when and where you are going is not really necessary. But if you are going to be away for weeks at a time you may wish to have someone deal with your email, just as they deal with you home mail, your office mail, and your voice mail, for all the obvious reasons.