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Automatic Reply

Automatic Reply: “I am currently in Oklahoma chasing storms”

Maria Hollenhorst Jul 3, 2019
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View of tornado in Cordell, Oklahoma on May 22, 1981
NOAA Photo Library/Getty Images

Automatic Reply celebrates the pithy, surprising or otherwise amusing “out-of-office” email messages pinging around workplaces.


Harvard University does not have an atmospheric sciences program for undergraduates, but that did not stop Matthew Cappucci from studying it. “I was a little department of one,” he said. I took classes in five different departments. I went to M.I.T. a couple days a week, I took mainly grad school classes, and tried to wrap all that into one concentration.”

Even more unique than his undergraduate major, though, was his out-of-office message:

“I get out-of-office email responders from bosses and from colleagues and they’re always so templative and boring,” Cappucci said. “So I figured I’d spruce mine up a little bit … it was late at night when I was making it. I was trying to think of what my hopes and dreams were and I poured them all into one email message.”

It’s your turn. Tell us about an unusual out-of-office message you’ve seen.

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