I recently returned from vacation to a mountain of emails. Historically, I have deeply pondered taking vacations before pulling the trigger. Mainly because I have always detested ascending the Mt. Everest of emails I feel I am expected to summit as quickly as possible directly after taking any relaxing days off. This journey always, ALWAYS negates any positives the vacation brought and often leaves me a bit more mentally exhausted. I often find myself asking if the vacation was worth it. I do not have any constructive solutions to offer. I also want to point out I don’t have much of an ego and understand day to day business operations will not stop when I’m gone. I guess it would be nice if work would wave their collective hand, tell employees not to worry, and treat all vacations like email free zones. It would be refreshing for employees to have no responsibility to conquer the accumulated mass of emails upon their return.
Knowing the above is not going to happen, I trudge on and try to exercise my grateful muscle (my brain). I do understand with all 2020 has been and brought, I am thankful and have a deep appreciation for what the universe has put forward for me and I try to remind myself of this on a daily basis. However, the human condition is sometimes a bitch. The balance of torment and gratefulness sometimes tips more in one way or the other. When this happens I either feel more bliss or think perhaps the “big sleep” cannot be that bad, but perhaps I am being a bit dramatic.
While cleaning up the rest of my emails this past week, I became even more acutely aware of the “canned” responses Gmail features as possible acknowledgements that can be selected and sent back to the sender. Examples are, ” Sounds great”, “Thanks for the clarification”, “Good”, and other similar replies. On this particular day, I think my “canned” response could have been “Are you f*@cking kidding me!” as I was making my way through this electronic communication imprisonment that was tethered to my fingers and my brain. Maybe because of my mood, I kept seeing an automated response I was not accustomed to seeing from Gmail and I was instantly perplexed because I did not agree with the punctuation. I wasn’t seeing the response on all emails, just a smattering. At first, I thought maybe someone at Gmail just had enough of 2020, because the formulated response I thought I saw said, “Sorry, I can’t take it.”
I am not saying I did not agree with the response, because I did, I do. But I had difficulty understanding why it ended with a period and not an exclamation point. Then I looked a little more closely and actually squinted at the phrase and then I realized I have to accept I need to start wearing my glasses on heavy computer days. It also became abundantly clear why this response only showed up when receiving a request from someone who wanted me to attend a meeting, because what it actually said, ” Sorry, I can’t make it. I was instantly a little relieved there was not a despondent staff person at Google who was crying out for help in a misdirected or misguided way though Gmail. However, it is important to mention how much I wanted this response to be real, because the feeling is just so 2020.