Freelancer vacations often look a little different than traditional PTO. You’re taking conference calls by a pool in Palm Springs or reviewing feedback in the bathroom at your friend’s wedding.
But when you really can’t answer the phone or email due to mitigating circumstances, it’s a good idea to have an out-of-office (OOO) message. This not only softens the blow of being unavailable, but it also helps communicate expectations while you’re away.
We’ve all seen the standard OOO replies, but freelancers may have to get a little more creative with the approach to satisfy their clients. What if you’re on vacation traveling to another universe? Or what if you find yourself in Florida, which, depending on the part of the state, may also be part of a different universe?
Freelancing can be ridiculous sometimes. So here are some equally ridiculous OOO replies that might be handier than you think.
Out of scope in outer space
Thanks so much for your message! I’m not here to answer it because I’M IN FREAKIN’ SPACE! I know I didn’t plan on vacation time while working on this project, but when Warren Buffet decides to throw his hat into the billionaire space race, and then picks you at random to come along with him, you just can’t say no!
Do I personally agree with the wealthiest men in the world using their disposable income to launch themselves into space when they could be solving climate change, childhood hunger, and homelessness? I would answer that, but the NDA I signed prevents me from doing so! I’ll get back to you ASAP (as soon as I’m back on the planet).
Your birth plan = your coverage plan
Hi there! I’m happy to announce that I’ve finally gone into labor. Blame my soon-to-be-mom-brain, but I made the mistake of not prepping an OOO beforehand. Given that maternity leave is all but nonexistent for independent contractors, a couple contractions can’t stop me—don’t worry, I’m still on schedule to make those deadlines. I’ll get to any and all deliverables right after delivery. Just give me 8-12 hours.
Adjusting deliverables for Florida Man
Hello and sorry for missing your message. I’m currently in Pensacola, Florida. I was visiting cousins who live here, and they’ve become local celebrities for wrestling alligators. Unfortunately, one of them took a bite out of my laptop (the gator, not my cousins, though those teens have been known to get a little rabid themselves). I’ll get back to you after we track it down and wrestle my laptop back.
When the singularity finally happens
Thanks for your message. I’m sorry to report that I’ve suffered an unfortunate accident. Fortunately, my consciousness lives on. My family is currently uploading it to an AI freelancer. You might be wondering, “What does this mean for our deadline?” The good news is, as long as the AI is working, then I’m working, baby! Just gotta wait another 72 hours before my entire consciousness gets uploaded.
Doing the unthinkable
Today, I’m unavailable because I’m taking a personal day. “What is a personal day?” you may ask. It’s when the world simply feels too heavy upon your tender freelance shoulders, and you just need to sit without any technology or people in your space. And a personal day is happening, right now, for me. Honestly, it feels revolutionary. Am I Joan of Arc? Mahatma Gandhi? While you decide, I’ll be over here having a moment (e.g. on the floor with my eyes closed). Peace be with you.