When It Comes To Your Auto-Reply, Don't Get Caught With Your Pants Down | Gwen Darling | Healthcare Blogs Skip to content Skip to navigation

When It Comes To Your Auto-Reply, Don't Get Caught With Your Pants Down

March 19, 2010
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Over at Healthcare IT Central, we send out a Weekly Job Alert email to some 5000+ subscribers who want to be the first to know when a new opportunity presents itself. Because I am a firm believer in the value of personal relationships, especially in a field immersed in technology, we send the email from my personal email address, which means I get my fair share of responses. I try to answer each one – usually it’s a quick question or a request for more information, or a thank you, which is especially gratifying to receive. All good. But I also get the auto-responders – the “vacation” reply, the “so and so is no longer with us (aka fired)” reply, and the “out of the office on business” reply. Usually I don’t pay much attention to these – delete, delete, delete. But since the majority of our subscribers were at HIMSS10 a few weeks back, the volume increased significantly. Always thinking of the next great blog post idea, I thought it would fun to compare the ones that came from hospital CIOs, so I sorted through the pool of replies and came to a startling realization:

Many CIOs are wearing the equivalent of Granny panties when it comes to their auto reply.

I’m fairly certain that all women reading this post know exactly what I’m referring to when I talk about “Granny panties.” Granny panties (or emergency panties in some circles), are the last resort panties that a woman wears when she’s in a hurry and behind on the laundry. I think I can safely speak for all women when I say that we all have a pair, and I’m also confident in saying that the thought that crosses all of our minds as we yank them on is, “Please, God, don’t let me get into an accident.” Guys have them, too – those boxers you got for Valentine’s Day with the big arrow pointing you know where, the Homer Simpson briefs that you secretly think are cool – you know the ones.

So, what do Granny panties have to do with a hospital CIO’s auto replies? Take a look at three real examples of responses I received:

“I will be in Vegas at HIMSS for the week of March 1st and will have limited access to email or my cell phone. If this is about the ________ position, please contact the HR Manger at . . .

“I will be out of the office during the week of March 1st for the anal HIMSS conference. I will be checking email . . .”

“I will be at HIMSS from February 28 – May 4th. If you need me. . . “

Like your Granny panties outfit, most auto replies are pulled together in haste - the last thing you do before flying out the door. And like Granny panties, you certainly wouldn’t want examples such as these to be thought of as representative of what you had to offer every day. Obviously a hospital CIO IS one of the sharpest tools in the shed. But Vegas? Spelling errors? A big (Freudian?) slip on the word “annual?” A two-month long HIMSS? What if a candidate who was applying for a position in your department submitted an application with similar errors – would you question their attention to detail? Their professionalism? Their ability to do a good job? I’m thinking you would. Because that’s what I was thinking about when I read these auto replies (and many more just like them). Well, about that . . . and Granny panties.

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