Admittedly, the most humorless texts in electronic communication are not notifications of absence, but the disclaimers of banks and insurance companies: What I am not allowed to do if the e-mail of a bank employee reaches me by mistake takes almost as much room as what he or she actually wants to convey to me with the content. Most absence messages, however, are so technocratic and stubbornly blunt that I start to consider whether I should ever write to this person again. “I currently don’t have access to my e-mails” is a very popular wording but quite unconvincing in times of widespread Wi-Fi. And in most cases, the non-accessible person answers within half an hour, often with the introduction “I happened to be able to look at my inbox”. Pah! I like this one almost as much: “I only read my e-mails sporadically.” Who cares how often a conversation partner checks his or her e-mails? Only MY message should be read quickly or – even better – answered. And if you don’t want to send e-mails, apparently rejecting this form of direct communication, you’re mosten certainly even less interested to get in touch by phone. Yet, the best one of the dozens of absence messages that I receive throughout the year is this: “Due to the heavy mail traffic, all e-mails are deleted during my fourteen-day absence. If your e-mail is important, please send it again at the end of my absence”. And that honestly isn’t made up. Last but not least, here’s a tip from the ultimate “Career Bible” (that’s really what it’s called!): “Extend your holidays virtually with an absence message, so that you can get into your daily work more easily”. All right, all right!