And as work ended for the day, my holiday officially started :D
As per the suggestions of upper management, I (and several of my workmates) will be taking the this Thursday, and next Tuesday and Wednesday off. Couple that with the Monday and Friday already being public holidays thanks to the Easter weekend, and we're each gonna have a week-long break!
Now I can guess as to why the big wigs were encouraging all of us to take our leave as a cost-cutting measure during the recession - something about how leave not used is costing the company money - but despite their agenda, if they're encouraging me to spend extended periods of time away from my desk, I'm not going to say no. So as the office quietened down and people started leaving for their long long weekends, I got my own stuff in order, including the automated out-of-office reply.
I never came across the out-of-office reply until I started full-time work. I believe Gmail has an equivalent feature with their On Vacation automated reply e-mails, but it's a very handy thing that lets anybody who e-mails you know that you're away. Some people often say whether they're on leave or sick, when they're returning, and sometimes a secondary contact is mentioned who is available to help should they want to seek somebody else who kinda knows your job. Many out-of-office replies I've encountered are very professional: quick, concise, and straight to the point. Others however, like mine when I first started work, tend to beat around the bush.
I often liked to include a little backstory. If the leave was around a major public holiday, then I ended-up personifying the holiday and saying how it coerced me to get out of the office. If the leave was some kind of personal vacation, then I liked to write about the sorts of things I'd be doing.
It was all great fun coming up with these mini stories, but over time I did get told that they were a tad inappropriate, and not at all informative. With the assignment to my current project in which the client is a rather serious government department, I've had to compromise.
So no, I never got to talk about how the Easter bunny had swept me away (in a non-paedophile manner) towards my leave, nor did I get to say how it left me a trail of chocolate egss to lead me out of the building and into a dungeon of my own making in which I'll be stuck for a whole week. Instead, the first line reads:
The Easter Bunny has kicked me out of the office, and so I begin my Epic Easter Leave.
It's pretty tame, but I don't imagine anybody else mentioning what the Easter bunny did to them, let alone mention the Easter bunny at all. And for that, I can still claim the prize for originality amongst my peers.