OOTO is shorthand for Out Of The Office.
This is a commonly used terms in company emails to let everyone know that you will be out of the office.
Today is a big OOTO day since it's the day before a long weekend here in the United States of America.
I am not OOTO. I'm very much ITO—In The Office.
This is what my office day was like today.
First, Status Meeting 9:00 am
We have a status meeting every day at 9:00 a.m. I don’t know why this is. Not much changes day-to-day but we still have to be there. The hardest part of this status meeting is being on time. The second hardest part is listening. It’s easy to drift.
Where was I?
We rush to be there on time. I imagine the hell other status attendees face from 8:55 to 9:00 every morning. Careening around corners, rushing to make elevators, forgoing stops for coffee, all to make it to a status meeting where the status doesn’t change much. I wonder if theirs is the same hell I go through, except my hell happens from 8:58 to 9:03. I’m late because I resent having to attend. I know this about myself. I’m aware. I don’t change my ways. It’s a passive aggressive thing. I know this.
I’m not much use when I’m there, but my job title corresponds to some process invented by someone a long time ago to attempt to make work flow more effective.
Sanjay unabashedly plays games on his phone during the status meeting. That is, when he makes it to the meeting at all.
Squealing Liam is always in attendance. In fact, he is always early for status and always tattles on those who are late. He’s the nice kid on the playground that even the nerds hated.
Head Mistress, the Project Manager, is akin to a bossy babysitter. She’s on task. She’s on time. She’s professional. I bet if she could do anything OOTO, she’d go grocery shopping or organize things or boss other people around.
If I didn’t have to be in the status meeting, I bet I would be on time for work. I bet I’d be a model employee. I might even be a bit early.
After the status meeting I check my email. Inevitably I get a few OOTO emails. People that will be out of the office because they are sick/meeting with the client/conference/vacation/etc. Everyone seems to explain why they are OOTO. I sigh when I read these emails. Then I start having OOTO fantasies. What would I like to do if I were OOTO?
First thing: Nap.
Out of all the good things I could do in life, I’d get to them all after a good long nap.
If I were OOTO, I would take my sweet time. I would not hurry at the grocery store or through my workouts or in conversations or showers. I would not race to a status meeting that makes corporate big wigs very rich and me very drained. Or fill out time sheets. Or go to stupid surprise birthday parties in the conference room.
I realize I’ve been whining. I know this. I’m aware. I also realize that my OOTO fantasy sounds a lot like retirement.
The world is currently experiencing a recession. Layoffs are everywhere. Factories are closing down. People are afraid. Whining doesn’t help matters. In fact, thanks to this recession, I have to be grateful for my job. It is hard enough to just show up mostly on time, but now I have to be grateful to have a job to go to.
Then there is the small fact that I get paid. That’s why I keep showing up for the status meeting, keep reading OOTO emails, keep being pleasant and keep exchanging the daily pleasantries required of office life.
“Hey, how are you?”
Great. Friggin' great.