A fundamental misunderstanding

About a 3 weeks ago, I followed Tim Ferriss’ advice and setup an auto responder on my email. It said that I had a full workload and was checking my emails twice a day, but in the event of an emergency or something urgent, give me a call. The exact wording is below:

Dear Colleague,

Due to high workload, I check email twice daily at 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM EST. I respond to urgent email at those times and endeavor to respond to all other email once a week, on Fridays at 9:00 AM EST.

If you require urgent assistance (please ensure that it is urgent) that cannot wait until either 9:00 AM or 4:00 PM, please contact me via phone at XXX-XXX-XXXX.

Thank you for understanding this move to more efficiency and effectiveness. It helps me accomplish more to serve you better.

Sincerely,

Jered

The only problem with auto responders is that they respond to everyone. I know that is the point of an auto response, but my place of work is run by people who have a fundamental misunderstanding of both email and productivity.

I was told to remove my auto-responder.

A auto generated message was sent by the president, who passed it on to a VP, then to a associate VP, to a director and finally to me. The message was presented to me as “the president says you need to remove your auto responder”.

My auto responder was probably seen as lacking in customer service, instead of, what a friend coined: “Oh, that’s just an autoresponse email. Definitely not meant to suggest anything other than here’s an employee who is really trying to focus on getting things done for the University. I think Jered is taking a proactive stand on his work, and wouldn’t it be great if more people were as focused and dedicated as him?”

Like the title says, a fundamental misunderstanding.