10 Hilarious Out of Office Messages You Will Want to Copy

Leaving for vacation? Heading to a work conference? Beset with the flu? You’re taking a break from email correspondence, which means it’s time to set up the dreaded “out of office” message. Not only is it a bore to write, most people will be less than delighted to read it when they were expecting a real response from you.

But what if you could turn this necessary evil into a way of engaging with people that’s informative, memorable, and even fun? Maybe they wouldn’t be as disappointed to get your away message instead of getting you.

For those who are ready to stand out from the crowd, we’ve gathered ten hilarious out of office messages that will inspire you to raise the bar the next time you sit down to write an autoresponder.

1Keeping It Real

I am currently out of the office on vacation.

I know I’m supposed to say that I’ll have limited access to email and won’t be able to respond until I return, but that’s not true. My iPhone will be with me and I can respond if I need to. And I recognize that I’ll probably need to interrupt my vacation from time to time to deal with something urgent.

That said, I promised my wife that I am going to try to disconnect, get away and enjoy our vacation as much as possible. So, I’m going to experiment with something new. I’m going to leave the decision in your hands:

• If your email truly is urgent and you need a response while I’m on vacation, please resend it to interruptyourvacation@firstround.com and I’ll try to respond to it promptly. • If you think someone else at First Round Capital might be able to help you, feel free to email my assistant, Fiona, and she’ll try to point you in the right direction.

Otherwise, I’ll respond when I return…

Warm regards,


Sometimes honesty is the best course of action. Venture capitalist Josh Kopelman shares the facts, then presents the option to choose your own adventure. Do you really want to interrupt his vacation?

2A Day in the Life of an Autoresponder

Digital marketing guru Ann Handley has become legendary for her humorous out of office responses. Getting an auto-reply is by definition impersonal, but Ann turns a cold response into a friendly conversation through some clever personification, while also promoting the event she’s attending. Genius!

Guess who is available on email and who is *not* available on email this week!

Who is on email: Me, the email auto-responder.

Who is mostly not on email: Ann.

Fun fact: Ann and I never, EVER are on duty at the same time. (Mind blown, right?)

Being an auto-responder is not a bad gig. Upside: I spend the vast majority of my time sitting around, waiting for Ann to take a vacation or for the B2B Forum to roll around.

The latter is precisely what’s going on now! The B2B Forum might be an awesome event for B2B marketers. But for me, it’s like my Chrismakwanzakah — HOORAY! I have something to do today aside from make microwave nachos and binge-watch Netflix!

(What’s the B2B Forum? See here: mpb2b.marketingprofs.com. You can probably still buy a ticket. I cannot. I got work to do!)

You can also peek at what she’s up to in Boston here: http://instagram.com/AnnHandley.

Thanks for swinging by! More importantly, thanks for giving my life purpose and meaning!

Your friend,

Email auto-responder (Repping Ann)

3It Rhymes!


Rejection doesn’t have to hurt. Why not soften the blow with an adorable poem that informs and delights?

Thanks for the email, but I’m afraid to say I cannot reply as I am away. A conference in Canada is where you’ll find me, Follow it on Twitter – #SMSociety.

4“Hi, I’m Troy McClure!”

We’re not sure who wrote the original Troy McClure out of office message, but this version by Paul Sokol of Infusionsoft is a real gem.

Hi, I’m Troy McClure! You may remember me from such classic Out of Office Messages as “I’m at Outside Lands Watching Metallica” or “Visiting My Family in Florida.” I’m here today to talk to you about Paul Sokol, and the email you just sent him.

(Enter Billy, 8 years old, doe-eyed)

Billy: Mr. McClure? Why is Paul not answering any emails right now?

Troy: The answer is simple Billy: Paul is in San Diego this weekend providing support for an event and nowhere near his work email.

Billy: When is he going to be coming back?

Troy: He will be back on Monday morning.

Billy: Is he going to reply to the email they just sent?

Troy: If it warrants a response, Billy. If it warrants a response…

(Exit Billy)

That’s all for now. Watch for me in the upcoming Out of Office Message “At a Wedding,” coming this winter!

5There’s a Graph for That

Don’t have time to craft the perfect response? A relatable comic or infographic is all you need.


6Fun With Pop Culture

Take a cue from PR guru Gini Dietrich—make your message memorable by framing it with a pop culture reference.



Is this heaven? No, it’s Iowa.

That’s where I’ll be for the next couple of days, giving my last out of town keynote of the year (yay!). I don’t know if there really is a Field of Dreams, but I’ll be in search of it in between checking emails and getting back to you as quickly as I can.

If you need something while I’m stuck in a corn field, you can send a note to my assistant and she will be happy to help you.

7A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words


An emoji autoresponder? It’s cute, it’s effective, and they might actually read it!

8The Revolution



If they’re not happy with your response they can blame the robots—if they dare.

9Choose Wisely

Reducing email volume is key. Take this opportunity to express your draconian streak.

I am on annual leave until dd/mm/yyyy. I will allow each sender one email and if you send me multiple emails, I will randomly delete your emails until there is only one remaining. Choose wisely. Please note that you have already sent me one email.

10Too Much Nyquil

Taking a sick day? There’s humor in there somewhere. When your out of office message gets out of hand, you can always blame it on the Nyquil.

It is with sincere regret that I inform you that I feel like a porcupine has climbed down my throat and up into my head. I came to work this morning because I did not want to miss our busy Monday morning and with hopes this would pass. Alas I continue to sound and feel like the [expletive] I nearly stepped in this morning. I shall now retire to my place where bed and T.V. are so that I can nurse a bottle of Nyquil until I succumb to the purple haze of that cherry-flavored syrup. Please excuse my absence and rest assured that I will not be spreading my misery to others in the office.



P.S. Please forgive the absurdity of this email as I feel the sickness and medication have clouded my professional judgment.

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If You Want to Know How to Apologize, First Do This…

If you want to succeed at apologizing, start by telling yourself you’re awesome.

The advice sounds counterintuitive. It’s common knowledge that if you want to make a real apology, the kind that’s meaningful and sincere, you have to start by setting aside your ego. But that’s easier said than done, because research shows that not admitting we’re wrong is pretty emotionally satisfying. Often, when we try to make apologies we end up mounting a defense instead.

Why We’re So Bad at Apologizing

We’ve all heard apologies like this one:

“Hey, I’m sorry you’re upset. I didn’t mean to suggest that your input doesn’t matter, but when you were speaking during the meeting I was trying to process my own thoughts, which is why I interrupted you. I apologize.”

Eeee-yeah. That’s not an apology; that’s a justification for bad behavior.

Let’s break it down.

What the apologizer said:

Hey, I’m sorry you’re upset.


I don’t like it that you’re mad at me.

What the apologizer said:

I didn’t mean to suggest that your input doesn’t matter, but when you were speaking during the meeting I was trying to process my own thoughts, which is why I interrupted you.


The thoughts I was formulating were more important to me than what you had to say.

What the apologizer said:

I apologize.


Sorry, not sorry.

Good people sometimes behave badly. There’s a difference between acting like a jerk in the moment and being one full-time. Unfortunately, when you’re faced with the need to own up to jerk-like behavior, your brain has to work overtime to convince you that you did something wrong, and that’s not a pleasant experience.

We’re terrible at apologizing because we don’t want to feel bad about ourselves. We have an innate need to preserve our positive self image. Because of this, setting aside our egos long enough to make a sincere apology may seem easy enough in theory . . . but it’s a lot more difficult in practice.

Of course, failing to apologize effectively can be toxic to workplace and other relationships. We tend to resent and dislike people who can’t own up to their mistakes. Those who always deflect the blame are challenging to get along with.

How to Use Self-Affirmation to Apologize . . . For Real

There’s good news, though. We become much better at apologizing when we remind ourselves of our own good qualities just before we approach someone we’ve wronged to admit that we screwed up.

In 2014, Karina Schumann, a Stanford University psychologist, published a research paper demonstrating that self-affirmation leads to better apologies. She discovered that people who practiced affirmation were less likely to be defensive and included more elements of an actual admission of wrongdoing in their apologies.

Apologizing begins with saying a few positive words to yourself. A one-size-fits-all affirmation won’t work here, though—you have to make it personal. Think about your sources of self-worth. Maybe you’re really good at your job and generally well-liked. Maybe your parenting skills are off the charts and your kids are turning out awesome. Or it could be that you’re creative and full of ideas. Whatever it is, have a little chat with yourself about it before you step up to apologize. It could go something like this:

I’m good at relating to people. Here at work, my colleagues often turn to me for advice and guidance because I’m open-minded and kind.

When you think about what makes you feel good about yourself, you’re disarming your defenses. Now you’re ready to apologize.

Elements of a Perfect Apology

Because you know that your mistake was a momentary lapse and not a long-term value judgment, you can be sincere. Find a quiet time when you’re less likely to be interrupted and then address the person you’ve wronged.

  • Say you’re sorry. Not, “I’m sorry, but . . .”, just plain ol’ “I’m sorry.”
  • Own the mistake. It’s important to show the other person that you’re willing to take responsibility for your actions.
  • Describe what happened. The wronged person needs to know that you understand what happened and why it was hurtful to them. Make sure you remain focused on your role rather than deflecting the blame.
  • Have a plan. Let the wronged person know how you intend to fix the situation.
  • Admit you were wrong. It takes a big person to own up to being wrong. But you’ve already reminded yourself that you’re a big person. You’ve got this.
  • Ask for forgiveness. A little vulnerability goes a long way toward proving that you mean what you say.

Now, instead of the lukewarm apology above, your apology might look like this:

I’m very sorry for the way I behaved in the meeting. It was unacceptable for me to interrupt while you were talking. You must’ve felt like I didn’t value your contribution. I realize that I struggle with impulse control, so I’ve asked people to call me out if I interrupt them during conversations. I really do want to hear what you have to say. I was wrong, and I hope you can forgive me.”

It’s as simple (and as difficult) as that. No justifying your bad behavior, no making excuses or blaming someone or something else, and no minimizing the hurt you caused by saying “I didn’t really mean it” or “I was just kidding.”

Owning up to your own bad behavior is never easy. But, if you bolster your self-worth before you set out to apologize, it doesn’t have to be soul-crushing, either.

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Lesson 241 – Parts of the Sentence – Verbals Review

Instructions: Using all the knowledge learned in the previous lessons, find the verbs (v), subjects (subj), predicate nominatives (pn), direct objects (do), appositives (app), nouns of address (na), adjectives (adj), predicate adjectives (pa), adverbs (adv), prepositions (prep), objects of the preposition (op), prepositional phrases (p ph), indirect objects (io), and objective complements (oc) in the following sentences.
If the word is a verbal, tell whether it is a gerund, participle, noun infinitive, adjective infinitive, or adverb infinitive. Tell which word the adjective, adverb, prepositional phrase, verbal, orverbal phrase modify.
Example: The actors performed there to entertain and to be seen. (performed = verb, actors = subject, the = adjective modifying actors, there = adverb modifying performed, to entertain/to be seen = adv. infinitives modifying performed, and = conjunction)
1. I finally bought me a hearing aid to hear better.
2. Sometimes I just need to try again.
3. Having decided definitely, he stepped onto the train to leave home.
4. The person winning the lottery will have a different life.
5. You can only reach our place by crossing the river.
–For answers scroll down.

1. bought = verb, I = subject, finally = adverb modifying bought, me = indirect object, hearing aid = direct object, a = adjective modifying hearing aid, to hear better = adverb infinitive phrase modifying bought, better = adverb modifying to hear
2. need = verb, I = subject, sometimes/just = adverbs modifying need, to try again = noun infinitive phrase used as the direct object, again = adverb modifying to try
3. stepped = verb, he = subject, having decided definitely = participial phrase modifying he, definitely = adverb modifying having decided, onto the train = prepositional phase modifying stepped, onto = preposition, train = object of the preposition, the = adjective modifying train, to leave home = adverb infinitive phrase modifying stepped, home = adverb modifying to leave
4. will have = verb, person = subject, the = adjective modifying person, winning the lottery = participial phrase modifying person, lottery = direct object to the verbal winning, the = adjective modifying lottery, life = direct object, a/different = adjectives modifying life
5. can reach = verb, you = subject, only = adverb modifying can reach, place = direct object, our = adjective modifying place, by crossing the river = prepositional phrase modifying can reach, by = preposition, crossing the river = gerund phrase used as the object of the preposition, river = direct object to the verbal crossing, the = adjective modifying river

For your convenience, all of our lessons are available on our website in our lesson archive at http://www.dailygrammar.com/archive.html. Our lessons are also available to purchase in an eBook and a Workbook format.
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10 Common Interview Questions You Need to Know

You landed an interview! It feels great knowing that a hiring manager from a company you’re interested in working for is also interested in you. But now the pressure’s on—you’ve got to rock the interview.

Here are some of the most common interview questions, and our advice for the best way to answer them.

1Tell me about yourself.

This question is among the first that most interviewers ask, so it’s tempting to jump right in and start listing off all the qualities that make you the best person for the job. But resist. You’ll get to those questions soon. This one’s about breaking the ice.

Rather than talking about your professional skills, share something interesting that the interviewer might find relatable. You might talk about your hobbies or an interesting major life event you’ve gone through recently. Don’t forget to include activities like volunteer work. It’s helpful if you can point out how you’ve parlayed your interests into desirable job skills. Your oil painting hobby, for example, might translate to excellent attention to detail.

Be sure to keep the interests you share neutral. You’ll want to keep your participation in things like political rallies low key unless you’re applying for a job where political activity is relevant or expected.

Here’s a tip: Most companies put an emphasis on cultural fit. If you’ve done your research, and you noticed a blog post about the team’s company-wide kayaking trip last summer, this would be a great time to mention your interest in those types of outdoor sports.

2What are your greatest strengths?

Here’s your opportunity to shine and match your skills to the employer’s needs. What professional talents are you most proud of? What do people often compliment you on? If those skills intersect with what you know the employer is looking for, this is the time to talk about them.

Don’t forget about soft skills. If you’re a good listener, or a lifelong learner who’s always trying out new things, or a versatile person who’s able to fill lots of roles, share that information.

Script the answer to this question before your interview. Make lists of your strengths and then figure out which are the most relevant. Write out your answers. Then, pretend you’re a hiring manager and read what you’ve written. How would you react to the answers you just gave? Are there any red flags? Adjust accordingly.

3What are your weaknesses?

Don’t you love this question? It’s like the interviewer is saying, “Tell us why we shouldn’t hire you.” How do you respond?

Avoid mentioning any weaknesses that you don’t already have a plan for addressing. If you admit to being unorganized, tell the interviewer that you’ve started using some cool new apps that are helping you stay on task. However, don’t be afraid to let yourself be a little vulnerable—knowing and acknowledging your flaws shows that you value self-reflection and personal growth.

Can’t think of an honest answer to this question that won’t sink your career chances? Reflect on your last performance review. No one’s perfect, so it’s likely you were told to improve in an area or two. Now you can own up to those problem areas and share your methods for addressing them with the interviewer.

4Tell me about an achievement you’re really proud of.

Be prepared to share a significant professional achievement, and be prepared to back it up.

Just as when you’re writing a resume, remember that “show, don’t tell” is the golden rule. “I single-handedly turned our sales department around” is bragging, but when you say “Under my management, our sales team was able to increase their conversion rate by 87 percent over six months,” you’re showing that your efforts had a measurable effect.

Here’s a tip: Use the STAR method! First, describe the Situation that led up to your accomplishment and the Task you were required to tackle. Then describe the Action you took to address the problem. Finally, share the impressive Results.

5Why are you leaving your current job?

Make sure you keep your answer to this question short and positive. This isn’t the time to badmouth your current or previous employer. Rather than saying something like “There wasn’t enough opportunity for growth” you could say “I’m looking to expand my horizons and move into a more hands-on developmental role, which is where I know I’d excel.”

Things get trickier if you were fired from your last gig. The best response is a neutral one like “Unfortunately, the company and position were a mismatch for me, so I needed to find a new challenge.” Check Business Insider’s tips for other situations and possible answers.

6What brought you to [Company]?

Here’s where your research skills are going to shine! Prior to interviewing, a savvy job-seeker will have spent time on the company’s website and read articles about the company and its key players to develop a feel for its brand presence and culture.

Write down keywords you see frequently on the company’s About Us, Culture, and Employment pages. Look for adjectives used to describe the company and its team. If you see terms like innovative or competitive, you can use them in your answer:

“I’ve been eager to join a team that’s innovating in a way that keeps them competitive in this space.”

Here’s a tip: A word cloud generator can help you identify important keywords on company websites. Simply copy and paste the text from a page into the generator to see some of the prominent adjectives the employer uses.

7Tell me about a time when a customer or colleague disagreed with you. What did you do?

Here’s your chance to prove that you are so chill. Someone disagreed with you, but you kept your cool and worked through it. You could certainly talk about how you were able to persuade someone to see your point of view, especially if the role you’re applying for values that ability. (A sales role would be a good example.) However, this could also be the perfect opportunity to show that you work and play well with others. Try talking about a time when you learned something as the result of a disagreement and how it changed your perspective.

It’s all about story. Pick one that shows conflict with a good outcome and makes a positive statement about your ability to collaborate and grow. The Muse has more advice.

8What would your boss and colleagues say about you?

Honesty is the best policy here for many reasons. If you’re a first-class procrastinator, for example, don’t try to pass yourself off as super efficient. The key to a great interview is to emphasize your strengths while demonstrating an ability to learn and grow from your weaknesses.

Be specific and give examples. It may be true that your colleagues would say you’re a hard worker, but without a story to back that up, you’re just tossing out a cliché the interviewer has probably heard hundreds of times. Instead, tell a story about a time you put in extra effort and your colleagues and friends congratulated you on your hard work.

Look at past performance reviews if you’re having a hard time coming up with a specific example. It’s perfectly okay to quote from a positive review:

“In my last performance evaluation, my boss praised me for my creativity in putting together a new content strategy.”

9Where do you see yourself in five years?

Most job-seekers take this question in one of two directions—they’re either aggressively ambitious (“I want your job!”) or they’re too humble (“I just want to do the best work I can and see where my talents take me.”) Neither answer will do much to win you a position.

Instead, respond in a general way. Rather than saying “I see myself as Director of Marketing,” say “My goal is to be in a position where I can take on new challenges. I’d like to take on more management responsibilities, so I’m on the lookout for opportunities to develop my skills in that area.”

10Why should we hire you?

Don’t you just hate this question? It’s tempting to list your sterling qualities, but odds are that your competitors have a lot of the same qualities, which doesn’t exactly make you stand out. Instead of repeating a laundry list of skills and attributes, try restating what you understand about the company’s needs and the position, and then explaining why you’re a good fit. Here’s an example of that strategy in action from Forbes:

”From what I understand about the job, it’s a position that requires a lot of fast activity during the day, and that’s the kind of job I thrive in. I love to stay busy and wear a lot of hats. Is my assessment of the environment on target?

Dress for the job you want, smile confidently, and offer a firm handshake, but remember to do a little behind-the-scenes interview prep. It can mean the difference between walking away with a sinking feeling and walking away with a job.

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How Game of Thrones Characters Would Approach a Writing Assignment

Though A Song of Ice and Fire was not written to be a writing guide, there are many valuable lessons in the epic that can be broadly applied to different facets of life.

Spoiler alert

In this post, we will be analyzing characters and their development throughout book five of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire and season seven of HBO’s Game of Thrones to understand what lessons certain characters can offer to improve your writing.

Tyrion Lannister

Don’t shy away from your unique (writing) style.


Tyrion is the youngest of the three Lannister siblings and an outcast. Yet, he has wisely chosen to own his small stature and “monstrous” appearance, which gives him a unique perspective of the world. He even advises such to Jon Snow:

Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you.

Tyrion shines with self-confidence. From his witty one-liners to passing off his own wisdom as “ancient and timeless,” he embodies the truth that his voice matters. Striving for the same authenticity to yourself, your writing will shine.

Samwell Tarly

Use the resources around you, freely share your insights, and try some poetry.


Samwell Tarly is a noble whose strengths as a bookish scholar didn’t live up to the expectations of his house, which forced him into the brotherhood of the Night’s Watch. As an assistant to Maester Aemon of the Night’s Watch, Samwell’s true strengths—his loyalty, resourcefulness, and insight—come to the fore. These traits continually serve him and those around him as he travels to the Citadel at Oldtown, where he uncovers a source of Dragonglass (which kills Whitewalkers), cures Jorah Mormont of Grayscale, and offers some editorial advice to Archmaester Ebrose about the title of his book—“Possibly something a bit more … poetic.”

George R.R. Martin himself has even identified with Samwell Tarly, which has led some to speculate that Samwell Tarly is actually the narrator/writer of A Song of Ice and Fire. Learn from him and you’ll be in fine (writing) company.

Jon Snow

Rely on your support network to create better (writing) solutions.


Jon Snow begins his journey as an underappreciated bastard of House Stark and hesitatingly rises to lead the Night’s Watch. Eventually, he is elected Lord of Winterfell. Jon Snow, guided by a sense of duty and loyalty to his team rather than by ambition, seeks counsel and consensus almost to a fault. This tendency to rely on his support network and the wisdom of his council helps him to lead well, however. This is exemplified in both his election as Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch and Lord of Winterfell, when supporters speak on his behalf.

Improve your writing the same way by regularly seeking feedback from respected peers.

Daenerys Targaryen

Trust your intuition and be bold!


Daenerys Targaryen, Khaleesi, Breaker of Chains, Mother of Dragons. . . whatever you call her, you cannot deny her accomplishments. As an orphan exiled from her homeland, she has overcome many hardships to assert her claim to the Iron Throne of Westeros, including ending the slave trade and bringing dragons back from extinction.

One of her guiding characteristics throughout all this achievement is the faith she has in herself and her intuition. Quite often she trusts her intuition of what is right in spite of contrary advice, and her instinct doesn’t fail her.

Are you looking to improve your writing? Trust your instincts.

Lyanna Mormont

Be direct. Use short sentences.


This young Lady of Bear Island was orphaned at age ten after the Red Wedding and became one of the youngest leaders in Westeros. Though her participation has only picked up recently in the series, her style is iconic—demonstrated as early as Season 5, when she is asked to bend the knee to Stannis Baratheon:

“Bear Island knows no king but the King in the North, whose name is Stark.”

Lyanna is a master of brevity. Her bold, confident directness silences those around her and lends her a tenacity all her own.

Bolster your own writing by using the same technique: keep it simple.

Davos Seaworth

Don’t be afraid to learn something new.


Davos Seaworth, or the Onion Knight, is a reformed smuggler whose loyalties lie with whomever he sees as the greatest hope for the people. In his journey to support those leaders, he hasn’t shied away from the learning he has had to pursue. He unashamedly takes reading lessons from a child. He willingly admits his wrongs and his lack of familiarity with traditions. He embraces the need to continually learn rather than seeing it as a failing or weakness.

Becoming a great writer is a learning process. Humble yourself to that and see where it will take you.

Margaery Tyrell

Know your audience.


Margaery Tyrell, wife of Joffrey and later Tommen Baratheon, was raised to master court politics at Highgarden. While in King’s Landing, she excels, garnering the love of the people as well as her husbands. The personalization she shows to the people she is with wins her power quickly. She caters to her audience so well that Queen Regent Cersei Lannister begins to doubt her own influence over her son, King Tommen, and orchestrates Margaery’s demise.

Learn about your audience and give what you can to them in your writing.

Melisandre, The Red Woman

Don’t overestimate your own opinion.


Where self-confidence and instinct can improve the authenticity and effectiveness of your writing, Melisandre, a Red Priestess of the Lord of Light, shows how over-confidence can lead you astray. Born an orphan and trained as a priestess, Melisandre is so convinced of her powers of prophecy that she leads Stannis Baratheon to wage a war he catastrophically loses after sacrificing his own daughter in a vain effort to gain favor with the Red God.

This experience teaches Melisandre that her interpretations of the prophecy are not, in fact, perfect and that much can be lost from valuing your skills and opinion too highly.

The writing tip here? Learn to balance your instinct and self-confidence with gut-checks now and then to be sure you’re on the right track.

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How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty (at All!)

No is one of the shortest words in English, but also it’s one of the most difficult to say. The problem isn’t pronunciation. Many people feel guilty when they have to turn down a request—especially one from a friend, colleague, or family member.

How can you decline a request without those pesky feelings of guilt? Let’s look at some scenarios you might face at the workplace. Why is saying no the right thing to do in each situation?

Sue wants to learn to use a new software program. You’re proficient, but you don’t enjoy teaching others.

Why It’s Okay to Say No

Is providing tech training part of your job description? If not, you have no obligation to do it. Sue would learn best from a willing teacher. If you politely refuse, you’ll avoid doing her a disservice, and she’ll be free to find a teacher committed to her success.

How to Say No Without Guilt

Thank your colleague for complimenting your abilities. Point out that while you are familiar with the program, you are not much of a teacher. Suggest another way for her to accomplish her goal. For example, you might send her a link to an online tutorial that helped you or encourage her to ask the boss to arrange training for everyone who needs support.

Your boss needs someone to work this Saturday. Weeks ago, you arranged to have the day off for a special event in your life. Even though he approved your request, now he is asking if you’ll rearrange your schedule to work an extra shift. You declined, but you just received another email from him asking you to reconsider.

Why It’s Okay to Say No

Mental health experts encourage a healthy work-life balance. If work always crowds out your other interests, you’ll soon experience burnout that will prevent you from working at your highest potential. In this case, saying no will set a precedent for your work relationship in the future. Your boss might never respect your “no” if you weaken and give in to his request. If the special event is important and you’ve followed company procedures, you shouldn’t feel bad about taking time for yourself.

How to Say No Without Guilt

When dealing with authority, you might propose a compromise. “Thanks for inviting me to work on the project! Though I won’t be available to reschedule my commitments Saturday, I cleared my schedule to work on the project as soon as I return to the office. I will report to you first thing Monday to see what you need me to do.” A tactful, yet firm response will show your boss that while you’re not a pushover, you are still a team player.

You spent all night writing an article for the company newsletter. The copy editor sends the article back to you for review—full of corrections and deletions. Some of her comments are spot on, but you disagree with one of them. How do you reject a writing edit while preserving good relations?

Why It’s Okay to Say No

An editor’s comments are suggestions for improvement. You, as the person whose name is on the article, will be the one to take the credit for successes and the fall for any mistakes. If your research or experience moves you to reject the advice, you can do so with the confidence that editors aren’t infallible.

How to Say No Without Guilt

Focus on how saying no will benefit your colleague. For instance, you might include a reference to the issue in the most recent style guide. Often, posing your challenge in the form a question will help you show respect. “I thought that the 2017 Chicago Manual of Style discouraged the use of singular they (in place of he or she) in formal prose? Can you check on it and get back to me?” You can also choose to ignore the suggestion without an explanation. Doing so might cause your editor to do a little investigating of her own and save herself the embarrassment of receiving a correction from you.

Practice Makes Perfect

Does the thought of saying no still put you on edge? You’re not alone! Psychologist Marsha Linehan suggests practicing in unimportant daily situations. Smile and shake your head the next time someone offers you a free sample at the mall. Delete the next email for a volunteer work project. In time, you’ll lose the feeling that you always have to say yes.

Why does saying no have to be a negative experience? Remind yourself why saying no is the wisest course. Then, use a little tact as you explain why you’re declining. If you offer an alternative means to support the person, they will feel better and so will you.

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Quiz for Lessons 236 – 240 – Parts of the Sentence – Verbals

Instructions: Find the gerunds, gerund phrases, participles, participial phrases, infinitives or infinitive phrases in these sentences, tell what kind of verbal they are, and how they are used.
1. Are you too busy to help us?
2. The crying child rushed to his mother.
3. He jumped from the cliff without looking down.
4. Walking is good for everyone.
5. Jim loves to play basketball.
6. Correction by others is hard to take.
7. Fearing their enemies, many small animals are nocturnal.
8. Law and Order is the program to watch tonight.
9. I don’t know whether to go or to stay.
10. Our next job, to finish the painting, should be easy.
–For answers scroll down.

1. to help us is an adverb infinitive modifying the predicate adjective busy
2. crying is a participle modifying the subject child.
3. looking down is a gerund phrase used as the object of the preposition without
4. walking is a gerund used as the subject
5. to play basketball is a noun infinitive phrase used as the direct object
6. to take is an adverb infinitive modifying the predicate adjective hard
7. fearing their enemies is a participial phrase modifying the subject animals
8. to watch tonight is an adjective infinitive phrase modifying the predicate nominative program
9. to go/to stay are noun infinitives used as direct objects
10. to finish the painting is a noun infinitive used as an appositive/ painting is a gerund used as the direct object to the verbal to finish

For your convenience, all of our lessons are available on our website in our lesson archive at http://www.dailygrammar.com/archive.html. Our lessons are also available to purchase in an eBook and a Workbook format.
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Lesson 240 – Parts of the Sentence – Verbals

A verbal is a verb form used as some other part of speech. There are three kinds of verbals: gerunds, participles and infinitives.
A gerund always ends in ing and is used as a noun. Eating is fun.
A participle is used as an adjective and ends in various ways. A present participle always ends with ing as does the gerund, but remember that it is an adjective. A past participle ends with ed, n, or irregularly. Examples: played, broken, brought, sung, seeing, having seen, being seen, seen, having been seen.
An infinitive is to plus a verb form. It can be a noun, an adjective, or an adverb. Examples: to be, to see, to be seen, to be eaten.
Instructions: Find the gerunds, gerund phrases, participles, participial phrases, infinitives or infinitive phrases in these sentences, tell what kind of verbal they are, and how they are used.
1. You are difficult to understand.
2. Jack hopes to join the Army next month.
3. The Senate favors increasing taxes.
4. The broken lamp lay on the floor.
5. I saw him trying to open the trunk.
–For answers scroll down.

1. to understand is an adverb infinitive modifying the predicate adjective difficult
2. to join the Army next month is a noun infinitive phrase used as the direct object
3. increasing taxes is a gerund phrase used as the direct object
4. broken is a participle modifying the subject lamp
5. trying to open the trunk is a participial phrase modifying the direct object him/to open the trunk is a noun infinitive phrase used as the direct object to the verbal trying

For your convenience, all of our lessons are available on our website in our lesson archive at http://www.dailygrammar.com/archive.html. Our lessons are also available to purchase in an eBook and a Workbook format.
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7 Easy Phone Interview Tips That Will Help You Get The Job

The job hunting process can be long and stressful. You’ve crafted the perfect resume, sent out countless cover letters, and now you’ve finally heard back that you’ve got a phone interview. This should be a walk in the park, right? An obligatory step to confirm you’re a real human.

Until you find yourself on the phone with the interviewer and they’re not just chatting you up. They’re asking you real questions, some of them tough questions, and your throat is going dry and you’re talking a million miles a minute and then it’s all over and you’re wondering what just happened. Did you blow your chances at another interview?

The phone interview is easy to underestimate. It doesn’t seem as intimidating as meeting in person, but if you don’t nail the phone interview you definitely won’t be asked to come for an on-site.

To set you up for success, we’ve put together seven easy tips that will help you prepare for your phone interview and give you the best shot at advancing to the next round.

1Do Your Homework

Learn everything you can about the company. Scour their website, social media, LinkedIn, and current news for info. You need to know the facts of who they are and what they’re doing, plus their mission and values. (Know your audience!)

Learn everything you can about the job. Review the job description with a fine-tooth comb and check for reviews on Glassdoor. By knowing the skills and qualities they want in a candidate, you’ll be able to craft answers for their interview questions that show you are exactly who they’re looking for.

2Curate Your Success Stories

Now that you know what skills and qualities they’ll be asking about, start thinking through your work history and brainstorming which experiences will best illustrate what they want.

So when you’re asked, “Do you work well under pressure?” you won’t just say “yes”—you’ll also recount the story of your company’s product launch from hell and describe how you managed to stay calm, come up with a successful plan B for your team, and crank out quality copy at the last minute.

Outline each success story, then practice telling them to a friend (ideally in thirty seconds or less per story).

3Prep Answers for These Common General Questions

Make sure each success story you provide not only answers the question, but demonstrates the skills and qualities the company is looking for.

“What is your biggest strength?”

“What is your greatest weakness?”

Here’s a tip: Don’t try to pretend you’re perfect! Talk about how you’ve dealt with your weakness. Tell a success story of how you’ve overcome it!

“How are you with time management?”

Here’s a tip: Don’t just say you’re organized. Recount a work situation where time management was important and you were able to nail it.

“Why are you leaving your current position?”

“Why do you want to join our company?”

“Why should we hire you?”

4Prep Answers for These Common Behavioral Questions

“Tell me about a time you took initiative or stepped into a leadership role.”

“…a time you had to deal with conflict at work.”

“…a situation where you used problem solving.”

“…a time you collaborated on a team project.”

“…a time you went beyond your job description.”

“Tell me about your proudest professional accomplishment.”

5Get In the Zone

  • Avoid brain fog by getting a good night’s sleep.
  • Ditch the jammies and dress in business casual (it’s all about mindset!).
  • Call a friend so you can warm up your vocal chords and get in phone mode.
  • Remove any distractions (TVs off, pets absent, kids occupied).
  • Be ready five to ten minutes in advance so you won’t feel rushed.
  • Have a glass of water handy.
  • Have a copy of your resume.
  • Have a cheat sheet of the qualities they’re looking for and your success stories.
  • Have a pen and paper available to take notes.
  • Remember to breathe, listen, and smile.

6Ask Questions

At some point, the interviewer will ask if you have any questions. Having zero could be taken as a red flag, so plan out four to five relevant questions, such as:

“What will be the training process for this position?”

“Can you tell me more about the team I would be working with?”

“What opportunities would I have for advancement within the company?”

“What are the next steps in the interview process?”

These questions communicate that you’re serious about the position and you want to confirm whether the company’s a good fit for you.

7Send a Thank You Note

Practice courtesy and professionalism. Within twenty-four hours, follow up with the interviewer by sending a thank you note via email.

Thank them for the opportunity to interview, express your continued interest, and reiterate how you would be a great fit for the position.

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