Ask Jack: Man in the Mirror, Auto-Replies, and Job of the Week

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AOL Jobs reader Carli tells us:

I took a job at a local steel mill, just like my dad. But my best friend Pete died in an explosion at the mill. Now I'm wondering if I should stay at the job, or pursue my dream of playing football at Notre Dame. What should I do?

Hmm, this sounds suspiciously like the plot of the beloved 1993 underdog tale Rudy starring Sean Astin. Well, first and foremost, condolences on the passing of your dear friend Pete. Now, ripped from a Hollywood film or not, traumatic occurrences often inspire a hard look in the mirror. How much time do we have left? Isn't there more to life? What about our forgotten dreams? To me, shaking things up seems worthwhile, especially since it's so easy to get complacent. Life is generally pretty long -- but even if it isn't -- there is always time to take a left turn or two and see what's around that corner. Who knows, you may end up co-starring in a successful series of movies based on the Lord of the Rings books.

Via Twitter, Peter explains:

I like to have a little fun with my out-of-office message on the e-mail. You know, show my personality, like my clients are used to. My manager says it is unprofessional and I should tone it down. Who's right?

Pete! You're alive! Es un milagro. Ah, the zany auto-reply; I've been guilty of it too. But as I touched on in an earlier question about cover letters, you don't always know who is on the other side of that reply. Sure, 95 percent of the people writing to you might be familiar with your wacky sense of humor, but (depending on the content of your message), the other 5 percent could be confused, annoyed, offended, etc. That could result in a tarnishing of the company's reputation or even a loss of revenue, and then your manager has every reason to be upset. And remember, very importantly: Your employer owns the work e-mail, not you. So just make sure the key information -- I'm out of the office until such-and-such date; if this is urgent you can contact such-and-such person -- is most prominent and very clear. Adding a touch of personality seems OK; we're not robots after all. Soon we will be, and the e-mails will respond to each other without you having to do a thing. Beep boop beep boop.

Last week's Ask Jack questions

Do you have a work-related question for Jack? Write it in the comments below (better answers to this week's questions are also welcome!) or tweet it @AOLJobs with the hashtag #AskJack.

Jack's Job of the Week

"Dear Jack, I'm a football player at Notre Dame who dreams of working in a steel mill." Well, have I got a job for you! You can be a supervisor in the steel rolling/finishing area in a West Virginia mill right now. Blue collar, white collar, no collar, there are thousands of job listings on AOL Jobs and all you have to do is search.

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