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My manager is about to go on her holiday leave for two weeks, I emailed her asking if I should keep sending her emails during her holiday or if I should email her assistant manager instead.

She has never replied my email, should I keep emailing her or email her AND her assistant manager?

The background:

  • My manager was admitted for heart surgery a few weeks back and during that time she was not able to reply our emails. After she returned, I asked her about if I should send her assistant emails in her stead, she replied "you should send emails to me only."

How should I interpret this situation?

  • Is it an option to meet her face to face or make a phone call? – Masked Man Mar 16 '17 at 1:11
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    You should ask whomever you currently report to, now that your immediate supervisor is on vacation. If you're unclear on what the current chain of command is, ask the next echelon of management (your manager's manager). – DepressedDaniel Mar 16 '17 at 1:39
  • @MaskedMan, no not really. We work on client sites, do not normally meet in person. – Yu Zhang Mar 16 '17 at 1:44
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If you can still contact her (i.e. if she is still working), ask her again. She may be busy preparing her absence and forgot to reply.

If she is already away, the best option is probably to ask her manager (i.e. one level higher in the hierarchy) how you should handle this. Making decisions like that is part of their job.

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    I would add to this that you should then follow up the conversation with an email ccing both your manager and their manager restating what was agreed to "[Manager's Name], I just spoke with [Manager's Manager's Name] about who I should be sending communications to in your absence. They said to tell [other manager] and keep you cc'd on all conversations until you get back. [Adjectively], [your name]" – zzzzBov Mar 16 '17 at 1:30
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After she returned, I asked her about if I should send her assistant emails in her stead, she replied "you should send emails to me only."

Then that's what you should be doing. Note that it is not uncommon for assistants to be able to read all emails sent to the person they assist. It's likely that she asked her assistant to do that and take care of any urgent matters. If you send the message to the account of the assistant too, they will receive the message twice.

It's also possible that your manager is the kind of workaholic who still reads and answers their job email while on vacation (in which case you should only write them when it's a really important matter).

To verify you might want to ask the assistant manager personally if they read their managers email.

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