I did something unusual last Saturday and Sunday. . .I took a vacation. Actually, the vacation started at 4:00 PM on Friday and extended through Monday night at Midnight. I work a normal corporate 9-5 M-F job. Except that I like to get in the office early, typically by 6:30 AM. So, it’s shifted to 6:30-2:30. Except our call floor starts at 5:30, so occasionally it’s 5:30-2:30. Except who goes home at 2:30? I’m off work sometime between 4:00 or 5:00. So it’s 5:30 – 5:00. Except that my call centers operate 24×7, so occasionally, I get calls after hours. . .and on weekends. So, it’s really a 5:30 to “Rodney we have a problem” o’clock.
But last weekend I changed that. I decided I was unplugging. I sent an email letting people know I would be unavailable:
Seems weird to send out this type of a mass broadcast, but I will be taking a vacation (otherwise known as a three day weekend) and I will be unavailable. No email, no cell phone.
What: Rodney dropping off the face of the earth
Start: Friday 3/20 4:00 PM MDT
END: Tuesday 3/23 Midnight MDT
Please reach out to my manager if you need something during that time that I would normally be involved in.
Now, who to send it to? My manager, of course. And, the Mission Control folks who manage the day to day operations on the call floors, And the call center managers. And the account managers. And the VPs over the account. And our desktop engineers. And . . .
When I finally finished adding everyone that might send me email or call me, the list was 56 people.
Think about taht. I’ve arranged my job, so poorly that I have to let almost 60 people know if I intend to not answer my phone or email during a weekend. I don’t view this as an example of how important I am. Instead I view it as an example of poor planning. I clearly have no succession plan.
One of our analysts mailed me back and said,
I’m happy for you. Of course, I’m terrified for us, but happy for you.
No one is indespensible. Anyone can be replaced. It appears that my oranizational style is to simply run everything through me. Want a policy on the call floor changed? Rodney has to approve it. Want someone to run the outage coordination? Rodney does that. Want someone to call the client? Ask Rodney.
I don’t mind the attention, really I don’t. It can be a littel tedious at times, but It’s what I do. But, the number of people on the TO: line of my out of office email was sobering. It’s not that I was wrong about how many people were influenced by my leaving. Just that it was my responsibility to work myself out of a job.
Today, I’m driving back from Olympia, WA to Pleasant Grove, UT. We’ll see how much my leaving for a few days was noticed.
Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and one grandchild.
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