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When A Sick Day Isn’t

March 15, 2017

I didn’t have to answer the phone. Nope. I called in sick. I had a doctor’s appointment scheduled for the next day and everything. I did not have to answer my phone.

I answered my phone.

Maybe it wasn’t an outage.

It was an outage.

I didn’t have to take this call, right? I mean, it’s not like I own the company. I’m a cog in a really big wheel. . .house. . .or something. Anyway, while I work lots of hours, I do occasionally have times I’m unavailable. I have people to back me up. Cosby is my backup and if he’s not available, my manager is my backup. Cosby is in the Philippines this week. He’s not available. I sent email to my manager.

Not feeling great. I’m going to take a sick day.

I got an auto-reply.

I’m in a training class all day and have no access to email.

There were additional contact names of his backups, but they were not my backups. They didn’t know my account or my systems.

Hi, this is Rodney joining the bridge. What errors are we seeing?

Did I have to take that call? I’ve debated that as I’ve considered what was the right thing to do. Fortunately, I was not feeling so terrible I couldn’t take the call. But, suppose I had been? What would have happened. It’s easy to think that something would have worked out.

Every winter there are cases of people who die in the mountains, stuck in the snow because their GPS told them to turn at a particular intersection and sent them up some forest road packed with snow. Those people used their GPS correctly. They followed the directions perfectly, and it sometimes killed them.

How do you decide that you need to break protocol?

I’ve always worked under the assumption,

If YOUR customers cannot get to YOUR services, it’s YOUR problem, even if it’s not YOUR fault.

My call floor had an issue. That made it my problem. The choice seemed to be let them shiver while stuck in the snow or haul my butt out of bed and down to my home office.

Of course, being a salaried employee, my sick day disappeared as soon as I swiped right to take the call. If only it were that easy to not feel sick.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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