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Well, That Hardly Seems Fair

April 24, 2018

If you check in at this site on a regular basis, you have no doubt heard me complain about my job. Well, not really complain. It’s more one of those things I like to talk about and am not above painting myself as the reluctant victim.

But, honestly, I love my job. I have a great team. I have a super supportive boss. I get to do interesting and exciting projects. And at the end of the day, I know I’m providing a valuable service not only to our client, but to the end users/customers/members/whatever you want to call them.

But, there are moments when it seems my job is conspiring against me. As if maybe it doesn’t like me as much as I love it.

Last Friday night, I went camping with the scouts. (Okay, I Lied And I’m Not Sorry.) I thought I would be out of cell phone range, so I arranged for a backup. One of the most important tasks I have is to monitor outage calls. It’s also one of the most time consuming.

Our systems are actually very robust. But, they are also very complex. And with the level of complexity we have a certain amount of outages are expected. Of course, we don’t want the outages and we also cannot predict when they will occur.

We’ve had a particularly busy April, so I was worried about the time I would be unavailable. I figured I would be out of touch 4:00pm on Friday until 4:00pm on Saturday. I was building in a slight buffer, but not much. The canyon we went to was about 90 minutes away. We were leaving at 4:00pm on Friday and expected to be back around 2:00pm on Saturday.

As I was putting my gear together on Friday afternoon, my phone rang.

Uh oh.

Yup. There was a system problem. I used my headset to work the outage while I continued to gather sleeping bags, backpack and walking stick.

Melissa was my designated backup. I added her to our outage call.

I’ll run this one, but if it goes too long you might need to take over.

No problem. Let me know.

The problem was one that the client needed to resolve. We were mostly waiting for them to ask us to validate when they fixed the issue. The clock continued to tick into the afternoon. I placed my call on hold to load my gear into the car.

I then drove to the church parking lot that we were leaving from and put them on hold again to transfer my gear to the trucks. Where we were going my car wouldn’t have made it. Meanwhile, Melissa hung out on the call waiting to take control if I needed her to.

The client just called me on my other line and said they think they’ve resolved it. Unless we have anyone still broken I think we can close down the call. Anyone? Okay, call back if it reoccurs.

Yep, it wasn’t surprising that I was going to work an outage call right up until the last minute. I hung up and looked forward to the next 24 hours of being “on vacation.”

Saturday afteroon, I checked back in. I had some email waiting, but there had been no outages. Nice.

Saturday night at 11:30pm I got a call. Yes, something else was broken and since we are a 24×7 shop, I needed to work it. Three hours later, I finally got to go to sleep.

Sunday morning is typically a pretty lazy time for our family. Our church meetings don’t start utnil 1:00pm. And with no little kids at home, there’s no one that we have to get up and ready for the day.

Of course, on this Sunday morning there was another work issue that I needed to deal with. It pushed right up until the start of church before it was resolved. I got to church a little late, but I was there. . .and then an hour later something else broke and I had to leave church early. It took much of the afternoon.

Again, I’m not complaining too much. It’s my job. But, really? Four outages during a 48 hour period and not even one of them was during the 24 hours I was disconnected?

That just doesn’t seem fair.

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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