Rodney M Bliss

I’m Not Your Friend Today

Yesterday was a travel day. Flying out of Salt Lake City is nice because it’s a DELTA airlines hub. Flying out of Salt Lake City sucks because it takes forever to get anywhere.

I’ve been flying out of SLC for decades. I know that it’s an all day affair to get anywhere, especially to the East Coast. I have control over my travel, so I plan an entire day to travel. I don’t try to go into the office on a travel day. I don’t try to get other work done.

Yesterday, I went into the office and ended up tring to get a lot of work done. My office is in only about 5 minutes from the airport in Salt Lake. And a combination of factors have had me working from home for a couple weeks. If you don’t use your security badge often enough they will turn it off. (Yeah, okay, it’s a first world problem. I get it!)

I did have a couple of really important meetings before my flight left at 11:00 AM. I planned to just dial into my meetings. (And if I hadn’t left the agenda for my 9:00AM touchpoint meeting on the printer, I wouldn’t have had to do it by memory.)

My 9:00 AM meeting went well. My 10:30 meeting, not so much. The meeting still happened, but the outage call I got at 10:00 AM kind of preempted anything else.

There was no way I could miss my flight. And there was no way that the outage was going to be wrapped up before I left. This is why I have a backup.

Okay, a side note, I don’t actually have a backup. That’s a bit of a sore point. I’m a team of one. I’m IT. That means that I know IT stuff. When there’s an outage, either caused by our team or by the client, I’m supposed to help diagnose it and catogorize it.

But, I’m just one guy. Sometimes I’m not available. Oh, I’m available at times when you would probably not be available. Because you have a life and stuff. So, I’m “available” during family outings, and  campouts and evenings and weekends. But, I’m not available after

We have no closed the cabin door. Please put all personal devices into airplane mode.

As I made my way onto the plane, I put my outage call on hold and called my friend Mark. I work with Mark a lot. Mark is a senior manager in Account Management. He’s currently doing multiple jobs as we open a new center in Florida. Mark is really busy. I was about to ruin Mark’s day.

Mark, this is Rodney.

Hey, what’s up?

Today, I’m not your friend.

Oh, come on. You’re always my friend.

We have an outage call going on and your the backup on-call.

So, what do you need? Do you need me to request downscripting or something?

My plane boards in 20 minutes.

Oh. You don’t mean. . .

Sorry. I do. I told you. Today, I’m not your friend.

Mark had to put his day on hold and live my day. Great trade, right? He does the work. I watch movies on the plane.

No. The problem is that while Mark is smart, brilliant even, he’s not an IT guy. When my plane landed at JFK for a 2 hour layover, I called Mark and got updated on the outage. Turns out it was “s,” as in outage<i>S</i>. There had been two. Well, Mark saw two. As he walked me through the day, I realized that what he thought was a second outage was actually two different outages. There had been three for the day.

After an outage, I have lots of paperwork to fill out. (Weird that we still call it paperwork. It’s all spreadsheets, emails and Word documents.) When I’m not involved in the outage call, I have to try to reconstruct the entire call flow.

That’s why having someone “fill in” for me isn’t really a reduction in my workload. It actually causes more work after the fact. Still I appreciate my friends filling in for me. . .even if it means I’m not their friend today.

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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(c) 2019 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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