It’s been quite a while since I’ve written about being on-call for work. Working in a technology-related field, especially in the telecommunications part of it, on-call is somewhat of a given. I can handle that. It’s something that I have learned to live with, though it has occasionally given me nightmares, cold sweats and twitchy-like responses to anything that resembles the beeping sounds of a pager.
I am in my third employment scenario that included officially sanctioned on-call duties. The first scenario, and the one I used to blog about the most, is the one that set the stage for me and there are several things from that experience that became Pavlovian-like responses. For example, my instinct for an on-call weekend is to complete wipe my schedule clean of any sort of activity outside of staring at the closest cell phone or pager, waiting for it to shriek out some sort of distress so I can shriek out in some sort of distress and them become hostile and throw the closest lamp at hand.
You think I’m kidding.
The thing is, my current on-call scenario is nowhere as hellish as the scenario that I cut my teeth on and quite frankly, this is something that I need to be reminded about from time to time. This is where my husband comes into the picture.
My husband is a smart man. Not only is he a smart man, he is a reasonable man. And not only is he a reasonable man, he is left-brained, so he can easily remove emotional response from a situation and think about things rationally. This is something that I am in awe of, though quite frankly, I like to think that I am slowly moving in that same direction. I don’t know what side of my brain I use. Probably the back half.
Earl reminds me that I’m not on-call nearly as much as I used to be. He follows up that reminder with the fact that there are always people at the various locations at work, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I don’t get called to fix things for everyone, I get called to fix things for the people using the tools I have created and/or support. He also reminds me that I only have to deal with the folks that I work with now, whereas in the original on-call experience, I had to deal with customers and vendors and telecommunication monopolies that really didn’t care about much of anything. Old on-call scenario, I was “first defense”. This on-call scenario, I’m “last resort.”
As I said before, old habits die hard.
Earl suggested that we spend the night at the casino on Friday night to celebrate Jamie’s birthday. We’d have a nice dinner, maybe gamble a little and then get a decent night’s sleep. On Saturday we’d head to Syracuse for some lunch, some go-kart racing at Destiny USA, perhaps some shopping and then a nice dinner before heading home.
Knowing that I was on-call, I panicked. I didn’t want to show that I was panicking, but in reality, I was like “ohmygodwhatamigoingtodoifsomeonecalls”, complete with irrational thoughts dancing around in my head. Earl reminded me that I could bring my laptop, I’m always connected to the world with the cell connection on my iPad and iPhone and really, what was the worst thing that could happen?
Rational thinking slays irrationality for the win.
I had one call yesterday, and that call was just a question because *I* had not changed one link on one list of resources due to a change in maintenance schedules. Nothing was broken, no one was hysterical and quite frankly, it was handled with two phone calls and a quick log in with my iPad to fix my mistake. Other than that, it has been quiet. I have no reason to think that it won’t continue to be quiet. I work with good people. We support each other. I sometimes forget that.
So after over three years of experiencing the “new” on-call scenario, I’m finally getting the picture. Calm down, relax, deal with it and enjoy your life.
This may set a real tempo for me.