The Job Experience: Tech Support, Year #2

After Hours Work

pager

Midway through the year, I reached a certain performance threshold which promoted me into on-call rotation.

You got a pager.  Certain weeks you’d be tapped.  When your pager goes off, you go to work.  For every hour your pager doesn’t go off, you get 1/8th of an hour of salary.  And for each hour you do work, you get your full salary for that specific hour.

If you really wanted the money (and some people did) it was a good trade.  I didn’t need the money, and I valued my time away from work, so it wasn’t so great.

Honestly, pager duty felt like punishment.  Privately, I viewed on-call rotation as a demotion.  It sucked to get called on weekends for some of the most stressful tickets.  Customers typically opening tickets on the weekend because something absolutely god-awful is happening, so they’re not exactly in a good mood.

I never did fully adjust to it.  Every sixth week, I carried some device around me and dreaded, at all times, the buzz, waking up in the middle of the night and fishing around for my phone and a laptop, looking at code with bleary eyes, forced to talk to a fully alert and agitated client while I was still half asleep.  It sucked every single time.  Some people weren’t all that bothered by it, but I couldn’t make the leap myself. I tried.  I wanted to have the right attitude — really — but it eluded me in the end.

That little black box proved to be a continual source of pain.

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9 Responses to The Job Experience: Tech Support, Year #2

  1. I really like your write ups so far. The page formatting is also spot on.

    I definitely know how it is under management that interacts with you on an almost purely negative basis, but having weekly 1:1’s? Ouch. I get through my current job by trying to be the quiet, competent employee – which means I’m somewhat appreciated, but more importantly left the fuck alone!

    • livingafi says:

      Thanks a lot for the feedback on page formatting. I wondered about it. The posts are pretty lengthy for a blog.
      Right, weekly 1:1s are just… ugh. I’m more similar to you — very focused, high determination and attention to detail/quality, and therefore I think that my work speaks for itself and I should be exempt from micromanagement. But no. The weekly touchpoints must continue! There’s always room for improvement! The bar is always rising!
      Sigh.

  2. Liked the LOTR references, if only work were so glorious and meaningful. Once that trilogy ended, all was right with the world (although it does drag on a little too long after the scene at Mt. Doom…) In reality, the analogy would be that, before computers, goblins were more like Balrogs, less common but more difficult to defeat (Great Depression, WWII). Globalization, computerization, communication helped keep the goblins from getting too big to handle, but that means they are constantly being fought to keep everything working. Ultimately, the goblins will always be there, our job is to take on the battle from the previous generation and hope we don’t have to deal with any more Balrogs… Enjoying the series!

    • livingafi says:

      I love the extended analogy, btw, very cool. Are you saying that since I’ve completed my trilogy of Job Experience Posts, so I should be done? 😉 Unfortunately many years of work follow. I keep thinking the that each year I’ll have less to say, but when I start unpacking the history, there’s a ton of stuff there. Believe it or not these posts represent an effort to keep the overall length somewhat manageable. I know, I know — I need to try harder.

      • Wouldn’t that be awesome, if we put in 3 years and were done! Then could cuddle up in our hobbit-hole and reflect on the nuances of those years for the next 30 years… That would be an acceptable situation, probably for everyone, as opposed to 30 yrs of work and a few interesting musings from the minority. Hollywood and Penguin do not dominate the market on telling life’s story, we do. Keep on keeping on bro!

  3. Pingback: Confessions from a High-Paying Job | microBillionaire

  4. Brittany says:

    I’m surprised how similar the daily grind is, even in such different professions! Your description of tech support reminds me of my couple years doing phone triage as a nurse. Just one minute between calls to document recommendations/forward to doctor/make appointment/take whatever necessary action. Messages and phone calls bouncing back and forth to doctors, patients, pharmacies, nursing homes, hospitals. We also had a “bucket” of outgoing calls to make–completion required by the end of the day, whether or not incoming calls slowed. In any case, there were always problems to solve, people to contact. I’m really fortunate in my new job! So much less stress, better pay. I’m 25 years old, unsure when I’ll attain FI. I’d like to think by 40, but with an estimated 2 kids in the future and the financial volatility of my husband farming FT, only time will tell! Devoured MMM, now your blog. Really helping me understand the logistics of FI. Slightly jealous of you guys with the high tech/engineering incomes! Hope you’re thoroughly enjoying your almost 2 years (so far) of FIRE!

    • Brittany says:

      Wow, the similarities continue! I had an on call rotation too–usually every 6th weekend Carrying around the phone felt like prison…I never did get used to it either.

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