It's 3 a.m. Do you know where your reports are?

It's a few years back, and this financial firm decides it wants to be able to contact its desktop support techs at any time, reports a pilot fish on the receiving end of that decision.

"But they didn't want to give us cell phones," fish says. "Instead, they gave us pagers and added us to all notification groups, mainframe, telecom, and so on.

"As we were located in a different time zone than our headquarters, the daily 6 a.m. status pages came at 3 a.m., and we weren't amused."

Not surprisingly, the techs find various workarounds. Some keep their pagers in the car when they're not at work. Others turn them off and just happen to forget to turn them back on.

Fish manages to find out who controls the notification groups, and talks his way into getting himself removed from all except the most important groups, the ones for crisis situations.

And that works fine for several years, with fish receiving only direct pages and the rare crisis pages.

Then, with no warning, he starts getting pages telling him about outages to ATM networks -- the cash-machine kind. Fish knows his company doesn't have any ATMs, so the pages must be misdirected.

But the pages only contain data such as the affected bank's name, region affected and number of systems down -- but never any contact info that would make it possible for fish to straighten out the issue.

"Finally, I got one that had a phone number," says fish. "I called and asked them to remove me from their list. They declined, saying I was supposed to be getting the pages.

"I then told them who I work for, and that they probably don't want their 'dirty laundry' being shared with anyone -- not that I actually would.

"To their credit, the pages stopped and I never received another one from them."

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