Urgent, redefined


On-call pilot fish is awakened at 2 a.m. one Sunday by a call from the network operations center -- and he figures it's urgent. Why else would the NOC call in the middle of the night on a weekend?

"The NOC wanted me to call an analyst regarding a server, but didn't specify a reason," says fish. "Are you insane? I thought. Then I suddenly remembered that I placed a call to this big vendor's support group that Friday, but they usually didn't work that quickly."

So fish calls the analyst. Why are you calling me at 2 a.m. on a Sunday? he asks.

Analyst: "You're up? I'm up, too!"

Fish: Is this server down?

Analyst: "No, I just wondered if the vendor has any update."

Fish: No, they're usually very slow and they haven't replied to the trouble ticket yet.

Analyst: "So can you call them to find out the status, since I'm up?"

Fish: Are you serious, you woke me for this? OK, let me call them. The tech usually return calls in three to four hours.

As promised, fish calls the vendor. As usual, the night duty manager takes the call and tells fish that the tech will contact fish when he's available.

"Over the subsequent week, I learned that only the operating system was supported in the support contract, and this particular version was no longer supported," fish says. "It needed an update to the current rev of the OS before the supplementary software could be supported -- with an additional support contract, of course.

"This analyst, the NOC and other colorful characters finally drove me to leave that job. I'm now in a better place -- with no on-call!"

If you're up at 2 a.m., tell Sharky your story. In fact, you can send me your true tale of IT life anytime at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll get a stylish Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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