Database admin pilot fish is on call and sleeping soundly when his beeper goes off at 1 a.m.

But it's not an alert from monitoring software or from the trouble center. The phone number on the pager is one fish doesn't recognize.

He calls the number. It's a user who tells him that a job on the server is stuck, and he's not getting new rows into a table.

Bleary-eyed fish logs on and checks. Sure enough, the job has a problem. A single mouse click restarts the job, and it's working again.

But fish also notices in the log that the job has been stuck since 10:30 a.m. -- two days before.

"Yeah, it's been annoying," user explains when fish asks about it. "The stuck job has been paging me to tell me there's a problem every 15 minutes."

Every 15 minutes for two straight days? fish asks, now fully awake.

"No," says user, "Late yesterday, I turned my pager off so it wouldn't bother me."

Then why are you now beeping me at 1 in the morning? says fish.

User: "Well, it didn't really seem important to me until now."

Awake at 1 a.m.? Use the time productively by sending Sharky your true tale of IT life at You'll score a sharp Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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