Which part of 'dead zone' wasn't clear?

It's a few years back, and on his first day of work this newly hired IT pilot fish is presented with a two-way pager -- which isn't something he expected.

"No one said anything about on-call support coverage during the job interviews," says fish. "But I'm a team player.

"However, there is one catch. I knew this particular paging provider didn't work at my home. My brother-in-law, a telephone tech, carried the same model with the same provider and discovered that he couldn't get or respond to pages while at my house."

Fish tells his manager about the problem. Manager doesn't actually say so, but makes it obvious that she doesn't believe fish.

A few mornings later, the pager goes off as fish is driving to work. He pulls over immediately and responds, saying he's already on the way in to the office.

Manager is not amused that fish didn't answer the page during the night -- mainly because the page was escalated to her when fish didn't respond.

Fortunately for fish, one of the pager's features is that it timestamps every page as it arrives. Those timestamps show that fish didn't receive any overnight pages, just the one during his commute. But his manager still thinks he might be a slacker.

The next page comes in when when fish is still on his way home, so it's clear he has it turned on. But the time after that, fish once again doesn't receive the page until he has left home again in the morning.

"And again, the timestamps on the pager covered my tail," fish says. "They eventually switched to calling me on the telephone if they couldn't reach me via pager -- and then only if they couldn't reach someone else via pager, because the command center folks didn't like talking on the phone.

"I did learn one lesson: If you can't be reached, they'll find someone else to deal with the annoying duties."

Sharky's paging you for your true tales of IT life. C'mon, I know you can hear me, so send your stories to me at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll snag a snazzy Shark shirt every time I use one. Comment on today's tale at Sharky's Google+ community, and read thousands of great old tales in the Sharkives.

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