Smylers Smylers at
Tue May 8 11:40:31 BST 2007

David Cantrell writes:

> > Nicholas Clark writes:
> >  
> > > What's the catch? "Oh, you have broadband. You can fix this from
> > > home?" and you're now considered to be on call?
> Yes.  Forty quid a month isn't enough for being on call.

There've been a few messages here recently with people objecting to
employers expectations of being able to call them out of hours; I've
also witnessed resistence to it from other people I've worked with.

Is it a big problem at many places?

For some reason I've never been bothered by it.  Have I just been lucky?

It seems reasonable to me that as a general rule work time is for
working and non-work time is for home life, but occasionally emergencies
from one will inconveniently occur during time scheduled for the other
-- I like that work will let me deal with a domestic emergency that
crops up during the day, and I don't object to being phoned out of hours
to see if I can help with a work emergency.  (Apart from anything else,
a work emergency could conceivably be my fault ...)

I've said if there's a problem I'm happy for work people to _try_
phoning me anytime (with the obvious caveat that they may not get
through, or I may not be in a position to help); in practice this is
happening less than twice a year.

For the Christmas and new year break I was asked to create a rota for
who in my team was on-call when; I just put me down 100% of the time
(cos that was easier), and received precisely zero phonecalls during
that time.  (And yes, my phone was turned on and in reception.)

Are other peoples' experiences significantly different from this?  And
did the job description make the employers' expectations clear in

In one job a client was renegotiating their contract and wanted a clause
included about the 24-hour availability of somebody who knew their
systems, which meant me and one colleague.  I pointed out that since
that colleague and I were friends that would effectively prohibit us
from ever going to the cinema together, visiting a friend in hosptial at
the same time, and so on; that did sound unreasonable.

But then when I reminded them of the occasion a server failed and I
dealt with it from a field somewhere with Iggy Pop playing, they agreed
to leave the level of support undefined, trusting us to provide an
appropriate service.


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