Last Updated on August 12, 2013 by John Morehouse

Yeah, I went there.

So, let’s go back to July 4th, 2013.  I was on call that week of the holiday and on that very day I happen to be doing the dishes after finishing supper.  A common thing in my household, me doing the dishes that is.  You see I’m not much of a cook (I can grill and warm stuff up) but my wife is a fantastic cook.  The deal is that if she cooks, I clean.  I think that it’s a fair deal plus it helps with my OCD when I feel the need to have the dishes done and the counters cleaned.

Being a holiday and all, as I loaded the dishwasher, I was just thinking of all of our active/retired military and all that they do for us.  At that moment my cell phone buzzed and I remembered that I was on-call.  As I picked up my phone to see what it was buzzing about, I realized at that moment being on-call was actually AWESOME!

Yup, I said it.  Yes, being on-call can be a pain, but hear me out first.

In that moment, I realized being on call means a couple of things:

1.  You have a job.  

This is plain and simple.  If you look at the unemployment numbers, having a job (in any field) is a wondrous thing in today’s world.  Don’t take it for granted.  Roll with the punches if you get paged and remember that you could be unemployed.

2.  You love what you do

Well, hopefully.  If you don’t, then you need to make different choices.  For me, I absolutely love being a database administrator and I love SQL Server.  Really, I do.  My co-workers think that I’m crazy for spending my own dime traveling to SQL Saturday’s. They REALLY think that I’m crazy for spending a Saturday evening going through the results of DBCC PAGE!  Yes, I really did do that.

Yes, I’m a geek/nerd.  My wife reminds me often.  =)

3.  Management trusts you.

It’s true.  They trust you otherwise you wouldn’t be on-call.  This one took me a number of years to realize.  In a former life I was a consultant and had to do the on-call thing for my clients and it always bugged me to a point.  When I took this new position within Farm Credit Services of America I knew that I’d have to take an on-call rotation.  It wasn’t until I learned that we had 18+ billion dollars of loan assets that did the magnitude of what that really meant.

Yes, that’s with a ‘B’.

This means that the systems I help to support help my employer to make money from those assets which in turn pays my salary, which provides a roof over my head, puts food on the table for my family and allows me some gas money to get back and forth to work.

There is something to to be said about that having that trust.

4.  You’re not in a fox hole. 

Well, this pretty much says it all.  Our boys & girls in the military often give up a lot to protect our freedoms and to protect us from harm.  Standing there in the kitchen, after just finishing an excellent steak dinner made by my wife, I couldn’t help to reflect that it could be worse.  Much worse.

So yes, I’ll take being on call.  I’ll take those phones calls saying that the ETL process broke or the database is offline.  I’ll answer those questions as to why we shouldn’t grant ‘sa’ rights to the intern.   I’m sure that I’ll complain about it here and there but I hope that I’ll remember what it really means.

I’ll see you on the next on-call rotation. . .


© 2013, John Morehouse. All rights reserved.

5 Replies to “On-Call = AWESOMESAUCE!”

  1. Well I too love SQL Server and enjoy being employed however I still hate being on call! It seems that I only get a call when I am out walking the dog, shopping or on a date, whenever I am 10 feet from the computer to log in remotely the darned phone doesn’t ring!

  2. Ha!! Yup, it always seems to happen like that. In my environment it’s usually 2AM(ish) when it goes off. Every now and then I’ll get a 7PM call, but that’s rare. 😉

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