How does on-call work for your company? Our product is mostly used in the US so any pages we get are mostly in the US time. Despite that, our team has US and EU folk and me (an EU folk) am expected to wake up middle of the night for any pages that occur. I consider this a really shit model not just for employees but for the business, but I wanted to know if this is common and I'm just not seeing the point of this.

  • 0
    Do you work on and support the product like the US team?

    If yes, then you should be on the hook for on call.

    If no, then you should be on call for that product.

    I have zero sympathy for anyone complaining about being on call.

    I have been on call for my company every day, 365 days 24/7, for 10 years.

    It's impossible to find devs that have operations experience anymore, so I'm stuck doing it.

    I get at least one call at 3am every month. I used to get 10 a week, nobody could fix the monitors so I fixed them.
  • 3
    @sariel to be fair, just because It's happening doesn't mean It's a good model. We for example know that quality sleep is extremely important for health. So being woken Up on call is bullshit. Fuck the clients and companies that require it. They should take timezones into account by default.
  • 1
    @sariel On-call time has to be in the contract, and it has to be paid partially. Just being woken up at any time is not OK. Also, we have 11 hours of mandatory consecutive break per day in our work law. Plus that vacations are vacations, not on-call.

    It's simply the job of the company to provide redundancy and hire enough people. I certainly wouldn't to nightly on-call BS, and it's super uncommon except in essential jobs like police, fire fighters, medical.
  • 1
    @Fast-Nop Right? I actually think if I was being paid a LOT more I'd be alright with this oncall, but for instance late at midnight I managed to get up for a page with my phone on loud, but I slept through another one (legit heard nothing). Now I'm very sure not everyone is a light sleeper, so how does it work for the business if they hire someone in a different timezone and most of their incidents occur during midnight of that timezone? It just seems risky for the business itself. I mean I miss a page, everything could be on fire, luckily ofc we have NA folk in our team too who can notice and act on it, but then what's the point of me having on call?
  • 1
    @Fast-Nop I'm salary, so I'm on call 24/7.
  • 3
    @sariel Well, I'm also salary, not wage, and still would refuse 24/7 on-call because I'd regard that as exploitation. Work law also applies to me.
  • 1
    @Fast-Nop not in my state/county.

    I'm pretty easy-going and it really doesn't bother me much anymore.

    What does bother me is that they don't think it's something that I do that's extra, now it's just expected.

    All is fine and dandy though. Because when I leave, and I will leave, they're going to be so FUCKED for the first 3 months.

    And the thought of that makes me sleep like a baby until 3am.
  • 1
    We're rolling it out slow asf. Boss seems to think all he has to do is declare "we're doing on call shifts now" and it just happens (insert Michael Scott gif here). It's been a colossal mess.


    Since boss man is not expecting me to be on the rotation except as a final escalation point (yay for being netops), I'm not entirely eager to speak up about why this isn't working only to end up volunteering myself for the extra tasks of being the admin for this mess.

    All I've been doing is connecting all the noisy monitoring shitboxes (LogicMonitor and DataDog) to PagerDuty and uttering a short prayer for the 'devops' people who will be getting woken up for this. Every now and then I get an infrastructure alert and that mainly involves sending someone a email or (shudders) Teams message: "One of the load balancers wigged out. I kicked it. It's fine now".
  • 0
    @ComputerToucher haha nice. I guess how intense on-call can be depends on the product and clients. We have a giant monolith with some code untouched for 10 years and services no one understands at a, so pages can sometimes take a long time to resolve with a lot of splunk searches and ticket creating
  • 1
    @pandasama You have my condolences. This job isn't without its own breed of stupid that sometimes makes me want to look for the door...but then I think about last job which was "Devops developer help desk" and on-call meant guaranteed losing a week of sleep

  • 0
    @ComputerToucher a week, geez ...
  • 0
    @pandasama Yeah at that job on-call lasted the duration of a sprint, so...two weeks. The first week of it was usually fine, the second week when people start deploying shit was when the hell began.
  • 0
    @ComputerToucher damn I've really gotta give it to people who can think straight and keep focused with that lack of sleep
  • 2
    I work for a large org in Sweden. None of the dev teams aren't required to handle issues after hours. It's just DevOps who are officially on-call (but they get paid extra for that)

    My dev team were asked a few years back if we wanted to get a small sum of extra $ to be on-call but we declined.

    We have a policy where if an issue is found outside office hours - they can't call a dev directly. They must first contact a boss who decides if it's urgent enough to call a developer.

    Usually issues can wait til morning. Especially if they are discovered at night.

    We've never been called at night in 5 years.

    However our most critical website has 2 failover systems in place (one site with static HTML files of the most common pages) and our CDN will automatically switch to those if the original site fails too often - meaning our site rarely breaks down completely.
  • 0
    @jiraTicket that's a very good system, I like that. Thanks for sharing!
  • 1
    Your situation sounds insane - if there's a EU team and a US team - how do they have the audacity to call people in the wrong timezone when there are others working?

    Seems like the prio should be to bother as few people as possible.
  • 0
    @jiraTicket idk tbh, I've also thought that if it was by timezones then NA would be carrying most if not all the load, which is unfair. But this is the business, so idk how its feasible to have this. Anyways nothing can be done sadly, I'll try to change jobs if I can, I quite liked this one other than this on-call. I've learnt a lot on it, but midnight pages that I might not be able to acknowledge unintentionally and then get blamed, not worth it
  • 2
    @pandasama "unfair" - true, but I'd say avoiding waking people up at night should always trump fairness.

    Unfairness can be evened out with money. Perhaps some optional pay for those who accept being on call with A different rate for day and night. And the option to refuse.
  • 0
  • 2
    I hate being on call.
    At my company if you’re on call you have 10 mins to get your pc booted and start looking at the problem.
    When I’m on call during the weekend I spend all the time with anxiety kicking in worrying an alarm is going to be triggered.

    Some of the people there love it and enjoy the extra money, it makes a big difference to them. For me I couldn’t be paid enough and I don’t need the cash so if they want to do the on call I’d happily give it to them.

    I think if you have been up in the night you should be able to take some time back and catch up on some sleep even if you were paid well for being on call.

    All companies I’ve been at, and probably everyone else’s here, has at some point said “our people come first”.
    If that’s true they shouldn’t begrudge giving you a bit of time to recover so that you can be at your best
    (We all know it’s not actually true)
Add Comment