[medium.com/@copyconstruct] On-call doesn’t have to suck

March 2, 2018

I can’t quite imagine anyone enjoying being on-call. I’ve never particularly enjoyed it myself. I still remember the very first time I went on-call several years ago. I was on-call for an entire week and the overarching feeling throughout the week was one of… foreboding, even when things weren’t on fire.

At the end of the week, I felt pretty drained and had absolutely no intention to protract the process any longer. Thus at the end of my on-call shift, I felt happy to be back on familiar territory of writing code uninterrupted. It’s perhaps worth mentioning here that I probably felt that way in no small part because I’m a developer and have never in my career been an SRE or an Operations Engineer.

I’ve since then invariably shouldered on-call responsibilities at every company I’ve worked at. I don’t consider this to be a badge of honor; I’ve now grown accustomed to see it as something that’s simply part of my job.

I’ve worked at companies in the past where I’ve shared on-call responsibilities with an entire team of people as well as at companies where I was the sole person on-call for multiple services for years on end, without quite having a secondary to escalate pages to (something that was only possible since I got paged very infrequently). None of these different flavors of on-call was fun or enjoyable. So far be it from me to be the person that romanticizes on-call.

That said, I also believe on-call doesn’t have to suck or be something people dread. And that if it does, it’s probably symptomatic of a team’s engineering prowess as well as priorities/culture.

Read the full article at: medium.com