I’m givin ‘er all she’s got cap’n!

This entry was posted by on Thursday, 26 August, 2004 at

So yesterday kinda blew.


Starting Monday, I moved to a 7am to 4pm shift to cover an extra hour on the afternoon side since 3-5pm would normally be covered by Joanne. Since she left, this left a 2 hour gap of coverage which we felt should and could be lessened by simply having me come in an hour later.

This was working fine, though honestly the 3-5pm time slot was VERY slow Monday and Tuesday. Yesterday morning, however, we learned our lesson. I woke up around 5.30am, showered, dressed and checked e-mail. My heart sank. At 5.45am I learned that my day would SUCK. I had received e-mails from our service customers screaming because apparently, the service was down.

Let me explain to you what a service outage means:
1. Our entire customer base can not login to enter expenses, report against data, approve expenses to be paid out, or export the data to their accounting systems.

2. Our customer base is LARGE. For every company using the system, there are at least 25 users logging expenses into it. And that’s on the small end. On the larger side, we have companies with as many as 500 users entering data. Imagine now, if you will, that NONE of them can login.

3. Now imagine a small support department. Scratch that. Imagine me. I AM the only support person here now. With Joanne leaving, I don’t even really have a reliable backup to help me out. Any and all support issues are entirely my responsibility. If I don’t do it, it waits until I get to it.

4. On a normal day I typically have enough work to keep me consistently busy. This is work that comes from retail desktop user problems, service customer problems, along with any knowledge base articles I need to write, help file and user guide documentation I need to review and/or re-write, and any other various things that may get thrown my way.

5. My shift is now 7am-4pm. Pacific time. We have not changed our marketed service hours however. These still show 6am to 5pm Pacific. At 5.45am, when I realize the service is down, it is already 8.45am on the East Coast. This is, of course, where the majority of our user base resides.

6. By the time I get into the office at 6.20am, I learn the service has been down since at least 6am Eastern. Not good.

7. My work load at this point is staggering. Not only do I need to reply to everyone that has e-mailed or left a voicemail and let them know we are working on the outage issue, but I need to contact people at 6.30am to make sure that we actually ARE working on it! Meanwhile, my phone is still ringing and e-mails are slowly filling my box. Thank god for copy and paste!

Needless to say, I am back at work on the 6am shift today. It was made apparent to us that it is far more important to cover the 6am slot than the 3-4pm hour. And I am much happier for it. 6am for me means getting here at about 5.30am, which allows me to get a jump on the day BEFORE people expect to get me on the phone, and take care of any issues which came in over the course of the previous night.

Luckily, we were able to get the service back up by 7am Pacific yesterday, which amounts to 30 minutes worth of outage on my shift. Unfortunately that’s not what our service stats are based on. In truth the outage ran us a good 4 hours which is going to KILL our up time stats. If you are in IT of any sort, you know that up-time for any web based service is crucial. It speaks volumes about stability and accessibility. It is a make it or break it number for MANY customers.

After all is said and done yesterday, I was happy to leave at 3.30pm. Things had died down by then, and I was able to leave without feeling guilty or leaving any open issues in my queue. I got may hair cut (met Lisa Belle while I was there) and damn near fell asleep while getting a scalp and shoulder massage. Turns out, that was EXACTLY what I need to wind down from my day. When I got home, I started dinner and after Jean and I ate, I sat on the couch for another 15 minutes trying to figure out what to do.

I was bored and needed some mental stimulation, but my body was exhausted.

So I listened to what I was telling me and went to bed at 8pm. And that made me happy. I really SHOULD listen to me more.

2 Responses to “I’m givin ‘er all she’s got cap’n!”

  1. I was concerned about you going to bed so early, but you needed it. Apparently I needed it, too – I woke up at midnight, and all the lights were still on! I’d gone right to sleep, and neither one of us had turned them off. So I turned them all off and went right back to sleep.

  2. I didn’t even notice. I must have fallen asleep while you were reading.


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