In Which Ike Is Praised


So, there’s been fallout from a very failed attempt at a shared social outing with my team to an intellectually stimulating occasion held by and paid for by the company.

My teammates are not curious. They left half an hour into one of the most interesting talks that many people in the industry would probably give an arm and a leg to be at, saying that there was nothing interesting and could they just get back to work now?

I mean, I’m glad they humored me a little bit, and am amazed, but I felt really bad after they left and a lot like a slacker. Sure, I learned a lot, and it was a valuable day.

So I talked to my bartender about this. Puzzled it out. And came to this conclusion:

  • When I had sleep issues due to a barrage of oncall, I was as incurious as my current team and didn’t have the energy to engage in the conversations that my old team constantly stirred up all over the place.

  • Now that I’m getting sleep, I’m curious again, but now the team room is an instrument of boring torture as nobody will talk about anything outside of what’s directly related to their work.

So I can have the sparkling freedom from oncall, or I can have intellectual stimulation, but I can’t have both as things now stand.

So I talked with my bartender about what I will call the matrix of oncall. It looks like this:

                 |         x
           z     |     
      -----------+------------ severity
                 |   y      y'
           w     |

“x” is pain: high severity (i.e., the website fell over, rocks fall, nobody can order stuff) and high frequency of pages.

“w” is where my current team is at: low severity, no pages.

“z” probably doesn’t exist (low severity, frequent pages? You aren’t getting paged if it’s low severity. At least, I hope not.)

“y” is probably where I can live, even y’, if I get my sleep sorted out somehow. Chronic insomnia is hard that way.

So my doctor suggested that I check out a sleep support group, run by the sleep people at the hospital that he’s part of.

So if I spend my year

  • Getting my sleep act together (or something);
  • Learning about alternative teams in the “y” spot
  • Cozying up with various people in such teams

… I will survive. I’ll get to sleep and I’ll be curious and advance my career once more. The time I really shown brightly was, ironically, just before the very first service I wrote went into peaceful tier-1 production launch, and I wasn’t oncall for anything.

In the meantime, my bartender has had patients who bring their “unofficial service animals”—i.e., untrained dogs, as opposed to real service animals that get training and certification—to sessions, which have resulted in bad behavior from said poor dogs. In contrast, Ike never fusses, never messes, and is a silent and helpful assistant, and so my bartender called Ike his favorite unofficial service animal.

Ike is very chuffed.