Reflecting on Being an On Call SysAdmin
This week, I am on call as a Systems Administrator. Any issue that arises is my responsibility, 24 hours a day, for 7 days.
Traditionally, I’m a networking guy. I sometimes write code, but I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not great at it. Systems administration? I’m marginally better.
I’ve been on call as a Linux guy 4 times now. It’s a week of hell, partially because we’re in a true continuous deployment environment and partially because we’re still in the middle of standing up orchestration technologies everywhere. I spend a week going crazy, and then I spend a week (or more) being completely burned out. Two to three weeks later (depending on who swaps on call with whom), I’m back at it.
It’s been bad enough that it’s made me want out of operations. But then I look at other companies, and they seem to be handling on call responsibities and time much better, so maybe it’s better elsewhere.
Regardless, I’m out of my element when I’m on call for servers. That might be part of the frustration. Add to that the fact that e-mail is the alerting mechanism and that there is no night shift or NOC…
I know that I can’t be on call as a Systems Administrator at my next job. Something’s always broken, and I don’t have the skills necessary to quickly resolve those broken things. Will I perform SysAdmin duties? Sure. But not on call.
This post is part of the #30in30 challenge.