Appalling On-Calling

| Working | November 2, 2013

(I am the only person in our staff of computer services workers for the hospital to do the after-hours and weekend on-call duty. This weekend, I have arranged to give on-call duty to another person, since I am moving house. The change in on-call procedure has been sent out as a system-wide email, and is posted on the first login screen every staffer uses. At 11:30 pm, I get a call on my personal cell phone. All on-call requests are supposed to go to the pager the department owns, so I answer, thinking it is a friend.)

Me: “Hello?”

Caller: “Hello, [My Name], it’s [Name] on Switchboard. My monitor’s colors look a little weird; can you come in and replace it?”

Me: “I’m afraid not. I arranged over a month ago to have [Coworker] take on-call duty this weekend, since I’m moving house. That change is posted all over—”

Caller: “But I can’t see the colors right!”

Me: “I’m not the staffer on call this weekend; you’ll have to call [Coworker]. Besides, the system is monochrome. You don’t need accurate colors.”

Caller: “[Coworker] won’t come out for this! Besides, it isn’t the system I need.”

Me: “What program are you using?”

Caller: “I’m surfing the internet!”

Me: “Can you get into the system and use it?”

Caller: “Of course!”

Me: “So you are calling me because you can’t do something you are not supposed to be doing, after you’ve been informed that I am not the on-call person this weekend? I’m not coming in for this. Call [Coworker].”

Caller: “I’m going to report you to your boss and HR!”

(The caller actually did. When my boss asks me about the invective-laden email that was sent to both him and the head of HR, I told him what really happened and why I refused to come in to work and change out the monitor. The caller got read the riot act by the head of HR!)

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