Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Personal Policies for achieving "The Good Life"

Good Life Policies ... This is only one.

Maybe a series will come out of it.

The policy is: Unplug for the weekend. Always. Recently, TheHackerCIO got pulled into a client's production support. When a competence vacuum develops, and believe me, this happens a *lot*, a production degradation or outage tends to suck good people into the support call. And that is precisely what happened at this client. It was all right with me, because I was authorized to bill whatever hours I worked. And when the contract ended, due to budget & contractual considerations, one of my colleagues told me the discussion centered around, "What will we do without <<TheHackerCIO>>? He's always there, whenever there's a problem?" Well, of course, they used my real name!

But it was *after* this client that I realized I was checking and answering email late at night and answering calls on the weekend for a non-production-support client. And what made it worse was that I was *not* being compensated for this exercise in "Going the Extra Mile."

So I quit. I "just said No."  I established the "Unplug After Hours and on Weekends" policy. It was easy. On Friday I put in an autoresponder message on my email client, to inform people that:

"I am not on the call rotation for support this weekend, and I will be unavailable for electronic communications. I will consider your email first thing Monday morning. For urgent matters please contact my supervisor"
Mind you, I have no idea who actually *would* be on the call rotation. This contract didn't really involve production support, lol! So the statements above are entirely true! I recorded a similar message on my cell phone:
"I am not on call rotation for support this weekend, and I expect little to no cellphone coverage. Please leave a message if you wish a response on Monday, or for urgent matters contact Johnny Useless at <number-redacted>."
Then, that weekend, I didn't check my work email. Nor did I pick up any work calls. I let 'em all go to voicemail. After a week or two, I've never been troubled again.

I'm now far more rested and refreshed each weekend for the coming week. I even started applying this policy to my after hours email. If you don't set boundaries, people will continue taking. And taking. Until nothing is left. I will always be available for after hours work for a client...

So long as they pay for it ...

I Remain,


Why should I be connected to work if I'm not getting compensated for it?