Getting paid to sleep – trying to fix on-call

Sleep is the commission of Operations personnel. No company wants to pay for true 247 operations (until they are huge), and more than that, seldom do they want to pay for senior members of an ops team to be working 247. As an Ops guy, I spent 7 of the last 9 years in some kind of formal on-call rota. I want to share how I turned on-call from a lifestyle that required me to carry a heavy laptop and a loud mobile phone everywhere I went; living in perpetual fear of leaving my home, to being a way to get paid to sleep with management approval. I will discuss: How the boring bits, like reporting, when done well, can make life easier. How sometimes making things harder is the only way to make things better. How to communicate the value of sleep to leadership inside a large enterprise. How to use the experiences of system failures and downtime to prioritise innovative development and improvement of products. How to define what is critical, requires immediate attention and thus qualifies an event to deprive you of precious sleep (commission).


Josh Kirkwood

I’ve gone from being a seasoned connoisseur of the reboot inside a NOC to designing and building my own DC for 10,000 Servers. I’ve formed some seriously unhealthy work habits and managed to fix them. There was a time where I was nominated on call for 4 months without a single break. I have spent 8 of the last 10 years with contractual on call responsibility.