Come on, back to work

Within 24 hours of going pseudo-incommunicado I was struck by two things ...The first was just how many workmates insisted on calling me, even though I was on leave and the second was just how few of those people bothered to leave messages.

The Weakest Link … in publishing, at least, is apparently the editor. In the finished printed version of the last A Week Of IT, he managed to transmogrify my employer’s name and the domain bit of my email address from Stevenson to Stephenson while at the same time leaving several comma splices which my English-teacher wife took great delight in observing and exploiting.

I promise you that, in future, all my writing will be carefully checked by my live-in comma nazi. Furthermore, I have decided that each error which slips his editorial dragnet will cost Doesburg a chocolate fish. Keep reading closely folks, I’ll be throwing in some deliberate mistakes just to make sure he’s awake …

For the record – and don’t even think about screwing with this one Anthony – my correct email address is jxs@stevensons.co.nz.

Getting away from IT

This last week has actually been very quiet work-wise. That's because I’ve just spent four spectacular late summer days at Anawhata (it’s about 300m straight up the cliff from North Piha, on Auckland's west coast) with my 12-year-old son’s class on their school camp.

The facilities at camp were primitive. There was at least a real bach with a roof and walls and comfy beds for the grown-ups, but there was no phone and no electricity except for some solar-powered lights (is that an oxymoron?). There was definitely no high-speed internet or decent coffee. Yes indeedy, this was the perfect place to get away from IT.

Unfortunately, when you have 24 x 7 responsibility for something, it’s virtually impossible to completely shut off so I figured I’d try to get the best of both worlds. I left my phone on and in “Meeting” mode. The theory was that I could occasionally check my missed call log and clear my messages just to make sure that nothing really bad had happened. Within 24 hours of going pseudo-incommunicado I was struck by two things …

The first was just how many workmates insisted on calling me, even though I was on leave and listed as such with reception and in our company portal’s “Who Is Away Today” page. Apparently people assume that, because I have a cellphone, I’m available even when on holiday. Either that or they simply don’t bother to use the information that’s available to them.

The second was just how few of those people bothered to leave messages. What they wanted was important enough for them to disturb a senior manager on holiday but not important enough that they left me a message. What were they thinking? What was it they wanted? I guess we’ll never know, but it obviously wasn’t that important.

I’m sure there are some lessons in there for all of us, but I’ve yet to figure out exactly what they are. Once I do I’m convinced I’ll be a happier and more successful IS manager because my user community will actually use the resources I give them and, more importantly, I’ll receive less nuisance phone calls.

Maybe spending some more time on holiday might help me work it all out …

Swanson is IT manager at W Stevenson & Sons. His correct email address is jxs@stevensons.co.nz. (Why is it "stevensons" and not "stevenson"? -- Ed.)

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