Holidays? PFFFFT!


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    My entire group is off 12/31 and 1/1. Corporate holiday. MANDATORY under the orders of Herr VP.

    For the past week and a bit, things have been extremely chaotic. Our normal IT Ops team lead is out on vacation, everything is fucking broken, and certain elements of Manufacturing Ops have decided that we are to be at their beck and call 24/7/365. I have been effectively the Emergency Asskicker for our IT Ops team. Anything stupid, incorrectly requested, That's Your Fucking Job And I'm Not Going To Do It For You, chronically broken, or just idiotic comes my way because I don't take shit from anybody, have the complete disregard for my own career necessary to be a dick right back, the skill to arrive at a conclusion quickly, and a knack for always getting the correct, complete conclusion the first time, every time. It's a stark change from the usual IT Ops lead's attitude of "do everything yourself, accept all shit, and never, EVER, EVER let management know that there's a chronic bug, or something you can't handle, or have to do every day because manufacturing won't open a change request". In short, the 2 weeks out of the year that this guy is on vacation, I get to act like a badass and tell everybody they're doing everything wrong. It's great fun.

    It is 5:00PM on 12/30. Our business hours end at 4, but because of absurd levels of dumb myself and our IT Ops staff are still here. An account rep from Manufacturing Ops IM's the senior of the surviving IT Ops staffers, asking which one of them will be in on the 31st and the 1st to support them. The answer is, obviously, nobody.

    This is unacceptable! and will not be tolerated by manufacturing! They made plans and even asked us! The account rep produces an email from a month ago, sent to everybody up to and including Jesus on the Manufacturing side of the world, and... Our ops team mailbox. Which goes to the ops team members. And basically gets no useful email of any sort, isn't read by management, isn't read by the group (except intra-group communications) and is basically the noisiest mailbox in the entire god damned universe. In this email, there were about 3 pages of information about how many people needed to be on hand to run equipment, pack boxes, etc. Total junk unrelated to us. Except buried deep in the middle was "IT staff will need to perform a one-off manual process once a day to move work from a plant that is closed to a plant that is open".

    So, basically, they failed to actually ask if they could get that done. At all. Until after business hours on the day before a holiday when they need it done. If they had given us advance notice, I'd have been OK with doing it. Whatever. No big deal.

    As it stands right now... I'm on-call this week. Our on-call is supposed to be emergency ONLY. They'll claim this is an emergency. This is going to be good. I feel sorry in advance for the poor Indian helpdesker that's going to get stuck in the middle.



  • @Weng said:

    Our on-call is supposed to be emergency ONLY. They'll claim this is an emergency.

    Well how much of a loss is not having it done going to be? Depending on how the escalation of emergency works for you it could qualify (I know it would for my company, but it seems like you have stricter rules).



  • If not agreed up front it'd probably qualify here as an on call escalation once they made up some big number it'd cost the company not to do it which we'd find difficult to prove wrong.

    In reality, the whole thing in my team would play out like this:

    • Manufacturing would speak to my boss who'd agree it completely without speaking to any of us
    • We'd find out at the last minute, or at the very least, once it'd all been agreed and set up
    • We'd disagree, and argue against it and it'd make no difference
    • We'd take it to my boss' boss, and after some more hours wasted disagreeing there'd be a 50/50 chance that we'd either get told to JFDI or get out of it
    • In case of JFDI, whoever's on call anyway would do it and claim the full holiday call out rates + over time and would have their days ruined but end up laughing on the following pay day

  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    "Emergency" is nominally not supposed to include things of your own doing.

    In practice, abuse is more common than not. I actually spent a good part of today putting together the statistics.

    Also, we're salaried, O/T exempt, no on-call compensation.



  • @loopback0 said:

    whoever's on call anyway would do it and claim the full holiday call out rates + over time

    Buh? You get that for being on call? The most I've ever seen for it is you can cut out a bit early on a few of the following days after a long call (like the 12 hours I spent weekend before last).

    @Weng said:

    Also, we're salaried, O/T exempt, no on-call compensation.

    That is what I assumed, but sometimes in those cases it means you can duck out early the following day.



  • @Weng said:

    "Emergency" is nominally not supposed to include things of your own doing.

    I'm jealous.



  • @locallunatic said:

    You get that for being on call?

    Standby pay for being on call, then a minimum overtime payment of 2 hours at 1.5x (or 2x for weekends) per actual call out for normal working days or weekends.
    Holiday (Christmas, New Year) call outs are something like standby rate, plus 3x overtime, plus a big holiday-specific payment for being called out on a holiday, plus a day off per holiday day for being on call. They're good earners but not necessarily worth it if you do get called out in the middle of Christmas Day for several hours.



  • Wow! That is quite impressive.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    Officially, no comp time EVER you WILL be here. Unofficially and off the books, yeah, sure, as long as you aren't supposed to be doing something important. UNLESS you're a Person of Some Import (leads, psuedo-leads, shadow-manager, person-who-actually-knows-what-they're-doing etc.) at which point you have too much important stuff to do to get out on time on a normal day.

    I data mined our ticketing system today and, as of this morning, I'm up 600hrs on the average developer for the year. That's an average of 2.4 hours per working day. Not counting all the vacation I had cancelled out from under me ('vacation day' and '8 hours of actual work' are indistinguishable - so my unused vacation isn't tracked there). Use it or lose it, no rollovers, officially. Unofficially and off the books you can take it in Jan or Feb unless you're supposed to be doing something important see paragraph 1 about Persons of Some Import.

    Oh, and it takes 15 minutes to boot the company laptop and VPN in and set the ticket to In Progress. It alarms to the escalation first available escalation point after 20 minutes in Pending. There's usually a 5 minute delay for the Helpdesk to call the on-call after ticket creation. The first (and last) available escalation point due to the holidays? CIO. Of a Fortune 500.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    Oh BTW it's now damn near 7:00 and I'm still here, dealing with stupidity.



  • @Weng said:

    Officially, no comp time EVER you WILL be here.

    Ah, OK. Mine is set up in a log this many hours minimum in a tracking tool per week or you are canned, but normal work and tickets are both in the tracking tool (plus vacation, sick, other crap) so if you aren't going to delay something then you can get away with only doing 9-17 and covering the missing hour with ticket time.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    We're 8/day in the tracking tool excluding weekends under penalty of nebulous threat about downsizing if not everybody hits 8/day or more because idle hands are evil.

    It color codes days. Days with less than 8 are yellow (i.e. fix this before someone notices!), 8-12 are green, 12+ is yellow again. 24+* is, interestingly enough, green again. I think it's a bug.

    *It's a combination ticket/billing system, so there are scenarios where things with minimum charges can push you up over the 24 hour mark in a single day. Most common and easiest to explain example is that we have an AA that keys tickets into the system all day long. There's a 15min-1hr charge per ticket (depending on type) that gets credited to her that nominally represents the work that goes into extracting the minimum necessary information from the idiots who can't fill in forms. On a busy day when people are being cooperative, she can obliterate 24 hours with 15 minute tickets.

    I don't do that kind of work, so I can use it to actually track my real world OT.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Weng said:

    no on-call compensation

    TRWTF, but you already knew that.

    Salary or no, I don't think I'd do "no on-call compensation" again. "You can't go anywhere because some moron's going to call you at 8 PM because he forgot his password" deserves hazard pay.



  • @Weng said:

    It color codes days. Days with less than 8 are yellow (i.e. fix this before someone notices!), 8-12 are green, 12+ is yellow again. 24+* is, interestingly enough, green again. I think it's a bug.

    Bwahahahaaa!!! Serves you people with your "normal" color vision right!


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @da_Doctah said:

    Bwahahahaaa!!! Serves you people with your "normal" color vision right!

    Oh, you're one of those, eh?

    I used to run a clan website for a warring web game (Earth 2025!) and one of the members griped for years about our traffic signal war-status indicator. He always griped about how the red was muddy. I was like, dude, it's #ff0000, it can't be any redder than that. Years later, he found out he was quite (are there gradations? or is it all-or-nothing) red-green colorblind. How you can make it into your early 20s in the first world (or Montreal, anyway...) and not know that, I'll never understand.



  • @FrostCat said:

    How you can make it into your early 20s in the first world

    Because it takes exposure to colors in proper mixture where it stands out to others and not to you while being obvious that is the reason and not you just being dumb on a one off. For the extremes it tends to be obvious but there are different levels/color combinations so it doesn't pop out as much for some of us.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @locallunatic said:

    Because it takes exposure to colors in proper mixture where it stands out to others and not to you while being obvious that is the reason and not you just being dumb on a one off.

    According to him, it wasn't just this one thing. He told me later that he had problems with stoplights and other things as well. He apparently just never managed to put two and two together, and it surprised me, because where I grew up, everyone got tested for it with the old number plates, several times growing up.

    I wasn't calling him a dumbass or anything, I just didn't understand how he didn't figure it out.



  • Fair enough, mines pretty strong between a lot of different color pairings on the number plates but I don't notice it in day to day life.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    If I didn't make it clear, apparently he'd gone until he was in his 20s without testing, which is how he never discovered it. That surprised me more than that he was colorblind--because when he told me, obviously I was like "ah, well, that explains it."



  • Fair enough, I just know that I felt like a dumbass when I'd pass maybe half the plates in one of the tests but not notice it otherwise (which tends to make you wonder how accurate the tests are).



  • I'm lucky that my tickets don't sound as bad as yours do.

    http://what.thedailywtf.com/t/the-official-thread-of-oh-oh-oh-status/1673/6751

    Note: hopefully this one boxes but on cell so we will see.



  • We have SLAs about agreements in person, but then again, we don't really need to be around this time of year, since we're 100% closed on Christmas/New Year's, and there aren't too many people getting biopsies this time of year.



  • @FrostCat said:

    How you can make it into your early 20s in the first world (or Montreal, anyway...) and not know that, I'll never understand.

    Emphasis added.

    People do know that the Third World is third behind the Old World (parts(1) of Western Europe) and the New World (the Americas), and not behind the first and second worlds, right?

    Of course it's complicated by the fact that parts of the New World are considered to be part of the Third World, and certain Old World countries (including one I used to live in) seem hell-bent on creating the Fourth World (Old/New World countries descended to a status similar to Third World countries)...

    (1) Specifically Spain and Portugal, then France and England(2), and that's more or less it.

    (2) I do mean England here, and not the United Kingdom.



  • @chubertdev said:

    and there aren't too many people getting biopsies this time of year.

    Certain types of biopsy (? correct singular ?) (or at least the analysis that's implied by a biopsy, but on a surgically-removed whole organ) are like Time, and wait for no man. Under the right circumstances, tumorous tissues are removed at need, not at the convenience of surgeons,(1) nor of analysis folks.

    (1) Actually, the convenience of surgeons played a big role in the one I'm thinking of, in that it was done with some urgency because the full surgical team was available that week, but not the following week.



  • @Steve_The_Cynic said:

    People do know that the Third World is third behind the Old World (parts(1) of Western Europe) and the New World (the Americas), and not behind the first and second worlds, right?

    I suspect you may be the only one who "knows" this.



  • Wikipedia certainly doesn't "know" that.

    Usual Wikipedia caveats apply.



  • I'm on call in one-week units. I get a fixed amount for being on call (roughly 25% of my monthly, so I'm roughly paid double the week I'm on call), plus 4 hours off that I can take later, and that's if I'm not called (it happens that I'm not called at all). When I'm called I get paid overtime (x2 after 10 pm, x3 on Sundays), and equivalent time off.



  • We're on call one week in four.
    A week's 'standby' payment is roughly 25% of a week's pay for me.



  • I found that doing on-call motivated the team members to fix every possible break point so we wouldn't be called. Those more than usual daily recicle reboots were gone after a month and never brought again as a solution. Also, until the on-call started I never saw anyone with profiling tools open and looking for memory leaks.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Steve_The_Cynic said:

    People do know that the Third World is third behind the Old World (parts(1) of Western Europe) and the New World (the Americas), and not behind the first and second worlds, right?

    Don't overthink it--I was just making a cheap shot at Quebec.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @loopback0 said:

    A week's 'standby' payment is roughly 25% of a week's pay for me.

    The last place I worked, hourly people got pretty significant bonuses for being on call, but us salaried types didn't, which is the main reason for my current policy of no uncompensated on call time.



  • @Weng said:

    Not counting all the vacation I had cancelled out from under me ('vacation day' and '8 hours of actual work' are indistinguishable - so my unused vacation isn't tracked there). Use it or lose it, no rollovers, officially.

    Lose it? I thought that was illegal - or is that just one of those California laws we have? Once vacation is earned, the only way it can be "taken away" is by using it or being paid for it. Now, they can set a limit - in which case, you never earn it. Or like my current company, we have unlimited vacation - subject to approval. Downside of that is when you leave the company, there's no earned vacation payout.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    Sounds like Kommunist Kalifornia. Around here, we have companies that do such lovely things as announcing on December 1 (right after everyone blows their PTO wad on thanksgiving vacations) "We are closed the last two weeks of the year. You MUST use PTO if you have it. If you don't have enough left, you aren't getting paid".

    Pennsylvania is very, very, very business-oriented in that respect.

    My father also gets use-it-or-lose-it in Maryland.



  • @dcon said:

    Lose it? I thought that was illegal - or is that just one of those California laws we have?

    I worked under this policy once:

    1. You cannot take vacation until you earn it. You officially earn 1/25th of your yearly vacation at the end of each two week pay period.
    2. Vacation does not carry over to the next calendar year.
    3. You can only take vacation in full week blocks.

    All of those show up in various policies, but they do nasty things when implemented together. Under this policy, you are guaranteed to end up in late December having earned most of your last week of vacation. You are only eligible to take that week during the last pay period of the year, when you earn the last bit of it. So, the entire company has to take one of the last two weeks of the years off. This was in a business where the end of December had no special meaning and we supported customers that worked all through December.

    Also, in New York, there are pretty strong labor laws. If you make under $600 per week, the department of labor can send the guy who signs the paychecks to jail for a serious violation. If you make more than $600 per week, you must use the court system and fight your own battles. So, there are effectively no labor laws for salaried professionals until it gets to the point where it's worth going to court.



  • @Steve_The_Cynic said:

    Certain types of biopsy (? correct singular ?) (or at least the analysis that's implied by a biopsy, but on a surgically-removed whole organ) are like Time, and wait for no man. Under the right circumstances, tumorous tissues are removed at need, not at the convenience of surgeons,(1) nor of analysis folks.

    (1) Actually, the convenience of surgeons played a big role in the one I'm thinking of, in that it was done with some urgency because the full surgical team was available that week, but not the following week.

    Not my job, I just put in the text that they tell me to. Well, I did. My last day is Friday.

    But yeah, I'm not sure of the reasoning, but samples are always way down this time of year.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Weng said:

    right after everyone blows their PTO wad on thanksgiving vacations

    You'd hope that experienced employees (i.e., already raped^Wripped off once this way) would tell the new people. Certainly if I knew that was coming, I'd make sure to save some time up for it. Or else find a new job and tell the fuckers why I was leaving.



  • @FrostCat said:

    You'd hope that experienced employees (i.e., already raped^Wripped off once this way) would tell the new people. Certainly if I knew that was coming, I'd make sure to save some time up for it. Or else find a new job and tell the fuckers why I was leaving.

    Yup, you'll be taking that time off, one way or another.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @chubertdev said:

    Yup, you'll be taking that time off, one way or another.

    Ha, yeah.

    I had a few jobs with crappy incidentals in my 20s, enough to know not to work places like that again.



  • @Jaime said:

    You can only take vacation in full week blocks

    Is that a US thing? I've never worked for any company which mandated more than half days as the minimum unit of vacation (and I've worked in two different countries on two different continents...)



  • @boomzilla said:

    People do know that the Third World is third behind the Old World (parts(1) of Western Europe) and the New World (the Americas), and not behind the first and second worlds, right?

    I suspect you may be the only one who "knows" this.

    I once decided that the First World was NTSC (later ATSC), the Second World was PAL (though those who lived in the Second World thought theirs was First). It was obvious to everyone, though, that the Third World was SECAM.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @tar said:

    Is that a US thing?

    It happens, but it's not universal. My company mandates half-day increments for personal days but full days for anything else.

    One of our customers is a factory. They give employees vacation in week-sized blocks (start off with 2 weeks a year, after 3 years you get 3 weeks, and so on, or however it works out.) I assume to simplify scheduling, their employees can mostly only take vacation in full-week increments, except after so many years, you can take up one week's worth of vacation as single days.

    They also have a whacked-out policy where explicitly only so many people in a given department can be off on any given day, and everyone has to request their time off for the entire year in January, and ties are broken by seniority, so you will never get (say) the week of 4th of July off until you've been there for many years.



  • @tar said:

    Is that a US thing?

    It was specific to the job. I was an IT trainer and most of the classes are five days. Taking a Tuesday off screws up the schedule as much as taking a whole week off. Also, informally, we weren't allowed to be sick. We could call in sick, but the people that that had to pay someone to teach the day you were out took it out of your hide. I put up with it because they paid me close to $150K a year.



  • @FrostCat said:

    It happens, but it's not universal. My company mandates half-day increments for personal days but full days for anything else.

    Our time card software goes down to the quarter hour. That's the minimum amount of positive leave that I can take.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @boomzilla said:

    Our time card software goes down to the quarter hour.

    You know why? Because of people like some of the employees at some of our clients. They discovered FMLA leave can be abused to protect them from getting fired. One company was owned by a Japanese company that had a point system for attendance. If you don't know what that is, don't worry about it, but the upshot is it's a formal way of saying "if you're late or miss work too much, you will get fired." These guys would be hung over or oversleep and they call in and ask for 1 hour's FMLA leave so they can come in late "because they have a headache."

    It didn't work long-term, of course: the company hit a rough patch due to the economy and laid off almost the entire work force. Later when their business picked back up, they rehired most of the workers. Guess who was at the top of the "DO NOT ASK BACK" list? Yep, the FMLA abusers (among others.)



  • @FrostCat said:

    You know why? Because of people like some of the employees at some of our clients.

    I don't think so. It's used (among other things) to generate bills to our customers. And 15 minutes is a fairly reasonable tradeoff between granularity and fuck off, I'm not going into that much detail.


  • mod

    @tar said:

    Is that a US thing? I've never worked for any company which mandated more than half days as the minimum unit of vacation (and I've worked in two different countries on two different continents...)

    Never had a job here in 'Merica that had that rule. Probably just employer specific.



  • @abarker said:

    Merica

    We have one of those guys in our office marvelling at our 38 hour work week. 7.6 hours per day, baby.

    Oh and today I took annual leave: just the one day to make a four day long weekend... I still have plenty remaining



  • @boomzilla said:

    15 minutes is a fairly reasonable tradeoff between granularity and fuck off, I'm not going into that much detail.

    Ditto here. Although we seldom need the granularity.

    I usually use my leave in hour chunks, so I don't have to feel like I'm using a stopwatch to time lunch hour/breaks or whatever.

    When the drive to work takes an extra hour, I don't have to leave an hour late and guarantee the drive home takes an extra two hours. [Yes, hours, this is DC]

    So, I often bleed away a couple of hours per pay period, but I'm usually home for dinner!



  • @loopback0 said:

    Wikipedia certainly doesn't "know" that.

    Usual Wikipedia caveats apply.


    'Sfunny, I lived in the US for almost all of the 1980s, and I never heard anyone talk about the First World / Second World split. It was always US-aligned (or "the West"), Soviet-bloc, and banana republics (aka Third World). Well, not always. Sometimes you had "Communist bloc" to hoover up China, Yugoslavia, and a few other oddments, or maybe just "Warsaw Pact" (because nobody really took China seriously as a threat the West would engage), but I never once heard "First World" or "Second World" as names for anything.

    So I just buttumed that the split was Old, New, Third. Curiously, a significant fraction of the world isn't in any of those three.

    Bah.



  • @Steve_The_Cynic said:

    I lived in the US for almost all of the 1980s, and I never heard anyone talk about the First World / Second World split.

    IN the '80s we just called 'em the Evil Empire.


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