Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Hours of operation

It's started.  Those commercials for disaster recovery, immediate plumbing, fire and water cleanup.  24 hour emergency service. 

I don't know why but I always squirm a bit when I think about someone, an employee, being on call 24 hours a day, for this type of work. I suspect that it's rooted in a position I held years ago, back when we had pagers (that's really old, older than email) and I was "on the pager" all the time.

I hated that pager.

I was at a Sunday brunch at the Hotel Del in San Diego and that stupid pager went off.  I recall thinking, "I need to get away from this business as soon as possible."  NOTHING was going to happen that Sunday afternoon, at least nothing that could wait until I got home to call my colleague.  It was the early days of the electronic tether, and I think the person for whom I worked just enjoyed paging us to see how quickly we responded.

So I sort of feel for some of these employees.  I can't imagine that anyone looks forward to the 4 am phone call for a drain clog, a broken water line, an over-flowing toilet.   I understand that there are bona fide emergencies and that some businesses do well and expect those calls.  I am grateful - despite the fact that I am somewhat apologetic when I have had to call. 

I always want to ask if the employee gets an on-call bonus or extra pay for coming off hours.  I can't help it.

I do wonder too if there is a business model for a second shift industry.  You know, plumbers, electricians, carpenters who come to your house when YOU are home.  Now that would be pretty darn neat. 

Well, here's to a holiday season without emergencies!

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