Taking the week off (July 15-22)

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While I am technically on-call as Level 2 – I have modified our escalation policies to not alert me.

What does this mean??

This week @maany is on-call. I have instructed him as follows:

  • To restart services during the week(Mon-Fri) and on the weekend, such as now…he can restart as much as he can.

  • non-critical helpdesk cases (which is most) will have to wait

But why?!?!?

I’m hoping that I’m not the single point of failure, but this is the only recourse I can take to prevent the need to flat-out resign. I will be writing up guidelines on what I will and will not do a drawing a line in the sand so to speak and will make a separate post next week. I can’t continue like I am right now.

I am doing my best to not let it get to the point where resignation is the only way to save my sanity. I’m experimenting with the current escalation policy and seeing how it works. It will give both @maany and myself a week off.

@r0bby, every call or thread that we’ve had to discuss infrastructure problems, you’ve specifically stated that you don’t want us to hire anyone because things are fine on infrastructure. But then I hear from you that things are overwhelming. Can you please explain what it is that we can do to support you in your role to make things better and to make it so you are not so overwhelmed?

First, this isn’t me being stressed, this is me just wanting a chance to recharge my batteries and see if I can be away for a week and not have the place on fire. The work isn’t too much – it’s mostly on auto-pilot. I can restart services in less than 2 seconds from my phone (way quicker than I can from my laptop – in fact I use my phone to restart things often). It’s not being able to have a day to just…not have to worry about being alerted to incidents. I don’t want to be replaced, but I do think we should probably hire somebody…have a paid person – so that either @maany or myself can take a day off sometimes.

My frustration and stress is that I shouldn’t have to be the sole person doing helpdesk. The triaging is actually automated. I’ve taken a lot of care into making them workable. The Release Process needs to have less reliance on helpdesk.

What I feel like is that if I take a day, week, month off – that the place will be ablaze when I come back. That’s enough to stress a person out right there. It’s a lot of pressure to be the sole person. I read the notes from the leadership call, @burke noted that the community is heavily reliant on me to keep the lights on, that’s kinda overwhelming for anybody. I wanna stop being the Infrastructure Engineer for OpenMRS and just be @r0bby for a week and not have the place on fire when I get back.

I need a week away from being responsible for anything and just be me. I’ll be back next week. I plan on setting this up where each week @maany and myself alternate on being off-call.

The leadership team should look into hiring >1 person(I am not willing to be paid for my work). People deserve time-off. I had very little time-off to myself where I didn’t have to respond to a service outage. This is me taking time off. I love doing what I am doing for the community; but I need time off to myself.

To add to this: I’m not even sure why I have to justify wanting to take some time off from constantly being on-call – that’s kinda worrysome. I’m a volunteer, if I wanna take a month off, I should be able to without having to justify it, granted this is just a week but still.

I don’t believe anyone feels that you shouldn’t take time off. I think we all support you taking time off. Definitely don’t be on call, and don’t read emails. That’s the only way to truly disconnect for some relaxation. Whatever happens while you are gone will still be here when you return. For better or for worse, the community will make it’s way while you are out. I think it’s an important point that we should be building things in such a way that anyone can step in and take on those roles and projects that we’ve created without a lot micromanagement from anyone else. This could be implemented as a Holacracy

I’d like to think about tasks on your team that could be given to an employee or outsourced. These things should be put into a list and we should be considering costs of FTE vs. outsourcing to companies that provide this support.

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This was to prevent me from completely burning out and going crazy. I didn’t wanna resign but I couldn’t keep going at the rate I was. Being on-call constantly with no way to disconnect is no fun. I still watch the helpdesk – just not being on-call is enough for my sanity.

I do not think we should hire people. It does concern me that this is thought of more like a business and less like an FOSS project. Let’s save the money for something more worthwhile. I didn’t communicate to @maany – he’s got the ship held down for now. So we’re good now.

It’s not that the work was too much – it’s just constantly being on-call sucks. I just need to be off-call every once in awhile.