After Hours

At the university, and within the field in general it seems, there are three primary shifts we work. First shift is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., second shift begins around 3 p.m. and goes until midnight, and third shift begins around 12 a.m. and ends at 8 a.m. We have some flexibility with those within Computer Services, and in particular our lab supervisors flex their hours a bit to ensure the best coverage, but within Microcomputer Support we’re strictly first shift. The business hours for the university are officially during the day, and we primarily support faculty and staff, so we need to be here during the same hours.

Unfortunately, there is always some sort of work that needs to be done during off-hours. Production servers that can’t be taken down during the regular day, or labs that need to be rebuilt but are in use during business hours. Our second shift lab supervisors are able to shoulder some of that burden, but occasionally we, as in Microcomputer Support, just have to work late.

As Banner go-live approaches, it seems we’re all picking up some extra hours. On the plus side, I suppose, our group (User Support) is “non-exempt,” which means the university pays us overtime. This is compared with pretty much all the rest of Computer Services who are overtime exempt, which means the university can ask them to work fifty hours a week and their pay doesn’t change. Overtime exempt employees, however, start off with twice as much vacation time and generally higher pay, though, so their compensation is built-in.

My primary project right now is setting up the documentation repository for Banner, which I’ve been able to do during normal business hours (when I’ve managed to find time for it, which isn’t always available). Banner training began yesterday, however, so the server is officially being used during the day and I can no longer tinker with it during my regular shift. As such, I was here late last night and will likely be late at least one other night this week. It is something I try to avoid, but it is becoming increasingly inevitable.

We have to be here during our shift, but if there’s work to do that takes additional or different times, you just have to suck it up and do it. What’s important is completing the work with the least impact on the end-user, and if that means working while the end-user is sleeping, then that’s what we’ll do. It’s what makes us User Support Specialists.

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