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I dunno. I've worked in games and I've worked in another role where I was on-call.

I think the kind of stress is apples and oranges.

Games is definitely more work overall, but it's generally within office hours, and you can still get a decent sleep even at crunch time if you're sensible and don't work for the worst abusers of unpaid overtime.

On-call can really fuck you up even if the actual hours worked are less.


Yeah, I am constantly amazed and terrified of the kinds of shifts doctors and nurses do. I really do not understand how they manage to not make mistakes in such an environment.

In Grey's Anatomy, you often see people taking a couple of hours sleep mid shift; is this generally accurate?


They make a ton of mistakes. This is by far, the worst feature of the American health care system and it shows up as bad care, lives lost, and huge costs. Every single American who pays for healthcare is essentially fucked by our ridiculous system. And this is a system set up by doctors, mind you, doctors that should and do know better.

They do make mistakes. Hospital errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S.

That's... crazy! Where can I read more about this?

My wife is a nurse, too, and it definitely takes a special kind of person to do this work. She moved into pharma about a dozen years ago to escape the crazy and irregular hours/shifts and has been much happier & less stressed ever since, and much higher pay.

My fiance is a child neurology resident in Boston. Last year she was on 28 hour call every 4 days, which means she was forced to stay up at least 30 hours if things were busy at the hospital. Depending on the rotation, she would catch 0-4 hours of sleep at the hospital if it wasn't that busy at night. I think they only make the residents work 28 hour shifts, with attending working more like 9-15 hours per day.

> The part I dislike the most is that they moved me to a salaried position that pays ~10% less without the on-call overtime bonus. On-call being just "free labor" makes it much more frustrating.

Ouch!

When our team was asked to be on-call (this was a few years ago at another company), we negotiated a fixed monthly bonus and I don't think we would have continued to be "on-call" if they had reneged on that. I think it was even in our contract. How did they take that away from you? Is it in your job description that you need to be on-call?

We also had a high priority "fix what broke" strategy that was also management approved: whenever something went wrong at 3am, the next day our top priority was to try and ensure that did not happen again, ever. Our interests were aligned with management here: management wanted as little downtime as possible for the web services, we wanted as little interruption to sleep as possible.

How often do you get calls/messages on average? Is there anything you can do to reduce them by improving the actual things that are breaking?


On-call rotation is listed in the job description.

We have at-will employment here, so a contract change is basically, "accept the change or go someplace else to work." Which works against us in a down economy in a position that still pays better than most other companies would for the same work.

I make around $70k myself. The average here is around $50k. Moving's not really an option due to family. Maybe in 4-5 more years moving will be on the table, but by then I'll be closing in on 40.

We probably get around 3-4 calls a week, usually between 1am and 8am (non-staffed hours), and another 6-12 text message alerts a week. Some weeks are better, some are worse. My issue is once I've woken up to handle something, it takes me a good 1-2 hours to fall back asleep again. I obviously can't treat that with sleeping pills since I need to be able to wake up again. So I go the opposite route and try to keep myself awake when I need to be.

We can't do much to fix outage issues, as we're part of a larger organization, and we monitor processes for everyone else. It's our job to contact their on-call support staff to get things fixed.

I think the idea was to relieve all of the tier-3 teams from needing to implement their own separate, patch-work application health monitoring systems; and instead centralize all of the monitoring to one team. Some of the better teams do have their own health monitoring as well; and in those cases, we're more of the "fallback" in case their monitoring doesn't catch issues.


On-call has to be a separate, significant financial line item. It can't be just 'rolled into your job' - what happens when you're understaffed, for example?

On-call means you can't get drunk, go see a movie, visit distant friends or whatever. It's a significant impact on your life - plus, of course, you're expected to work your normal full day after a hard night. I simply stopped going out to bars with my friends, even though I wasn't drinking. The benefit of socialising didn't make up for standing in a cold alleyway in winter talking an enduser through a tech problem for 45 minutes at a time.

"Fuck you, pay me" applies here. Salary is for normal work hours - on-call spreads that to 24/7 for a week. On-call is also not trivial, so it shouldn't pay peanuts. Remember it's the company that wants 24/7 coverage; it should be a cost to the company to provide that. I'm a 'best effort' guy, and I don't like to see my stuff failing. I'd rather fix it on my own time than let it rot until business hours roll around. But I'm not giving my employer priority time over the my personal life for free.

If ever you need a question for that part in job interviews, on-call is a good one. Also worth scrutinising in the contract.


Negotiating salary with on-call in view is an important point, and one that is rarely discussed when issues of pay come up. I totally agree that on-call is a cost. If they aren't willing to pay for it, they shouldn't expect employees to do it.

Yup. My English sister has been using it because she gets better quality voice than Skype. Maybe Wechat is winning because it's the better product.

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Interesting. Our daughter is 2 months away from her 2nd birthday and just in the last month or so, her speech has started accelerating at quite a pace. Whereas from 8 months or so she was making noises and started to form her first words, these days it's almost one new word per day, and she's starting to make lots of 2 and even 3 word sentences.

Another interesting point: we're bringing her up to be bi-lingual (Dutch and English), and because her environment is primarily Dutch, almost all of the words she speaks are in Dutch, though she understands a decent share of English too, now. I wonder if because language development is a bit more prolonged with bi-lingual children, if this vulnerable phase is also then prolonged, or if the brain starts to be more resilient as soon as a "first language" is settled in?

I love this stuff!

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Somewhat related, I found my Son's bilingual exposure very interesting. From 3 months to 20 months he was in a bi-lingual montessori (english & spanish). Teachers and assistants always use both languages to work with children. We also reinforced at home wherever possible. Our limited spanish skills were mostly from the things he brought home and told us and a few books.

Then we moved and he was in another school, english only, from 21 months to 38 months. The decline of spanish skills was slow at first, even while we worked with him at home, then became very rapid. English skills continually improved, as would be expected.

At 39 months we moved back to the original bilingual montessori. He quickly learned/learns new spanish words and phrases, but the previous ones (colors, numbers, shapes, animals) are mostly gone. Even though I recall 90% of them, all learned as an adult, he doesn't.

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The first three and a half years of my life I lived in Ghana and, apparently, spoke Dutch, English, Spanish (with the local nuns) and Fante (a dialect of Akan, a Ghanaian language). I no longer speak the latter two, although I've been told that I can "bluff" Spanish pronunciation very convincingly off the page.

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I doubt there has been research specifically addressing your question.

However, growing up bilingually has been shown to be beneficial to mental development in multiple studies, and before that there has also been considerable debate over whether or not is good or bad for the child (the idea being that it might overload their developing mind). So if growing up bilingually would prolong the vulnerable phase, I would expect the negative consequences of that to have been observed statistically.

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I'm interested in the trade-offs in growing up bilingual - what, if anything is being depressed to make up for the resources devoted to being bi-lingual?

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I haven’t heard of any observed adverse effects. Most likely, the vast majority of resources is devoted to learning Language rather than any specific syntax or vocabulary; multiple languages may even help in this process.

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The math suggests you were working 13 hour days? Are you sure that's correct?

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Ah yeah, you're right.

It was a while ago...getting fuzzy. It was more like 400 pd

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> They blog and write on forums about what they would like to see, but the things they write are always very, very different from what they actually do, according to the data.

That's because content providers make it fucking impossible to buy their content a lot of the time!

I've been looking into this here (the Netherlands) for the last 12 months or so. It is so incredibly hard to go into a pay-per-view movie service, whether that's a cable TV video store, Netflix, Apple TV or what-the-fuck-ever-else, search for a fairly popular movie you like that came out in the last 5-10 years, and actually BE ABLE TO BUY IT.

Content providers are almost entirely at fault here. (I know this as I'm currently working at a cable TV company). They insist on negotiating individual contracts for restricted selections of (movie, series, whatever) content with each streaming/VOD provider individually. They will happily let customers buy an SD movie but charge them again, 2x, for a HD movie. They throw up all kinds of hurdles when it comes to recording TV in the cloud -- it is LEGALLY DIFFICULT to just store one copy of a recording for multiple customers.

The list goes on and on, it will drive you crazy if you have to deal with it.

> But those suits are very well in touch with reality — it is a couple of SQL queries away from them, actually. (And I see that "managers" are getting more and more literate in terms of analytics, by the way — SQL and R aren't really that hard, and often you have much more user-friendly analytic services at your hands).

Those suits are in touch with reality indeed -- they see that this business model has worked and continues to work, despite The Pirate Bay. They just need a large enough army of lawyers to maintain their dominance, both over distributors and customers (via lawsuits and website takedowns).

Don't blame the users for the clusterfuck digital content distribution is. It is the content providers who are to blame. They screw the artists, the distributors, the end users, as hard as they can, for as long as they can.

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> I'm currently working at a cable TV company

Look at netflix share prices. Then look at your cable company's. Then look back at netflix. It's on a horse. (OK, the pun is stupid, sorry).

I don't pretend that it's all rainbows and butterflies. It sucks a lot of the time, and I share your pain. My point is, that on a large scale, industry does move when users want it to be. Slowly, painfully, but this is happening.

Compare today with 10 years ago. It is a more appropriate time frame to evaluate change in such gigantic industries. Did you try to buy games online then? Movies? Music? How was your user experience? iTunes fails me often (and as a DJ who uses it for library management, it hurst a lot), but the ability to hear song on the radio and buy it in scope of 20 seconds is awesome. Or, nowadays, just add it to my library without actually buying and evaluate whether I should buy it later at home.

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Thank you for the explanation! At this point, I've given up on streaming services to watch movies. It's actually so much easier for me to just walk a couple blocks down to the video store and rent the Bluray...

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There's also a particular P2P technology that can help you.

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We used chunks of FP in a large frontend application. Where it came in most useful was in the data layer of the app -- the bits from calling out to external web services, adapting that data for the frontend views, and (because we used React) also rendering those views. Functions (including quite a lot of mapping and some reducing here and there) all the way down.

We then ended up mixing in some WebGL for high performance parts, and that turned out to work best as more object-oriented code. Probably partly due to the library we used.

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FWIW I really liked the presentation. I think placeholders for the videos is all that is needed. :)

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I've been working on a ES6 composition-based library that might help out here: https://www.npmjs.com/package/fabricant

The idea is you declare which components will be needed and the library takes care of instantiating objects with the necessary components for you. It works something like Unity (the game engine)'s entity-component architecture.

I haven't tried to get it working with React yet though, I've been playing with threejs instead :)

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