24/7 Ranting

[Updated version of an article previously published on another blog.)

I have  a real problem. Not with the concept of always-on, follow-the-sun service, though I wish sometimes that people would remember that a normal one-man company can’t usually offer spontaneous media engagement or 500 instant words on comparative testing at 3.15 in the morning. But I’ve just been reminded of the wretched 24/7/365 construct, and until I get this rant out of the way, I can’t take the document I’m reading with the seriousness it otherwise deserves.

24/7 I get, even if it enrages me when it turns out to mean “24/7 except on public holidays” or “we keep normal hours but we never turn off the website and you can email us any time you like (but there are no response time SLAs)”. Though even then it’s the misuse of the concept  that  vexes me, not the concept of limited working hours.

24/7/52: all day, every day of every week? Works for me, as long as I’m not on the helpdesk roster. (At this point in my career, 15 minutes on anybody’s helpdesk is more than I want to spend: been there, done that, wear the scars under the t-shirt.)

But every hour of every day of the week of every day of the year? That has all the comprehensibility and grace of a multiple negative wrapped around a split infinitive and 543 grammes of grocer’s apostrophes. (Or grocers’ apostrophes.) And what happened to leap years? Or do you give your  staff the day off once every four years?

Exit, humming “for tomorrow may rain so I’ll follow the sun…” (As Andy Warhol didn’t say, in the future every song you ever heard will be on Wikipedia.)

David Harley 
Small Blue-Green World
ESET Senior Research Fellow

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