Do’s and Don’ts For the Day You’re on Call

October 25, 2019
Do’s and Don’ts For the Day You’re on Call
Do keep your phone nearby. After all, you could be called in at any moment, and there’s nothing worse than seeing that dreaded missed call on your phone screen and the panicky moments that follow wondering how long ago they called and how quickly you need to get on your horse and get in there. Don’t make any major plans. These are bound to be interrupted right at the most inconvenient possible moment. Studies have shown that the likelihood of being called into work is inversely proportional to how badly you want to not be called into work. Don’t go to the gym. If you go to the gym, you will be called in right at the precise moment where you haven’t been exercising long enough to get a significant workout in, but are just sweaty enough that you won’t be able to go in without showering first. Don’t go grocery shopping. You’ll have to leave early and you’ll be left with several ingredients for many potential meals but not all of the ingredients you need for any one meal. Do scroll idly through your social media feeds, silently praying that your phone does not begin to vibrate with the call.

If your employer has not contacted you by lunch time:

Do continue to keep your phone nearby. You’re certainly not out of the woods yet. Don’t go out for lunch. You’ll almost certainly be called after you order but before your food arrives. Don’t make a hot lunch. That phone is bound to ring about halfway through making it, forcing you to juggle finishing lunch with getting ready for work. This often leads to overdone food, smoke alarm-triggering mishaps, and/or severe burning of the mouth roof as you try to cram the piping hot food down your gullet too quickly while rushing out the door. Do have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch while continuing to scroll through your social media feeds.

For the afternoon:

Do keep that phone nearby. They might still call. But maybe not. Don’t allow yourself to think “maybe not.” Don’t start a critically-acclaimed movie you’ve been meaning to watch for weeks. Your work will call right at the best part, with just about 20 minutes to go so it’s not even like a semi-natural intermission point, and yet there is not enough time to finish it. You’ll end up watching it quickly and unsatisfyingly later that night or worse, several days later. Do idly flip through channels before watching way too many episodes in a row of a home remodeling- or drag race-based reality show.

If they still haven’t called:

You might just be in the clear. Congratulations. You have successfully navigated your day on call by not doing anything especially enjoyable or productive … ... and you have also not made any money … ... well … dangit.

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