On Call 24/7/365

I go on on call this morning for the next seven days. On a meh scale of 1-10 this scores a 47.757 in my book but unfortunately it’s part of the job and, to be fair, I do get paid well for it. That doesn’t make it any less of a pain, however. Extra pressure, phone calls in the dead of night, tricky decisions to make and always the fear of making a mistake and falling foul of they who must be obeyed on the top floor.

I’ve been performing on call duties for almost 18 years now and like to think that I’ve always done so to a high standard. I am professional, efficient and effective. I make best use of the resources I have and manage in them in a way that ensures a quality end product. Basically I do the best I can with what I have. And what I don’t know I have the gumption to hold my hands up, admit it, and source an expert opinion from someone who does.

That won’t stop me counting the hours until next Friday morning though. Back in the not so good old days the end of an on call week would have been celebrated with copious amounts of alcohol after a week of work enforced abstinence. Nowadays I just breathe a sigh of relief and crack open a tin of Diet Coke. Being on call sucks. But it’s only one week in seven so I just have to grin and bear it.

As a husband and father I need to be permanently on call for my family. Fionnuala sets the gold standard where this is concerned. She always puts the kids and me before herself and has made many sacrifices for us. Without her our lives would be even more chaotic than they already are. She regularly drops everything for other people and never expects anything in return.

My default setting is a selfish one. I spent many years putting my own needs before those of others. It was all about Stephen and it inevitably ended badly for everyone concerned. I learnt some hard but important lessons. Today I try to be more like my wife. Little things. Like this morning I went to the shop and put diesel in the car as I knew Fionnuala was driving into Belfast later. I did this without being asked to do so. Every long journey begins with a small step.

I am trying to apply these small steps to all areas of my life. Putting others first. My family, my friends, work colleagues. Even total strangers I encounter on my daily commute to and from work. Some days I fare better than others but at least I recognise it is an area I need to address. Being consciously selfish is an improvement on being unconsciously selfish. I’m striving to improve and evolve into a better person.

This is a lifetime process. When it comes to selflessness you need to be on call 24/7/365. 366 if it’s a leap year. You won’t get paid for it; in fact some of the time you don’t even get a thank you. But that’s not why I do it. I do it because I want to help other people – those I like and those I’m maybe not so keen on. It doesn’t really matter. Where I can help, I will. If that person accepts my offer, then great; if not, well not so great, but at least I tried.

The same applies to this blog. Fionnuala and I want to help YOU. We have been through a lot together and hope others can benefit from us sharing our experiences. The good, the bad and the downright ugly. This blog is 24/7/365 or as close as we can get to it. If you are struggling with one of the issues I write about then all you have to do is reach out and we are there for you. There won’t even be a charge.

Do you work on call? What’s it like for you?

On a meh scale of 1-10 how is your day going?

Published by Fractured Faith Blog

We are Stephen and Fionnuala and this is our story. We live in Northern Ireland, have been married for 17 years and have three kids - Adam, Hannah and Rebecca. We hope that our story will inspire and encourage others. We have walked a rocky road yet here we are today, together and stronger than ever. We are far from perfect and our faith has been battered and bruised. But an untested faith is a pointless faith. Just as a fractured faith is better than none at all. We hope you enjoy the blog.

16 thoughts on “On Call 24/7/365

  1. Good morning, Stephen! Oh, the dread of being on call! I used to work in a pediatric hospital pharmacy. Of all the pharmacy satellites in the hospital, we were the only one open 24/7/365 (mainly because the pharmacists in the main pharmacy weren’t trained in pediatrics.) We never had an official on-call policy, but we all frequently made use of what we called “phone-a-friend.” That place was a revolving door, so we always seemed to have younger and less experienced pharmacists around and in that kind of job, experience counts more than anything. I often worked 2-10:30 pm, but since I would usually be up until 2-3 am after I got home, I would always tell our night shift pharmacist to call me if they needed to bounce something off me. The weirdest things always seemed to happen at night in hospitals and when it was an emergency, we all needed to put aside our pride and ask those who knew the answer, even if it meant waking them up at 3 am. It was really hard to do at first, but when you realized someone’s life was on the line, it got you dialing that phone really fast!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have never been on-call but I have worked 2nd to 3rd shifts and/or one full-time job with a part-time job on nights and weekends. At least there was some structure to those schedules as opposed to being on-call for 7 days at-a-time. Prayers for you and kudos for you being aware of your wife’s diligence and striving to be more like her in your selflessness. We all need more of this… striving to be better versions of ourselves. Thank you for sharing. Always a pleasure.


  3. Good luck with the on call week! My day is not too meh so far, house cleaned top to bottom and a 30 minute killer workout done, now time to recharge before walking the dog and then getting my T back 😁


  4. Love this post! I have really noticed how innately selfish people are including myself. Trying to absorb and exude the Spiritual gifts is also a 24/7 job. 🙂


  5. Never been on call but worked split shifts, second and third shifts and my current job I sometimes bring work home to finish. Don’t like it some days but it needs done and I enjoy my job so it is not too bad. Prayers for you while you are on call. Count down for retirement for me has begun – app 1,200 days to go! :). And in answer to your question my day actually has been a 9.5. A pretty good day! Hope your weekend is going well too. God’s blessings!


      1. Actually I do!! But something I read the other day made me change my goal from retirement to serving God full time. I am starting to plan for that moment to what ministry God will call me to. There is an old saying that Christians never retire! I hope I am as energic as Moses was at 85. lol


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