The Lounge is rated PG. If you're about to post something you wouldn't want your
kid sister to read then don't post it. No flame wars, no abusive conduct, no programming
questions and please don't post ads.
I suggest you send your resume to Amazon.com recruiters right now.
The position may be still available now (they have thousands open). I only turn it down last week. You have to move to Seatle, WA (relocation and sign on bonus paid). The position is Software Developer Engineer III. I didn't made these up.
Things have changed recently. Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon are really compete for the scarce resource of skilled developers. I, like you, have over 30+ years of development under our belt and with that we also have a lot of architecture experience too, that's why they are really looking for.
I was on call for about two weeks on a project when the usual support person wasn't available.
The thing is that they can call you any time, so it limits you - you might have to not go out with friends or at the least take a laptop with you in case you need to handle a call.
Being called (waken up) in the middle of the night to resolve an issue isn't fun. It depends on what kind of person you are, but it can influence you in that you don't sleep well because you are expecting to be called.
I did get paid for the overtime though, so that was nice, but I wouldn't want do it again and definitely not for an extended period.
As a freelancer, I'm usually the only contact my clients have with any technical knowledge at all (certainly regarding applications, sometimes regarding hosted websites etc too). Therefore, if there's a problem - I'm the only one who can fix it. That means effectively being permanently on-call not only for my "current" (active) clients but all my clients still running my software. That means you might not have dealt with someone for 2 or 3 years, but if their hard-disk suddenly gets full, or a d/b gets corrupted, you either choose to deal with it, or you effectively write off any chance they might come back to you for future work. (as well as having to live with the knowledge you may have just caused their business to fail). In fact problems are often a trigger for them to re-contact you, remember how f***ing awesome you are, and decide that they can't put off that enhancement project any longer. I make sure all my clients fully understand I'm a one-man band, and simply can't be available 24x7x52, but that I will always do my best to get them out of whatever tight spot they get into, support-wise. Knowing that you're the go-to person for any problem really helps to focus the mind during development, too, as you need to account for those "once-in-a-year" edge cases; if you don't, you can bet they occur at the most inopportune time for you to fix. You have to factor in "lifetime support" when billing for development; with a client who doesn't know you, that can seem expensive so you need good referrals and reputation. Most importantly, you simply need to love doing what you do; then when you get called away from your favourite film, or some other thing you were really happy to be doing, it's not that big a sacrifice. The hard bit is being as equally "on-call" to family and friends. If a system goes down, get it back up and running a.s.a.p. and fix the root cause at a more convenient time.
I have turned down a lot of 24/7 - 365 stuff.
But I "am" on call because of my consulting work. I have been called in at all hours, and remember a few years ago a 10pm call in, I left at 7am and slept the entire day.
I focus on having things setup so I am not needed like that.
(Fail to backup, start the restore. Or fail to backup, and WAIT until I wake up, LOL)
Nowadays with workers across the globe, hire some bloke in Australia or vice versa.
We have a few Russians to help cover the nights if we need it.
But we work to LIVE, not the other way around. Or at least we shouldn't.
Getting paid for off hours work is an expected bonus. Working off hours for free and especially where you have to get up at the middle of dinner or 3 am just to solve an issue is a pain. I did it when I was younger, now getting up really takes some effort.
on call here too 24/7+ my normal working hours, but mine is on site trips, sometimes I can call into a customer's computer and fix the issue, but 9 times out of 10 it's a hardware issue and I'll have to travel to the customer. all that for $65k a year.
I dream of quitting this job for the last 17 years. 3 more and my kids will have moved out might be time for a change then.