Charity Majors @mipsytipsy CTO @honeycombio, ex-Parse, Facebook, Linden Lab; cowrote Database Reliability Engineering; loves whiskey, rainbows. I test in production and so do you. 🌈🖤 Oct. 07, 2019 2 min read

I am pretty thoroughly sick of this topic by now, but liz says I underexplained my point, last time into the breach.

This industry has a problem with the human cost of running systems. It is very bad, and it is poised to get much worse.

Every trend in computers is pushing towards more complexity and higher demands on our operability skills. Ops is everyone's job now.

(And it's not like we really understood our systems to begin with.)

Ops has a long and sordid history of masochism and self-harm, and a culture that glorifies it.

This history is littered with minds and bodies that sacrificed their healthy functioning, and the collateral damage of their friends, families, and even innocent bystanders.

Ask me how hard I have to work to stick to a schedule where I sleep every night. It is a constant battle. For the past 3.5 years, I have mostly slept once every 2-3 nights, then crashed for 12-14 hours. I doze off unpredictably. My internal rhythms are *fucked*.

I'm one of the lucky ones. I stopped driving after falling asleep at the wheel the third time. I know people who have driven after a bad on call and killed people.

Abusive on call practices are not something I take lightly. On call as it is currently practiced *harms people*.

I'm not a purist. I believe we do important work, work worth doing. Wherever you are today, I accept you where you are, and you should not feel ashamed of the dirty hacks that got you here.

If you are doing work worth doing, we should figure out how to make it sustainable.

This is a glorious time to be in computers. It's just in the past couple of years that we have started to amass solid data on how to build better systems with a lower human cost.

Read "Accelerate". Read the DORA reports. Talk to others who are doing it. It is being done.

I stand by my analogy. People who publicly and repeatedly privilege emotions and what FEELS right when it runs counter to all the science we have to date, are hurting people in the same way as anti-vaxxers are. We cannot afford not to see this clearly.

You can follow @mipsytipsy.


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