Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Do You Practice Safe Duty-ing?

Dear Duty Nation,

Do you feel safe when you are on duty?  What is done that allows you to maintain that safety comfort?  Do you have a partner when you go on rounds?  If you do not have a partner, is there a plan in place in case you run into a uncomfortable situation?

Duty Dude

I pose these questions to you all because I was recently involved in a conversation that involved the topic of safety and how it affected different genders.  Some female coworkers shared that they do not always feel safe when they are on duty and/or need to respond to calls.  Whether walking to the car early in the morning to report to a situation or being in a room with intoxicated individuals, they can be intimidating situations for anyone.  How about you?  Have there been situations where you felt unsafe?  What did you do to help yourself feel more safe in the future?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Duty Before Phones

In a blog post last month, I talked about technology and how it has affected duty.  Today I had a thought, "what was duty like before phones?"  The concept seems so foreign to me because every duty round I have ever had involved carrying a phone (except the one time I broke the duty phone-I will save that story for another day).  I am most likely in the majority with that concept and it is quite possible that other current staff members have never thought about what duty would be like without a phone.  So I would love to hear from the "more experienced" Student Affairs members about what duty was like before cell phones came around.  

How were problems communicated to you?  

Were there other challenges that you faced?

It would be great for the current generation of on-duty staff to hear about what life was like in the past and how technology helps them today!  Leave your feedback in the comments or send it to thedutybag@gmail.com.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

This Dream Scared the Duty Out of Me!

Last night was no different than the night before.  I chatted with some residents at the front desk, came back to watch some television and prepared for bed.  I was not thinking about duty (because who does that when they aren't on, right?) but clearly there was something deep inside my brain that needed to come out in my dreams!

During the course of the night, I had a dream nightmare that went a little something like this:
I picked up the phone like I normally would when on duty and set it down in one room.  I continued to have a great night.  Frankly, I do not remember what I did next; I could have gone swimming in the ocean, played basketball with a mountain lion or perhaps I wrote up Cheech and Chong for violating a certain policy (I'll let you guess which one).  What I do remember is waking up the next morning in my dream nightmare and finding the phone in the exact same place I had put it the night before.
I had never had the phone with me!  OH CRAP!  Well, maybe it was a slow night and I didn't need to respond to anything.  Wait...WHAT?!?  32 missed calls and 9 voicemails?!  Hmmm...well maybe I'll see what one of the voice messages is. "We are waiting for you in the lobby...WHERE ARE YOU?!?"  CRAP CRAP CRAP!  I am sooooo fired!
It was at that point that I woke up.  I had the feeling that I was going to be fired for sure.  Let's just say that the duty phone is going to be attached to my hip next time I am on.

Have you ever had a duty-related dream like that?  I sure hope your dream had a better ending!  If you have, share it with us!  Comment or send a summary of your dream to thedutybag@gmail.com to see it featured here.  Sleep tight and sweet dreams!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Excuse Me, Could You Please Turn Down Your Sex?

One of our readers sent a question the other day that I would like to share with you all:
Jordan asks,"Have you ever had to confront a room for excessive noise where the people were having sex?  Every time I am on duty I worry that I might have to but it has not happened yet, thankfully!"
I have never had to confront a room for such a "violation" so I wanted to ask for help from our readers.  It certainly would make for an awkward confrontation but also an interesting story.  Please share what helped you when confronting the "excessive noise" to help Jordan out if he ever has to do so.  You can either comment on this post or send your story/advice to thedutybag@gmail.com.  Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How Does Technology Influence Duty?

Technology is ever-changing and because of that, we are also ever-changing.  I recall having a duty phone that was as solid as a rock...yet I still managed to drop it and break it one night (that is a story for another day).  Now we have phones that have cameras...OMG!  Wait...you can also change ringtones (although you shouldn't) and now you do not even need push buttons because you can touch the screen!  With the changes to technology, we now have a flip duty phone that has a camera which could be used in appropriate situations.  Will there come a time when we will be using a duty iPhone?

Let's face it...Apple comes out with a new toy every few months so there might become a time when the default phone is a smart phone.  Will it be possible to look up a student's information with an app on your duty iPhone?  Or will people have a duty iPad that they can take notes on and take pictures if needed?  What will the future of duty be like with technology continually changing?  Will it make duty easier or cause more challenges as we rely heavily on technology?  

Do you use a smartphone for a duty phone?  Do you feel it would make your life easier?  Feel free to comment or send an email to thedutybag@gmail.com to discuss how technology has impacted your duty!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Duty Lesson #47 Learned

A special thanks to one of our readers for this submission!
Tonight I gained a valuable lesson: never plan on being at a meeting when you are on duty!
I figured I would have a few hours of quiet time before the storm eventually would hit later in the night.  Based on my previous experiences, I thought everything would work out and I would be able to sit in the meeting (which I planned) for at least 10 minutes.  I.was.wrong!
With 5 minutes before the meeting was to start, I received a call about a room that had a marijuana smell to it.  Luckily others had met in our meeting location so I appointed someone to take charge and left to take care of the alleged policy violators.  My time was not used wisely because it was a false alarm so I then returned to my group to get caught up to speed on what had already been discussed.  Luckily I had 5 minutes for the members to explain what they had done before I received another bone-chilling call.
Another room with that odd odor?!?!  Oh...so it's going to be one of THOSE nights!  I excused my group for the night and thanked them for the work that they had done.  They understood that I did not wish to be running around but that it came with the territory...and shiny name badge!  For the record, the second call also resulted in a false alarm.  Go figure!  The rest of the night was surprisingly quiet.  It was such a backwards night but I certainly learned my lesson!
Thanks again for the submission and if you have a lesson that you learned, please send it to thedutybag@gmail.com.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

There's Something Special About Tonight

Tonight is a very special night for anyone who is on duty!  Do you know why?  No I cannot guarantee that residents will be on their best behavior!  No I cannot magically cause your phone to stay silent so you can get a restful night of sleep!  However, I can take an hour away and give it to someone else in the fall!  Well...it might not be my doing but you can credit me if you would like.  Correction: This does not apply to everyone!  I'm sorry duty staff who live in Arizona and Hawaii!

If you guessed in the beginning that tonight is special because Daylight Savings Time (DST) begins Sunday morning, then you my friend deserve a "duty star!"  It is the wonderful time when you have one less hour where people can cause issues that you then have to respond to!  DST still confuses me a bit but mainly in the fall when everything falls back an hour.  I was always curious, does that mean people get to stay out at "local establishments" an hour later and drink their "beverages" or do they get kicked-out like usual?  I have never looked into that issue so if someone has the answer, I would love to know!

I have only experienced the magical phenomenon of DST duty once and I was on the short end.  I was one of the lucky staff members who gained an extra hour of duty during a fall night but I really don't have much to complain about because nothing happened.  The desk workers however were very confused and did not know if they should stay to check people in or if they could leave because their closing time was 2:00am.  They had never been told otherwise to stay an extra hour so they simply left.  I never did find out if that was the correct decision...

Well if you are on duty tonight...CONGRATS!  There is not another night all year where people on duty will have to hold the phone for less time!  You earned it...or you were simply assigned this day and lucked out!  Well for future reference, look for the next DST duty in Spring 2012 and switch for that night.  If that ends up being a long night filled with write-ups...then forget that I told you anything.

Thank you to the readers who have been submitting their duty experiences!  I promise to start sharing them soon!  If you have an experience to share please email it to thedutybag@gmail.com!