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I recently joined the information security team at my employer about a month ago. Just this week, I started to participate in off hours on-call support as security must be available on a continuous basis. Participation in on-call work is something expected for all department employees on a rotating schedule.

This week, during the late nights I will be on-call, very critical security work will be done in our production environment. (The details of such work are sensitive and not really relevant to my questions). As this is the first time I will be participating in on - call support, I strongly prefer to have a more senior colleague available in case of incidents I cannot handle. While I have about close to 5 years of experience in InfoSec profession, I have never worked under these types of circumstances before.

Usually, I would have discussed my reservations with my manager, but he is on vacation this week. I would prefer not to disturb him, as I have a good relationship with my colleagues. My questions:

How do I request assistance of a colleague for an activity that he was not really scheduled for during manager absence?

In the case, I cannot obtain a backup, how should I disclose to management that my limited experience may mean an increased risk of failure (and potential exploitation)

Given there may be a perception by management in me being incompetent or shirking my job duties, what can I do to mitigate such perception?

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In general, if your manager isn't available, they should have designated somebody to fill their role. If they haven't done so, the default everywhere I've ever worked has been to go "up the chain" i.e. to their manager.

From my point of view, I wouldn't regard a new employee asking for support when dealing with critical issues for the first time as "incompetent" - I'd regard it as a very sensible way of working. Even if you had vast experience in your field, there's always the company-specific knowledge you don't have.

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