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Most IT Admins Have Considered Quitting Due To Stress 397

Posted by Soulskill
from the take-note-managers dept.
Orome1 writes "The number of IT professionals considering leaving their job due to workplace stress has jumped from 69% last year to 73%. One-third of those surveyed cited dealing with managers as their most stressful job requirement, particularly for IT staff in larger organizations. Handling end user support requests, budget squeeze and tight deadlines were also listed as the main causes of workplace stress for IT managers. Although users are not causing IT staff as much stress as they used to, it isn't stopping them from creating moments that make IT admins want to tear their hair out in frustration. Of great concern is the impact that work stress is having on health and relationships. While a total of 80% of participants revealed that their job had negatively impacted their personal life in some way, the survey discovered some significant personal impact: 18% have suffered stress-related health issues due to their work, and 28% have lost sleep due to work."
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Most IT Admins Have Considered Quitting Due To Stress

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  • by Spy Handler (822350) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @04:22PM (#43295961) Homepage Journal

    When IT and computer/internet field in general settle down and become mature, things will get better.

    Right now there's just too many new technolgies and buzzwords and platforms and architecture and paradigms popping up, and pointy-haired managers and VPs all want to implement this and that and oh by the way make it work with our legacy system and nothing better get lost or you're fired.

  • by meatspray (59961) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @04:22PM (#43295969) Homepage

    Picking your boss. If you're not up a creek looking for work, that interview is to let you meet your managers, talk to some workers about the managers.

    When I started working it was "If I can just get in the door"

    When I was in my 20's it was "What cool things will this job do for me"

    Now That i'm in my 30's its "Will I be able to work with these people"

  • by Midnight_Falcon (2432802) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @04:24PM (#43295989)

    I'm an IT professional and more than once I've thought about quitting, especially when I was doing high-stress consulting. Clients treat you like meat, like "the help." They have no problem waking you up at 5AM with nonsense problems. If you don't answer and do it politely, they call your boss and then your job/livelihood is in jeopardy.

    This isn't just a 9-5 thing where, when you leave the office, you're no longer on the hook -- it's always happening. Sometimes, you're at a bar at 10PM and you get an urgent call -- pick it up, and you in your tipsy state are now on the hook to resolve an important issue.

    The fear of getting these calls has made me stay home sometimes when I could have been being social, and not travel away on vacation when I knew some action was going on I'd be needed for. It creates a lot of stress to be depended on so much, and now with telecommuting, you're expected to be responsive at all times wherever you are.

    It's a lot of stress even in the best setup/most-redundant environments, and the job is not for everyone. And when projects come up that are difficult and highly user-facing, it's hard to avoid this type of a situation.

  • by Kaptain Kruton (854928) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @04:25PM (#43296003)

    The bar must be empty because the work never ends.

  • by tokencode (1952944) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @04:27PM (#43296051)
    In IT the only constant is change.
  • by i kan reed (749298) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @04:28PM (#43296063) Homepage Journal

    As an software engineer(and thus not an IT admin), IT admins have it much worse than most middle class office workers. They get shit on over the smallest thing, and are the only IT employees who are expected to deliver within minutes of being asked. I don't think it's a stretch to say their stress levels might be higher than yours.

  • Have to wonder ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PhxBlue (562201) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @04:29PM (#43296083) Homepage Journal

    How much of that manager-induced stress is a result of managers who don't know how to lead?

    If I'm the head of the department you work in, then my No. 1 job is to clear obstacles out of your way so you can do yours. If I'm the head of a different department that relies on you (as an infrastructure manager) to do its job, then my No. 1 job is to work with you to find the most reasonable way of making it happen.

    On the other side of that, though, I've run into folks who think they're the gatekeepers just because they have the keys to the building. Any good manager should take "no" for an answer from IT if IT just can't do it, e.g., it introduces unacceptable security risk, the infrastructure just isn't there, etc. But an IT person who says it can't be done and won't explain why shouldn't expect to stick around very long.

  • by Yold (473518) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @04:35PM (#43296171)

    It's not a matter of maturity. Many organizations hide behind the disclaimer "we are not an I.T. company", despite having sizable I.T. departments. And despite having this sizable department, which offers mission-critical applications and infrastructure, zero effort is made towards working smarter. Problems are fixed with mandatory overtime, cutting staffing/costs, and "quick-and-dirty" fixes to long standing problems.

    I think some companies are starting to understand that their project management methodologies are flawed, but most cannot connect the concepts of "software debt" to decreasing marginal output in their I.T. efforts. An hour of work today is less effective than in the past because you are paying "interest" on your previous bad decisions.

    I think that the 27% is reflective of companies that can connect the longevity and cost-effectiveness of I.T. systems to proper project planning, management, and I.T. expertise. Whether or not this is an upper-bound remains to be seen, because a lot of organizations simply don't understand that inventing your own project management ideas dooms you to repeating the same failures that have happened over the last 50 years.

  • by noh8rz10 (2716597) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @04:47PM (#43296303)
    agreed with Tourney... lots of jobs really suck, and lots of people are stressed to the point of health impacts and have considered quitting. Many of these jobs pay significantly less than IT wages. also, the survey in the summary showed a jump from 69% last year to 73% this year? stop the presses!
  • by BrokenSoldier (737420) <cedrics@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @04:49PM (#43296323)
    Depends on where he lives.
  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @04:50PM (#43296327)

    That is only $48k. That is terrible pay for sysadmin work.

  • by datavirtue (1104259) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @05:17PM (#43296651)

    Admin is just a step up from help desk, hang out too long and it will begin to suck badly. If you fail to increase your skills (most admins) and your ability to add value, then it will start to suck badly after a number of years--it's boring. How many servers can you provision or user accounts can you setup before pulling your fucking hair out? Learn to code, become a professional DBA, or acquire some more skills that makes you valuable, like perhaps getting involved with business intelligence. Admins are a commodity. Yes, it is easy to hang out and collect a paycheck, but don't whine when your value wanes and people direct you around like a monkey boy.

  • by Culture20 (968837) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @05:29PM (#43296821)

    lots of jobs really suck, and lots of people are stressed to the point of health impacts and have considered quitting. Many of these jobs pay significantly less than IT wages.

    Whenever I get stressed out, I remember the jobs I did before/while I was in college, and I'm happy to be where I am. I can't imagine what today's grads do without any work experience at low-wage McJobs. Consider quitting I guess?

  • by Midnight_Falcon (2432802) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @05:35PM (#43296891)
    Not so much "foolish enough," but that's what the market is looking for. In Silicon Valley (where I am located), every single IT position I interviewed for or looked into had some mention of "availability for after hours" or "on-call rotation." It's really become part of the culture to have IT workers be always on, and if you're not willing to do that, your job will go to some 22-year old hotshot out of college who is willing to do anything to get in the door.
  • by ravenlord_hun (2715033) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @05:45PM (#43297009)
    If you break your car too badly the mechanic might tell you it's beyond repair and send you away. IT admins can't say that. Most users demand EVERYTHING, even when they are too clueless to find MS Word when they accidentally drag the icon from the desktop into a folder.

    "God complex" is really justified when most of the idiots on the system can easily cause significant problems, which are then blamed onto the IT because "it's the software that's broken!" The users are never at fault.
  • Yay Shingles! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wow8agger (115234) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @05:49PM (#43297055)

    I run a managed services department (so essentially I'm an IT director), and I think it's probably one of the most high stress positions that I've ever held. I'm on call 24x7, there is always money on the line, and it's a highly competitive industry.

    It was summer, and it started as just a weird burning/itching feeling along my right armpit, and I initially thought that I had gotten some poison oak/ivy/whatever on myself. I rubbed some calomine on it, and called it a day. Fast forward three days, and I had a incredibly painful rash that ran in a band from the center of my chest, under my armpit, and around the back of my shoulder. And holy shit did it hurt. Now I'm only in my early 30's, and for someone my age, Shingles really only has one source - stress. That particular week I had 26 customer facing engagements, and had worked 70+ for over a month.

    It was definitely a clarifying moment for me, and was directly responsible for my current attitude where we overstaff our department a little bit to keep the workload manageable, and I keep an eye on peoples timecards, and start hassling them about flextime when they go over 50 hours. The extra work hours just aren't worth the risk of someone having a health meltdown of some sort.

    -matt

  • by Synerg1y (2169962) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @05:52PM (#43297115)

    The reason most of you work so many hours is because you're sheeple. I'm sorry to say this and I don't say it in a funny sense at all, but at some point you've got to put your foot down... if somebody asked me to work on a Saturday I'd ask not to work on that Monday, if they need me for both... well shit pay me. And management knows I'll work on a Saturday, I've stated it multiple times... I've been asked once... for the ERP system transition (big big fish).

  • by starfishsystems (834319) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @06:28PM (#43297515) Homepage
    Interesting. I've been in IT and software development for the past 35 years. At the expert end, it was a fantastic field to be in, especially with the advent of graphical Unix workstations and widespread use of NSFnet. Equipment and software was interesting and sufficiently expensive to justify reasonable IT salary levels to integrate it and take care of it all.

    I saw the real breakdown beginning, oh, just about exactly 20 years ago. Windows 3.X. It was crap, and we laughed at it. But businesses bought into it at a faster rate, and were more thoroughly locked into their decision, than we had ever experienced in the scientific/engineering community. Expectations of it were completely unrealistic and driven by desperation, which management downloaded onto the IT staff.

    Public perception of IT shifted from respect for expertise to open disdain. Why? As long as graphics workstations were being used within an expert community, the respect for expertise was natural. It's easy for one engineer to recognize the worth of another. But once any consumer could go out and purchase what looked at least superficially like the same thing, and twiddle on it, it would be easy to assume out of simple ignorance that all the so-called IT experts were just twiddling too.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @07:24PM (#43297957)

    Problems are fixed with mandatory overtime, cutting staffing/costs, and "quick-and-dirty" fixes to long standing problems.

    I blame the people who call themselves "engineers," yet refuse to implement any professional certification or accreditation standards, along with the professional ethical standards that come with it.

    A civil engineer told to "build this bridge on the cheap - cut corners & costs wherever possible," would be in violation of his *ethical professional obligations* and would be well within his rights to refuse, and whistleblow. He would also have a professional organization that would support him in doing so.

    Software "engineers" whine about being told to cut corners in ways that are dangerous and counterproductive, and yet they don't do the most obvious thing in the world when told to do something stupid: produce a business case explaining WHY and HOW the request is wasteful, dangerous, and counterproductive, and offer REAL, workable solutions that can still meet the business' goals while maintaining standards of safety and reliability. And spare me the shit about "management demands X, I have to give them X." It's trivially obvious that you can demonstrate a long-term maintenance cost associated with "doing X," or you wouldn't be whining about it.

    Software "engineers" delight in showing off their clever hacks and corner-cutting techniques, and then cry when management demands that they come up with more clever new hacks and corner cutting techniques.

    Until that changes, guess what? Status quo. If your response to management's ridiculous demands is "yes sir, yes sir, three bags full, thank you may I have another," then your suffering is of your own design - you agree to their demands, and then whine helplessly when your own shitty designs bite you in the ass.

  • by ShanghaiBill (739463) * on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @07:45PM (#43298135)

    Stress is still stress whether you make 6 figures or are barely scraping by.

    Nonsense. You don't know what stress is until you have four hungry kids and no job. I started at the bottom of the tech world, but today I make a solid six figure salary. Money like that can smooth out a lot of life's problems.

  • by TapeCutter (624760) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @08:16PM (#43298389) Journal
    Old fart Aussie here, working life summary; rural HS drop out -15ys blue collar - Degree - 20+yrs white collar. (military draft ended when I was 15).
    Agree with the your "relativity" theory. You want stress then drive a taxi at night, you want physical and mental exhaustion to the point of visual hallucinations then work as a deck hand in the souther ocean. Most of the stress in an office comes from two sources, yourself and bully boy superiors. Out of those two, it's your own "wheels" that are more likely to drive you crazy. I find it helps if you have a soothing soundtrack for your memories..

    Take it easy, take it easy.
    Don't let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy .
    Lighten up while you still can.
    Don't even try to understand.
    Just find a place to make your stand, and take it easy.
  • by ArsonSmith (13997) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @11:38PM (#43299505) Journal

    Man, do i fell sorry for you. While if I wont the big lottery I would likely quit, I still enjoy going to my job every day. I have worked to be the best at what I do and have been rewarded pretty well for it. If you're not then either you are not the best, or what you chose to do isn't very difficult.

  • by Chanc_Gorkon (94133) <gorkon&gmail,com> on Thursday March 28, 2013 @11:09AM (#43303173)

    Money like that can create a lot of problems too. It's not always about money. Who cares if you make 6 figures if you can never go to a kids event because you are going to be pulled away for some stupid stuff.

  • by Synerg1y (2169962) on Thursday March 28, 2013 @01:02PM (#43304321)

    Women in IT need to get over themselves, I could care less what they think.

    And if they personally get offended by a little one liner on slashdot, then I'm the least of their problems.

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