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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 Tourney3p0 (772619) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @03:18PM (#43295895)
    Join the club. We meet at the bar after work.
    • by Kaptain Kruton (854928) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @03:25PM (#43296003)

      The bar must be empty because the work never ends.

      • by noh8rz10 (2716597) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @03:47PM (#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 Culture20 (968837) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @04:29PM (#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 Synerg1y (2169962) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @04:42PM (#43296977)

            Life was simpler back then too... the female co-workers were also hotter.

            It's the fear of uncertainty that prevents a lot of people from quitting and the family dynamic also plays a heavy hand in it. Ultimately, you have to have confidence in yourself and a savings account to successfully quit a job you don't like... but this factors in on the 90% vs 10% competence ratio most people agree on in IT: Some people everybody wants, some people are happy anybody wants them to work for them.

            My advice is and always will be: go read some tech books and pick up relevant skills,... or go back to school. Managers tend to be happy (regardless of how they act towards you!) and that's due to the 75k happy mark.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by TapeCutter (624760)

              Life was simpler back then too

              Yep, no job seekers strees back then, every new years day some bloke on TV would play the role of a bingo caller and pull out a bunch of golf balls from a wire cage, if your birthday was written on one of the balls the military just picked you up by the testicles and dropped you into an Asian jungle. /sarcasm

          • by bzipitidoo (647217) <bzipitidoo@yahoo.com> on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @05:40PM (#43297629) Journal

            None of my high paying jobs have been any fun. Seems that enjoying your job is somehow immoral. Many managers think that if you aren't stressed, you must not have enough work to do. A bigger problem is that if you're on a job at a foundering company, it doesn't matter how good your work is. The company is failing, and some will be looking for others to blame.

            The only fun job I had was a low paying one. Because it was low pay, I didn't care about being fired. Nor did I have to worry about it. Would have been easy to find a higher paying job, and they were not going to be able to easily replace me, not at that pay rate. Actually did a better job than if I had been under the gun.

            The most stressful job I ever had was one in which the project didn't just fail, it never got off the ground because the various factions were too busy fighting each other to agree on what to do. All sides were slamming everyone involved. If I didn't present a plan, I got beat up for that. When I did present a plan, I got beat up on the pretext of it being inadequate, and me being too stupid to understand that it wasn't adequate. The actual reason was that the manager was a fool who felt it was necessary for his job security that the plan be his plan. Didn't address the substance of any of the ideas at all, in large part because he didn't have the competence to do so. All that mattered to him was that his name was on it. He often took others' plans, tweaked them in ways he thought made them more palatable but actually made them less credible, such as by removing time allotted to deal with various difficulties we were trying to anticipate. Naturally, he'd harshly criticize the person responsible for putting in such "negative" things. And every time the other teams tore "his" plan apart. Then it was quickly revealed that it wasn't actually his plan after all, it was someone else's plan even when it wasn't. He would of course return the favor and try to rip their plans apart. In hindsight, I should have just quit that job, it was that bad. In the end, in a desperate attempt by management to save their own necks, the lowly among us were blamed and "quitted". But it didn't work, and shortly after, the company lost the contract and they lost their jobs.

            No doubt McJobs have horrible managers, but their power and leverage is more limited. A McJob simply doesn't have the same level of responsibility, and there's not a whole lot they can credibly blame on some poor peon. Nor is the threat of wrecking your career particularly credible. When you have more responsibility, you can be criticized and blamed for more things, be more easily made into a scapegoat, and your career can be ruined. Have you ever heard of anyone going on a murder/suicide frenzy over a McJob? I haven't. Possibly the closest are the "going postal" incidents. Suicides happen with a bit more frequency in jobs with more responsibility.

            • None of my high paying jobs have been any fun.

              Look around the office. See anyone looking at the screen smiling? They are on Facebook or socialising in some IM chat. You don't 'smile' at work unless you are a clown, and even then its usually just the makeup.

              • by ArsonSmith (13997) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @10:38PM (#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.

              • You don't 'smile' at work unless you are a clown, and even then its usually just the makeup.

                I dunno - I smile when I can identify and fix something in less than a day that others have banged their heads against for months. It's the thrill of the hunt, and why I actually love doing the admin thing.

          • by TapeCutter (624760) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @07:16PM (#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.
      • We prefer to drink alone anyway, everyone's just another fucking user.

        In all seriousness, I've quit admin jobs due to stress, & would do it again if put in the same position. Luckily, I have a great boss now & a fairly cruisy admin job.

        • by datavirtue (1104259) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @04:17PM (#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 sl4shd0rk (755837) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @03:53PM (#43296373)

        Keep a bottle in your desk so the bar never ends.

    • by i kan reed (749298) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @03:28PM (#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.

      • To be fair, the way we design networks sucks. Way too much remote hardware and permissions. Way too little graceful failure. Add to that custom in-house software written by brogramming monkeys.

        Way too much of this "You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could, and before you even knew what you had, you patented it, and packaged it, and slapped it on a plastic lunchbox, and now (bangs on table) you have network issues."
    • by dgatwood (11270)

      Join the club. We meet at the bar during work.

      FTFY [theregister.co.uk].

    • by jedidiah (1196) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @03:30PM (#43296093) Homepage

      In terms of certain job expectations they are. These include longer hours and working weekends and during the 3rd shift.

      A lot of mundanes don't understand this. They hear that you've got some office job and they don't understand why you would be working those kinds of hours.

      Clueless spouses can add to the stress level. Even spouses that are part of the workforce can be ignorant and unsympathetic.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      This should be modded informative not funny.

      When the clock says 17:30 the drinking can begin. Until my next on call rotation, then I have to be sober for a whole week. That shit should be illegal.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @03:47PM (#43296295)

      Which Bar? The Foo Bar?

  • by ZaMoose (24734) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @03:20PM (#43295931)

    Only 73% have considered quitting? The other 27% are lying to you, probably because they're worried that the survey is being snooped on by the corporate Barracuda firewall.

    • by jedidiah (1196)

      No. They're just developers. They're not stressed as much because they don't have to carry a production pager or respond when their code blows up in the wee hours of the night.

      Not all of IT is on call.

      • by osu-neko (2604) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @04:55PM (#43297171)

        No. They're just developers. They're not stressed as much because they don't have to carry a production pager or respond when their code blows up in the wee hours of the night.

        That depends on the developer... I've gotten midnight calls before. Granted, my boss was insane. He'd call me in the middle of the night to discuss an idea he just had to discuss for the project... I compiled sufficient evidence to support the theory that the man does not, in fact, sleep. At all, ever. I've seen him during daylight, though, even in direct sunlight, and he seemed perfectly okay with it (unlike me, I sunburn in approximately 15 seconds). He got annoyed when I stopped answering the phone in the middle of the night. "What if it's an emergency?", he asked. I told him if it was an emergency, call 911. I'm incapable of handling emergencies, I can only fix bugs and computer problems, and since our computers aren't running life support equipment, my software can all blow up, crash, and cause the servers to explode, but unless someone is in the room and severely injured by the explosion, this does not constitute an emergency, and if that does happen, I'm the last person you want trying to perform life-saving surgery to remove shrapnel.

        I don't work there anymore...

  • by Spy Handler (822350) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @03:22PM (#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 tokencode (1952944) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @03:27PM (#43296051)
      In IT the only constant is change.
      • That's because the field is young and dissemination of information is still sub-optimal. Give it a century or two, and the basic stuff will be as simple and standardized as elementary, high-school and undergraduate mathematics. (As in, no one reinvents the notation there, once it got stabilized over the centuries.)
        • Given that information is key to all other advances and its nature and quantity is always changing, so too will the technology used to make sense of it all. While what we have today might become mundane, demands on information technology will also increase. IT will always be in a state of flux.
          • There are things that change (mostly the "how"-things) and things that remain static (mostly the "what"-things). Pythagoras' theorem is still the same, despite the fact that a long time ago, we were writing stuff down on paper and now we use pocket calculators and what not. There are basic patterns in all computational machinery (be it tangible, like transistors and circuits, or intangible, like subroutines and programs) that fall out naturally. One day, people will simply abstract the changing stuff away.
    • by Yold (473518) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @03:35PM (#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 nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @04:57PM (#43297191) Homepage

        It is strange, when you think about it, the way that the IT department tends to get segregated off from the rest of operations. You have companies where people do 100% of their work on a computer, where the company *can not function* when the Internet goes out, and yet IT is treated as an afterthought. The people running these companies think that running an IT department is as easy as "running out to Best Buy and picking up a computer," and then they get annoyed when their IT services are unreliable.

        I would have thought that, with as ubiquitous as computers are in business, IT work would be considered valuable. It's as though you have a company that ships things across the country by truck, but they don't think their mechanics are important, and they freak out when the mechanics want to have proper equipment for fixing the trucks. And worse, they don't think any of their truck drivers need to know how to drive. When their drivers put the truck in a ditch, they complain that the mechanics haven't made the truck crash-proof.

      • An hour of work today is less effective than in the past because you are paying "interest" on your previous bad decisions.

        Well said. And bad decisions when integrating complex systems build compound interest. One staffer goes in and hacks some config file as a workaround to something that really should be fixed properly. Before he can fix it properly, he's off putting out another fire somewhere. By the time the next staffer gets asked to straighten out the accumulated mess in the config file, the rea
    • by aergern (127031)

      Are you kidding? I've been in this field for the last 20 years .. it's always been like this. It has always been stressful and always full of all the things you name off. I guess you're a recent graduate? ;)

      • by starfishsystems (834319) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @05:28PM (#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.
    • Electrical and plumbing have apprenticeships and rules that some PHB / VP can't make you passover / not follow.

      IT can do good with a apprenticeship system that let's people learn hands on and even give an manager if they take the same classes a much better view of the field then the CS theory based classes.

  • by meatspray (59961) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @03:22PM (#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"

    • With ya on that; I recently turned down a job that pays $10K/yr more than my current position, because during the interview they actually had the audacity to ask me about my religion. I figure, if they're going to blatantly flaunt the law and violate my privacy during the interview, chances are they aren't a group of people I want to associate with.

      Yes, contrary to popular belief, there's more to a job than pay.

      • What? Tell them you want 2x what you were looking for and when they don't hire you, sue them for discrimination.
        • What? Tell them you want 2x what you were looking for and when they don't hire you, sue them for discrimination.

          Yea, sure, and how exactly am I supposed to prove that they said something discriminatory, when the only people in the room were myself and the idiots I would be suing?

          Take it from someone who knows, via personal experience - without solid evidence, discrimination lawsuits are a complete waste of time and money.

          In hindsight, I should have recorded the conversation (I live in a "Single-party consent" state). Lesson learned.

      • by compro01 (777531)

        It's "flout the law", not flaunt.

      • Technically speaking, asking about your religion is not illegal. It makes a huge dent in their legal armor if they dont hire you, but the act in and of itself is legal.
    • by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @03:43PM (#43296255) Homepage Journal

      "Management" as being the worst part of I.T. fits right into my career experience.

      I've worked providing computer resources to non-technical (or at least not technical in computer areas) people during my career, and I have had a number of bosses who just would not listen. Some of it was that computer work was so outside their experience that it was magic, and if something is "magic" it takes no time or money to do. Users and management see too much stuff in I.T. as nothing more than flipping a switch because of their low knowledge level.

      For other bosses it was a more fundamental problem that's seen everywhere: management not listening to an expert when he/she says something they don't like.

      My advice to managers of all sorts: you should choose between two states with experts: trust the person you hire and listen to what he/she says or get rid of that expert. There should be nothing in the middle. You are going to lose those experts if you constantly second guess them or force them into situations that they have told you are not sustainable. Learn to listen.

    • Roger that. At my last job, at a large multi-national working on medical diagnostics, I worked for a couple of years for a woman with whom I got along well enough. Then, she moved to a different group and a raging asshole took over - the kind that would literally look over your shoulder and tell you what to type, or holler at you in team meetings, or lie about what was in the actual scope of the upcoming release so he'd get us to do additional things that would make him look good, but cause us to work ext
  • by Midnight_Falcon (2432802) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @03:24PM (#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.

    • Put in your consulting contract a call out fee of $1000 - i.e. if you pick up the phone your client is on the hook for $1000? When I was working full and went on holiday I told my employer that contacting me whilst on holiday would be at contractor rates. They never did... Or make your mobile number a premium rate number: $50 a minute might help concentrate their minds, but less blatantly
    • by mjr167 (2477430)

      How is that different from being... a doctor, a fireman, a nuclear plant operator, a plumber, or an electrical line repairman?

      Welcome to the world of essential services. When your job is to keep things working, you don't get to pick your hours cause shit happens.

  • by morcego (260031) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @03:25PM (#43295999)

    Working in IT (started as support drone, now admin and consultant) for 20 years.

    Back to college right now. Just started Law School.

    Most of my friends either gave up IT to just work in management, or are in the process of switching fields.

    The comodititization of IT destroyed it.

  • where you have to handle the typical asshole IT manager, who in turn has to handle his asshole manager and so on. I'm an admin in a small company, above me is my boss, and above him the owner. They just don't give a shit until everything works fine. So no, I don't consider my job extremely stressful, my users are software developers, they seem more stressed to me than I am. Not posting anonymously, 'caue I don't give a shit either.
    • And small ones..with only the ability to hire consultants and/or a single, less experienced IT staff member. In the former case (consultants), the consultant gets all this work and they want it done efficiently at the lowest cost. When consultant does their best work, client complains about how long it takes and then consulting company manger yells at consultant, despite a job well done.

      In the latter case (less experienced), you have a guy running around like a chicken without a head desperately tryin

    • Workwise, the best admin job I ever had was working for a small, local call center - maybe 50 employees.

      Then again, they fired me when I told them that $10/hr wasn't shit for a sysadmin... Maybe not that great a place to work after all.

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

    by PhxBlue (562201) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @03:29PM (#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 ISoldat53 (977164)
      I have NEVER met a manager with that attitude. They are always looking up not down. No one below them can do anything for them. It's those above that can make your life easier.
    • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @06:06PM (#43297839) Homepage

      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.

      The best boss I ever had once told me, "My job is to make sure that you don't have to worry about anything except doing your job."

      That is, if your job is to make sure the server has zero downtime, his job is to take care of the office politics, budgeting, etc. so that you can focus on keeping the servers running. Some other manager within the company decides he doesn't like you? Well that's your his job to deal with. You need a piece of equipment that won't fit into the budget? His job. HR has stupid requirements for filling out timesheets? His job. Any goddamn thing other than showing up in the morning and keeping the servers running? His job.

      Keeping the servers running? Your job.

      And he fulfilled his job description. My job at the time was a fair bit more complicated than "keeping the servers running," but the point is that I had a job description, and I didn't have to deal with anything that fell outside of that job description. And do you know how I knew what my job description was? My manager made it very clear, because it was his job. He didn't want me to spend my time trying to figure out what I should and should not do. He made it clear that if I was unsure what I should be doing, I should ask him because if I'm confused, then he's not doing his job.

      Now that's a goddamn manager. I miss that guy.

  • http://www.reddit.com/r/talesfromtechsupport/ [reddit.com]

    The 24 part series by Jon6 is entertaining...

  • Boomers are retiring much faster than projected.

    5 million in 2010 and 2011 instead of the expected 1.7 million.

    Enough boomers will retire to completely cancel the unemployment rate by 2020.

    Once labor gets the upper hand- it's going to have it for the next 19 years after that short of some kind of wonder automation/robotics.

    And 460 million chinese are retiring over the same time period. More than the total population of the united states. Only 76 million united states boomers will retire.

    The pattern is thi

  • Back in the seventies, I heard that Ma Bell employees used to "brag" about how many hours they'd worked that week.

    Then, '95-'97, I worked for Ameritech, a Baby Bell, since swallowed by SBC (which then swallowed AT&T, and renamed itself to AT SBC is the true Evil Empire), and discovered what was going on: ludicrous deadlines, utterly unrealistic goals, and little sub-empires that, rather than looking for buy-in, got the authority to tell us how to make the Perfect World (tm), as Revealed by them....

    Took

  • Stress varies (Score:3, Interesting)

    by elistan (578864) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @04:10PM (#43296559)

    I've never had a job other than IT support, so I don't know how it compares to other work, but I have had different IT support jobs with wildly different stress levels.

    On the low-stress side, picture a small shop. 50 to 100 servers, two or three admins. You know each server, what it does, what its quirks are, what external systems it talks to, you control not only the server but its storage and networking and backups, you're the dba, the webmaster, you know by name all the developers that write the code that runs on the servers, you know most of the users and all of the managers of the company by name... It's a lot of different hats, but with the limited number of systems you have enough time to pay each its proper attention. You can tweak each server individually. Only in extremely rare occasions like a failed controller on the SAN do you get called off-hours. This sort of job is fun and engaging.

    The high-stress job is from being on a team that "owns" a few thousand servers in a global corporation with a poorly set up support model - but you only has access to the OS. No ability to work on the databases or SAN, no rights to the switches or hypervisor, and when it's your turn to be on-call you are guaranteed to get calls all through the night - calls ranging ranging from hung servers that need a reboot, to performance issues that take hours and hours to coordinate troubleshooting with the SAN team that swears it's not their issue even though its several systems all connected to the same controller, users on the other side of the world having whatever issue, on systems you don't know they first thing about except its a database server or whatever because of the naming convenntion. No sleep that week, no ability to go to a movie without fear of being paged... Pure stress for the week of being on-call, and dreadful anticipation all other times.

    I was glad to have been laid off from a job like the latter during the financial crisis.

    I'll take a job like the former, even with a micro-managing, cover-sheet-your-TPS-report, the-sky-is-falling type boss, over another one like the latter any day.

  • by p00kiethebear (569781) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @04:11PM (#43296575)

    The people who are stressed about working in IT have a valid point. But this doesn't make you any different than say... a head chef?

    Millions of blue collar workers have to survive on less than half what the average introductory IT job pays and many have to do it in an environment where they don't speak the language. Imagine going into work and having to learn the ropes your first day just by watching. I had to work in kitchens for ten years and I'm telling you the responsibilities don't end there. It's your night or day off? Too bad, the dishwasher called in sick and we have to put you in? Oh sorry we can't pay you overtime, we're just going to pay you in regular wage with cash. Oops, we're paying you too much cash because you're working too much. How about we just pay you the same ammount every month no matter how much you work? Sexual harrasment? Too bad, your boss, is the HR, your manager, and the mediator all rolled into one.

    There are literally rehab centers built specifically for chefs because thouands of them burn out and start drinking on the job to deal the with stress. If everyone else wants to go home early, or the numbers arn't right that week, your boss will send everyone else home and you have to clean the kitchen yourself.

    4% more IT workers want to quit because of stress? Boo fucking hoo. So does everyone else who has to work a shitty job with long hours. At least you're being compensated at a fair wage for the skills you've developed. You're probably being paid over time if you're by the hour and you can probably also afford to buy a house. Not to mention basic health if not full benefits. If I cut myself with a knife I have to pay cash for the 5 stitches it takes to sew it up.

    Every job that takes skill and dedication looks shitty from the inside out. But seriously? Whenever I think about quiting my job or get angry about something trivial, I remember that I'm not dodging the secret police in North Korea or Bullets in Bosnia and I realize how lucky I am to even have a job. I wish I had the skills to be an IT worker so I could at least get paid a fair wage and didn't have to go home with dishpan hands every night. But this is what I get for playing more video games in college than doing actual work. Ultimately we're all masters of our own destiny.

    Be the change you want to see in your life. I would have been a lot happier and probably drank a lot less if I was on an IT workers salary. But as far as I'm concerned, I read this headline as "NEWS FLASH, PEOPLE HATE THEIR JOBS!"

    • by DrGamez (1134281)
      Just because a Head Chef job is really rough, doesn't mean that the IT job is any less rough.

      What was the point of this other to say: other jobs are hard too?

      Our current pay/benefits system doesn't adequately compensate those who are doing actual hard work, but that doesn't mean the plight of the IT/Head Chef is any less... plighty. We can always hope for better, if even we are being unrealistic about our expectations.
  • ...I'm embarrassed that the top source of stress is (wait for it...) "management". Even users cause stress less often (16% vs 35%). Obviously, there are way too many PHB around. Hope I'm not already assimilated...
  • I'm not surprised. It can be bad enough when they actually know what they're doing, if they have no clue it can be terrible.

    There is an amazing story on Reddit [reddit.com] (in 23 short parts!) of an IT manager from hell destroying a workplace. It's frustrating just to read.

  • Yay Shingles! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wow8agger (115234) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @04:49PM (#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 PPH (736903) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @06:16PM (#43297907)

    Sounds right.

    I can deal with the PHBs, the MBA metric BS, theory X, theory Y, all sorts of management types with no problems. What really gets under my skin is the manager with some sort of side deal going on. They say, "You've got to improve your communications skills". I reply with, "If you've got something to communicate, put it in a memo. E-mail me. Leave a voice mail."

    "Insubordination!"

    When they want something done, but they can't leave any evidence, things get tense. And its not just in IT, but the opportunities are more abundant when upper management doesn't "get" rapidly changing technology.

  • by jacobsm (661831) on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @06:44PM (#43298133)

    A stranger came to visit Chelm, together with his very old, very skinny cow. The mayor of Chelm insisted the stranger stay in his home during that time and even made room in his own barn for the cow. The stranger was a little worried about being in a strange town, so, he hid his gold in the straw in the barn under his cow.
    The next morning, the mayor walked into the barn to care for his animals, and he noticed the gold in the straw. He figured out that this cow, unlike all other cows, gave gold instead of milk. He was very excited!! He called a special meeting of the Chelm Town Council and insisted that they buy the cow from the stranger. They collected money from all the citizens in town. The mayor asked the stranger if he would be willing to sell the cow, and he offered double the usual price for a good milk cow. The stranger started to protest that the cow wasn't worth that much, but the mayor misunderstood and increased his offer. The more the stranger protested, the more the mayor offered. Finally, completely confused, the stranger agreed to sell. The mayor gave the scrawny cow the best stall in his barn. He fed her the very best feed in town. The next morning, the mayor approached the cow to milk her. As he started, he was very surprised to find that the cow gave...milk! And not even very good milk!! The mayor was annoyed. The stranger had sold him a cow that gave gold, but all he had gotten was milk! He reported back to the Town Council. They were angry. When they told the townspeople, everyone was furious! They decided to track down the stranger to get their money back. They found the stranger in the next town. With everyone yelling at him all at once, he had no idea what was going on, but eventually, he figured it out. He turned to the mayor and asked, "Did you feed the cow?" The mayor answered, "Of course we fed the cow! Do you think we don't know how to care for a cow?!!" The stranger answered, "Did you ever have a cow that gave gold before? Didn't you notice how scrawny she was when I came into town? There's only one way to get her to give gold... You have to stop feeding her! But, it took me weeks to teach her to not eat. This is what you have to do. Every day, feed her a little less. At the end of three weeks, you should be able to cut her down to eating nothing. The next day, milk her, and she will give gold again." The Chelmites look at the stranger, embarrassed about their previous anger at him. They return to Chelm and start the feeding regimen that the stranger told them. The cow got skinnier and skinnier, and the mayor of Chelm was very pleased. Until, one morning, on the very first day she would have gotten no food, the cow was found dead in her stall.

    The people of Chelm were, of course, very disappointed. But they always looked back nostalgically on the day when, if only their cow hadn't died, they would have been the richest town in Poland...

  • by Chanc_Gorkon (94133) <gorkon@@@gmail...com> on Thursday March 28, 2013 @08:31AM (#43302203)

    Is when they ask you to implement something you had ZERO input into. Usually there are about 5-10 other projects that really need to be done before their request can be done sanely, but you have to find workarounds to make what they want work NOW and then you have to REDO it all AGAIN once the other projects are done. Planning? Ain't nobody got time fo dat. SHOVE IT IN and who gives a fuck if it's your ass on the line....we'll fire your ass because we asked you to do somethign we shouldn't. Ain't no wonder I frickin hate my job at times.

    Plus then there's uptime. They want zero downtime but they don't want to actually PAY FOR IT. THA SUCK!

Business is a good game -- lots of competition and minimum of rules. You keep score with money. -- Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari

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