I have a degree in English, creative writing BA. Lucky for me, I have a genuine passion for tech and always want to know and understand more and more and more. I have taught myself everything I know, I have hands on experience with enterprise grade firewalls, Windows Server environments, and even dabbled in SQL Administration. I have no certifications.
First: a little bit of spin: make sure that people know you're not the introverted IT guy who is going to stare at his shoelaces. You're at least going to stare at THEIR shoelaces! I emphasize my English degree by explaining how it allows me to communicate with "end-users" no matter what level of technical skill THEY have.
Communication is the biggest part of our job. Next: keep that interest in technology prevalent on your resume. Throughout college, I had a work study position at a local library, helping them with their IT needs. After that, I kept in touch with a friend who got me a foot in the door at one of my first jobs out of college, and I used that to learn more and more and more, take on more responsibilities, learn from higher tier technicians if you're at a job that affords you the opportunity.
I have been able to do pretty well for myself by PROVING that I know the things that I say I know, and by showing constant progress and improvement in my work history on my resume. These things are extremely important. But you can do it.
Facebook is the new water cooler. You take a few minutes to clear your mind before moving to the next task at hand, it's a normal part of a person's workflow, provided they don't have some form of Asperger's or something on that order. A few minutes to read news on Slashdot is often thought to be work related, depending on the field of work.is. Normal, long standing behavior in every work force of every era, save for maybe slavery.
The "life is too short" speech doesn't work when your 18 year old goes from high school to college, and then is 22 and saddled with $40,000+ in debt. Then they have to pay $700+ every month in rent (not the $150 it was for my parents in the 1970's), because a six figure loan to buy a house is complete nonsense. In order to keep my job I have to work, as the article suggests, 50+ hours every week, sacrifice sleep to do some work from home and allow my boss to bug me via my smartphone on the rare day when I take a vacation day.
That's just a summary of my experiences and everyone I went to college with. Ask one of your three kids, if any of them are in college. Or wait until they graduate. It is terrifying that prices of many things have inflated far faster than incomes, the income gap is the largest its been in decades, and not ONCE has anybody ever uttered the word pension in the near-decade I've been out of college.
Life is too short, but if I don't work it'll be even shorter, because I'll be out of food and shelter.
I have to first laugh at the neckbeard movie theater employees claiming people chained to desks want to defend their lifestyle, "defending the man" and whatever "modern day slave" type comments they want to pull from the beatnik bible. Very few people WANT to work a 60+ hours week. But you don't have much of a choice in the matter. The big problem is that if you won't do it, there's someone waiting to replace you who will, so you have to do it. Even if you're salaried, with no overtime - the best you can hope for is a little recognition and a bonus. If you don't work those exhausting hours, you will be replaced by someone who will. Employment is better than unemployment, so that's what you do, unless you want to work 22 hours a week and live in your parents basement.
My first job out of college I averaged 70+ hours a week - and I was on a salary BELOW $30,000. I had graduated 7 months ago and took a bad offer just to finally have "a" job. But it wasn't worth it. I got to a point where I worked through my weekends, ten hour days, and got to 34 days in a row when I finally told my boss I was clearly being abused. Within a few weeks, I was fired. The guy they hired to replace me started at $46,000. Valuable lesson learned: never undersell yourself just to get in. Raises don't happen as frequently as they did in our parents' generations, and frankly, you'll never even get one of those if you don't stick your neck out and ask.
I've job hopped a bit, and was even at a job where I would work about 50 hours a week, clients would call and email at all hours of the night and I had to be able to respond to those calls, too. My boss, one day, would tell me that these things weren't expected of me, and the next day ask me why a project wasn't moving as quickly as he wanted it to. To mitigate some of those problems, I asked him to prioritize the multiple tasks I had in front of me. He would decide what got finished in what order (usually forcing him to choose between pet projects and profits).
The simple fact is that it's still an employer's market out there. Unemployment is still just high enough that they have their pick of the litter and if you don't live up to their expectations, you're gone, and another warm body can fill your chair. The problem isn't so much that people are willing to do this, the problem is that employers are expecting them to do this. It is the expectation set by the "driven" few at the top, who expect all of their employees who earn a tiny percentage of what the guy up top earns, to be just as driven as they are. I'm not going to "make partner" as an IT guy, why should I have to work just as hard at your law firm, accounting firm, medical practice, etcetera?