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IT Workers Face Dangerous Stress 136

feminazi writes "William Cross, CIO and Ph.D., told the IBM Share conference this week that IT workers often face dangerous levels of stress. In a Q&A with Computerworld.com, he described some of the manifestions: "They tend to be less emotionally stable. They tend to react strongly to small things that they might not react to under other circumstances. A change in schedule may be a crisis if somebody is really stressed." What to do? "Easy things. Exercise ... learn to relax, learn meditation, learn breathing exercises, participate in your religion — all of those things are very effective stress managers."" This story selected and edited by LinuxWorld editor for the day Saied Pinto.
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IT Workers Face Dangerous Stress

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17, 2006 @04:59PM (#15929980)
    Go BOFH on your users.

    It's a sure way to de-stress
    • The truth is, American workers are the laziest and unproductive workers in the world. Part of their unproductivity lies in the feeble nature of their bodies.

      You don't hear of Chinese or East Indian workers suffering from this kind of stress, do you? That's because they love their work and they're grateful, unlike you lazy union commies. They could be digging a ditch filled with Union Carbide chemical waste and they'd be singing in the acid rain.

      It's articles like this that convince me that you IT workers ne
      • by The NPS ( 899303 )
        I was nervous you were serious for a second there ..
        • Nah. I'm so fed up with cheap labor Libertarians, police state neo cons and so forth, that I've started making fun of them. Ever notice how they don't have much to say in favor of their stupid right wing utopian policies anymore?
      • by Fallen Kell ( 165468 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @06:58PM (#15930969)
        Perfect. Another "abuser" who so easily gave up her name. Let me go see here... Clickity, click, click, clack... Ahhh, yes. Let me see here. hmmm... looks like all her current programming work is being done out of her home directory. Click, click, clack.... Too bad it just suffered a disk failure. And lets go look for those backup tapes so I can perform the recovery. Lets see here, yes, tape103842. Lets just put it in the specially built "custom" DLT drive (you know the one that I modified the read/write head so that it actually writes the binary converted DC electric sine wave from the power supply to the tape when trying to "restore" a file). That will get things back in order. Let me also go connect my "special network patch cord" in for Libby's computer (the one that connects to the 240V 40Amp plug back here with the other end being her computer's NIC). Bzzzzz... POP! Yes, another satisfied customer.
        • The FBI will relentlessly hunt you down for that.

          If you filch my personal info from a data center in India and sell it to Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, however, the FBI can't touch you! Identity theft is much more fun than wrecking a computer! And remember, it's easy to get my information... just bribe the data center manager a year's salary... which amounts to your lunch money for a week.

          Ah, the joys of offshoring!

          [this is a parody, of course]
      • Just another word for
        Anarcy in a suit.

        Anarchy was good enough for me..
        Good enough for me and Ayn Rand.

      • Ah, I love the smell of strawman arguments in the morning. It smells like VICTORY!

        If I were a better comedian, it'd be easy to make a counter-parody of the socialists that make such libertarian parodies: You don't hear of North Koreans suffering from digging Union Carbide ditches while singing in the acid rain, do you? Of course not; their economic system is too backward to get them to a post-agrarian level in the first place!

        I'm sure after a few years living under the gun of Fidel Castro or former Chairm
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Things that work well (mostly) with LDAP: Samba, Postfix, that script that tells the router to poison specific arp caches, Proftpd, etc, etc. Things that work poorly with LDAP: Chuck, because I hate him.
  • Religion? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Trouvist ( 958280 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @04:59PM (#15929981)
    What happens when our religion is our IT work? Then when we practice it, wouldn't it become a viscious spiral into hell?
    • by Tackhead ( 54550 )
      > What happens when our religion is our IT work? Then when we practice it, wouldn't it become a viscious spiral into hell?

      You go to the scary devil monastery [faqs.org], and your spiral into hell starts when you go Down, not Across [wikipedia.org].

      ("That's it! I have had it with these muthafuckin' lusers on my muthafuckin' server!")

      • > What happens when our religion is our IT work? Then when we practice it, wouldn't it become a viscious spiral into hell?

        You go to the scary devil monastery [faqs.org], and your spiral into hell starts when you go Down, not Across [wikipedia.org] .

        This only happens when you have neglected all of the appropriate rites and rituals of the faith. This especially includes the sacrificial white chicken on the Altar of the Keyboard of the Server Almighty. Your input mast be acceptable and perfect in form and function, lest you b

        • Heh. My favorite threat was "Fix it! Or I'll have your liver, lights and login on the altar come midnight!"

          Note that this was said to me, not by me. I had to invoke the Forgotten Ones (and Zeroes) to save my persistent soul, but it all worked out fine in the end.
    • Only when you work in the video game industry. Your pointy-tailed boss will remind that your continual sacrifice to the video game gods is your only path to salvation. I did that for six years before I realized that I could take an IT help desk job to work only 40 hours per work and get paid as if I was working 80 hours in the video game industry. My stress levels went way down after I made the switch.
    • Get a new religion. I hear some temples in Oblivion are always looking for new converts.
  • by OakDragon ( 885217 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @04:59PM (#15929987) Journal

    For developers, or those who otherwise sit at the keyboard and monitor for long stretches, don't underestimate the importance of getting up to do a few stretches every once in a while.

    Once I sat in front of Visio, concentrating on state diagrams for a loong time. (I was just learning how to use Visio.) When I finally got up, my mouse arm was wracked in pain. I had sat there for hours, sans break, without realizing it.

    • by Lusa ( 153265 )
      The lesson I learned from this is to not get up, keep at it and the pain will not be noticed :) Though I have to admit usually at the end of the day I'm so pissed off I have a desire to throttle someone...
    • This is actually one of the main benefits to being a sysadmin type rather than a developer-- sysadmins generally end up moving around to look at and solve issues on end-user workstations, move servers or monitors around, check or adjust network cabling, etc, etc.

      Having to move around on a regular basis rather than spending 4-8 hours in the coding mindset is helpful...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17, 2006 @05:01PM (#15930002)
    Those changes in schedule that IT people get worked up about:

    "The hardware you wanted won't be available until two days after launch. Is that going to be a problem?"
    "Why the hysterics, the manufacturer said they'll have Linux drivers weeks before our new launch date."
    "How long after the launch date do you think it will be before you NEED the backup server?"

    The little things I get stress over the day before a large scale deployment:

    "We just decided we liked your idea. Can we make the database access clustered?"
    "For our launch announcement, how long can we claim it will take to have this ported to Windows Mobile too?"
    "The RAM you requested didn't arrive because we didn't order it. How many simultaneous users can we support with half the RAM?"
    "We can just add the extra disk space to the servers with USB drives right?"

    IT guys are sooo damned touchy!
    • For our launch announcement, how long can we claim it will take to have this ported to Windows Mobile too?"

      You have people (I presume the Marketing folks) actually ask before they make such an announcement?!?! Lucky.
  • "...learn to relax, learn meditation, learn breathing exercises..."

  • Stress... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Threni ( 635302 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @05:09PM (#15930082)
    ...remind me again, how do we measure it?

    I used to believe in stress, but now I've come to realize what I was experiencing was actually exasperation at poor decisions made by people who are paid far more than I. It's not really an illness or disease, as much as a realisation that the criteria applied to who gets the top jobs is utterly useless. Less concentration on shiny suits and bullshit - more on ability to deliver results.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    "Mail is down again! noob!"
    "Everything's working fine, so what did you do today, Oh, nothing?"
    "It doesn't work, fix it!"
  • ... the average medical resident, especially the surgical residents. On the other hand, we aren't supposed to be working more than 80 hours a week.
    • by intrico ( 100334 )
      Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe medical residents are typically on their feet moving around a lot. While on the other hand, a (un)healthy percentage of IT workers are relatively stationary, and not making any real attempt to eat healthy.
      • Plus for the residents it's just a short period of their career and they know it. After a few years of 80 hours days they know they will move on to the next phase of their career where they will be paid more to work shorter hours. Indeed, often the more they are paid the less hours they will work.

        For us it's an ongoing period with no expected end other than death or unemployment, the former actually seeming preferable at times as at least that way you won't have to get up every morning to bust a gut tryi

  • Stress? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17, 2006 @05:14PM (#15930149)
    I've been a programmer for many years. I have a personality type that thrives on stress. So you know what I do? Consulting. I get brought in on doomed projects. Every month is a working marathon. Right now I've been on a job since February, the original deadline was May, the latest deadline for that May deliver is Sept. I eat stress for breakfast, sure my health starts to go after 14-16 hour days 6 days a week (sometimes 7), but I get paid very well for it and take some time off to recover between jobs.

    Well I keep meaning to take some time off between jobs, but the head hunters just throw more ridiculous sums of money at me. I haven't had a proper vacation for years, but after a week of not working I start getting bored. I'm sure things would be different if I had a family waiting for me to get home at night, but considering I'm only 3 years out of college, this is fun. Also the stress on the job pales in comparison to the stress I went through during plebe year at Annapolis. I transfered to UW Madison after that year, but stress does not effect me in the same way it used to.
    • That's not stress. That's called work. Stress is when you have no control over what you're doing, when things change around you for no reason that you have no say over, where your decision is undermined by others who should be supporting you. The issues to your health you described are simply overwork taking its toll, and fixed by taking a break.

      The people feeling stress on your projects are the plebs at the bottom, pulled this way and that by their own (probably incompetent project managers). I would hope
  • I work as a Software Engineer / Oracle DBA. I have no stress. I don't like end lusers but i dont stress about them. Stress is for people who dont know the answer and dont know where to look to find it. When you know the answer or know where to look for it life is much easier. Also constant breaks to read Slashdot helps.
    • Re:What Stress? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Synonymous Bosch ( 957964 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @06:22PM (#15930748)
      Stress is when you get given too much work to do in too short a period of time and it can only be completed through your own raw output, not by referencing the work of others - usually as a result of poor resourcing and budgeting by management, and over-commitment to service levels.

      one might say people who continue to work for such companies or in such conditions are idiots and just stressing themselves. This is either true (in a lot of cases) or just short-sighted (in many others).

      As an example, I work in a high stress position, providing my services cheaper than my peers for a job I genuinely believe in (providing technology to under-privileged children so they can complete school and break out of the poverty cycle). If that's not worth a bit of stress, I don't know what is.

      anyone who says they have no stress or don't believe in stress just doesn't have a stressful job. their experiences don't define anyone elses - nor invalidate them.
      • by Black Art ( 3335 )
        one might say people who continue to work for such companies or in such conditions are idiots and just stressing themselves. This is either true (in a lot of cases) or just short-sighted (in many others).

        Or they have a mortgage and not enough saved to sit out a couple of weeks while payroll catches up.

        I have worked for a couple of companies that worked hard to keep their employees on a close enough financial edge so they could not leave and did not have enough money to hire legal council. I would not be su
      • by ooze ( 307871 )
        Hmmm ... what is it when everybody in a project but one or two run nervously about for the stress they have? What what if those one or two are actually those that need to get the work done? I'd say that those one or two are pretty much resistant to stress.

        I don't get stressed by jobs. I'm a contractor, so I don't play any role in internal career plans of others (or have any career plans in the company of myself that could affect my or others thinking). Basically I don't really care wether anyone makes money
      • by akuzi ( 583164 )
        > Stress is when you get given too much work to do in too short a period of time...

        I think you are correct - the most common IT worker stress is caused by a combination of:
        1. Having to finish tasks too quickly (ie. feeling 'rushed') OR
        2. Having too many tasks to do at once (ie. feeling 'swamped' with tasks)

        Both situations immediately put people in a very uncomfortable mental state.

        I agree that sometimes this is a management failure, but i think you also have to take some personal responsi
    • by DrJimbo ( 594231 )
      phiwholigan said:

      I have no stress. [...] Also constant breaks to read Slashdot helps.

      Here's a clue. If you've got time to read Slashdot then of course your job isn't stressful. If you had a stressful job then you wouldn't have time to read Slashdot once a day, let alone taking "constant breaks" to do so. It has nothing to do with knowing the answers or knowing where to look. Likewise, lounging around the pool all day is usually not stressful.

      My excuse is that I'm retired (because of too much stre

  • To deal with stress, breathe, participate in activities outside of work, exercise, set priorities and don't put too many hours in the office. These are all nice suggestions, but look at the conditions many IT workers have to work under.

    We are frequently required to carry pagers or phones for 24x7 support. Work can't always be left in the office because of this. On our days off and after hours, phone calls and pages are made to us to fix what other people see as problems. Exercise more? I would love to.
    • by cgreuter ( 82182 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @06:14PM (#15930678)

      I used to go to the gym 3-5 times a week on my way home from work until a manager complained I was only spending 8-9 hours a day working.

      So you updated your resume and found a job working for sane people, right?

    • I used to go to the gym 3-5 times a week on my way home from work until a manager complained I was only spending 8-9 hours a day working.

      At which point, you inform him that he either gets you for 10 hours a day or he gets you on the pager/cell phone. Not both. Just because the manager chooses to spend 12 hours a day in the office doesn't mean everyone else has to. Grow a backbone; an unreasonable demand is an unreasonable demand.

      If your company can't afford to hire enough IT staff so they make everyone else
      • There are plenty of employers these days who are willing to let you work a 40 hour week

        there are? It seems the minimum nowadays is 45+ unless you want to be seen as a slacker. Not to mention the commute. Not to mention only 2 weeks of vacation and 5 sick days a year. Not to mention the 'I know you are tired/burned out but I really need this to be done so can you come in on the w/end' etc. etc. etc.

        I would gladly take a 25% pay cut tomorrow if I could work 30 hours a week with 50% remote (to save on the comm

        • It seems the minimum nowadays is 45+ unless you want to be seen as a slacker.

          Tell your boss that you'll give the company 12 hours a day by leaving home for work at 7am, getting home at 7pm, and being available by phone during the commute.

          Point out to him that this is 48 hours a week, that he gets you most days of the week (four), and that on these days you spend 75% of your waking hours on this job.

          Throw in something about how you do your best thinking while driving to and from work, and remind him he d

        • Heh. I'm at 37.5 hours per week. If something major crops up and I have to stay over a few hours one day they'll usually tell me to take half a day off later in the week. If I work a weekend I'm given time off during the week to compensate. And I accrue time off at a rate of 1 day off every 2 weeks. Health insurance is COMPLETELY paid for by my employer. I'll also be retired at 51 and will get a pension check for all my remaining days.

          It's a pretty good setup (government job). The pay isn't great ($35,
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by detonator ( 90134 )
      I worked for IBM Global Services many years ago. They were trying to pull this kind of mandatory overtime crap when I quit in 1997.

      This seems like an attempt to circumvent labor laws. IANAL. In any event, it skirts the mutual understanding between you and your employer when the salary offer is made: the annualized figure is based on a standardized number of work hours per year, which is calculated from a 40-hour work week. Requiring 15% overtime (46 hours per week, or over an hour a day) amounts to a de fac
      • by sapped ( 208174 )
        Just in case you are curious - nothing has changed. I consult to IGS on various projects and the employees are constantly forced to work overtime to make their percentages. However, if they want something out of me then money has to change hands. That means the managers quickly realise that they need to think carefully about what they are asking you to do.

        Employees unfortunately are "free", so their time can be spent on the daily / weekly / monthly reorg tasks with impunity.
  • Cause and effect (Score:5, Insightful)

    by taustin ( 171655 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @05:26PM (#15930273) Homepage Journal
    "They tend to be less emotionally stable."

    But is that because they are in IT, or are they in IT because of that?
    • But is that because they are in IT, or are they in IT because of that?

      As someone in IT, I'd like to say: I'd throw a chair at you right now if I could.

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Both and fuck you, I hate you, I hate myself, everything sucks.
  • by 8127972 ( 73495 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @05:34PM (#15930335)
    ..... That make firms with rec rooms, fun company outings, enforced breaks during the workday (to read, improve your IT education, etc.), and subsidized memberships to gyms and the like the ones to work for. I would suspect that those companies have IT staff that are less stressed and they have less retention issues..... Not to mention they lower the risk of some overstressed IT person going postal. More examples can be found here:

    http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,20972,00. html [wired.com]
    http://self-help.vocaboly.com/archives/495/value-y our-employees-by-offering-company-perks/ [vocaboly.com]
    • by Bios_Hakr ( 68586 ) <xptical@@@gmail...com> on Thursday August 17, 2006 @07:30PM (#15931166)
      My company does a lot of what you look for. Here's my take:

      Fun company-sponsored outings. What a waste. Just because I work with you, does not mean I'd like to spend my spare time at a picnic with you. In fact, after working hours, I want to get as far away from you all as possible.

      Unfortunately, these "fun outings" turn into a political nightmare. Unless you volunteer your own time to help set-up, clean-up, or cook, you are seen as someone who hates the company. Unless you show up and play softball or voleyball, you are seen as having no loyalty. You have to sit with people who fired your best friend or smartest worker and smile and drink beer and talk about their fucking kids and listen to them struggle to remember my fucking kids.

      And God help you if you or your wife doesn't bring a good side dish.

      Rec rooms are okay, but you are looked down upon if you spend too much time there. There are days when my workload is really light. But, I'm still chained to my desk looking busy. Why? Because I've already used my 15 minutes playing ping-pong.

      We don't have enforced breaks, but we do have subsidized education and certification. If you take a class over lunch or at the end of the day, bosses are very understanding and ensure you get there on time. Although, you may have to come back after class and burn the midnight oil.

      We also have free memberships for a local gym. Almost no one goes. It really is sad to see how people put their work and family before their own personal health. Never quite understanding that, if you are dead at 40, you do your family no good.

      We also do casual fridays every now and again. You usually have to drop $5 in a bucket to participate. The money goes towards the next stupid fucking picnic. If you don't participate (my casual *is* buisness casual), everyone thinks you were too poor to afford the $5.
    • by jours ( 663228 )
      Did you notice the dateline on that Wired artice about "High-End Tech Company Perks"?

      July 31, 1999.

      Yeah, that sure was a fun time, wasn't it? See if you can dig up any of the articles between then and now that explain what happened to all the dot-com companies. I've never worked for the big guys mentioned in there, but I'll wager they don't offer all those perks now. They don't have to.

      Companies aren't quite as anxious to overpay for decent talent anymore. All those things you mention end up in
    • In my experience, those kind of companies are the same that try and make their workers do as many extra (unpaid) work hours as possible. It's the same guys that will arrange for dry-cleaning services to come pickup their workers clothes at work - the point being to reduce the need to go home and to have people (working) in the office as long as possible.

      Often company perks of this kind, for example company cars, are not only cheaper to provide than actually paying a industry competitive salary, but also hav
  • No wonder IT workers are still under so much stress!
    • Hey, this is /.

      If I could be, I would be getting some female attention.
      And I'd be a lot less stressed.

      Its like 'How many ladies would understand that I'm looking for some horizontal DDR?' :-)
    • by dbIII ( 701233 )
      It's not easy when you have to repeatedly cancel dates at the last minute or even leave half way through one. Ringing up to ask for pirated software for home or the many other stupid interruptions I have received outside of work hours is unpleasant and frequently makes me a grumpy and unpleasant peson to be with. People have to learn that staff that are on call are to be called for very important things that cannot wait for business hours or for unusual burning smells coming out of the server room. IT
  • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @05:53PM (#15930483) Homepage
    People work better when they get enough sleep and aren't working extremely long hours! Furthermore, workers who are able to have a life outside of work are happier, get sick less, and are able to spend time with their families!

    I find it disheartening that a manager figuring that out would be worthy of an article. I mean, this shouldn't be rocket science. The general idea I've gotten from various managers is that you can get more productivity out of people with a certain amount of overtime for a short period of time, but frequent overtime or extreme "crunch time" will in the end just destroy your work force and with it your work.
    • Not to mention it's financially unsound. When you work someone 60+ hours a week, you've reached the point where it'd be cheaper just to hire another worker. That is, if workers demanded overtime...

      In all honesty, I think companies *want* the workers to fail. They want to be able to show a page of your code after 60+ hours of work along side the code created by a team of Indian programmers. After that, it's just a matter of getting you to quit so that they don't have to announce layoffs.
      • Overtime is often caused by clueless managers that underestimated the man-hour cost of implementing something and still want it to be done within budget ('cause they look good and get big bonuses). Thus they pressure developers into working overtime without payment.

        Overworking that actually goes on the budget is way much rarer - usually those "imovable" deadlines suddenly become much more flexible when a manager cannot squirm his/her way out of paying 150% or 200% for work beyond normal work hours.
    • People work better when they get enough sleep and aren't working extremely long hours! Furthermore, workers who are able to have a life outside of work are happier, get sick less, and are able to spend time with their families!

      Um, that's almost besides the point. You neeeeeed to have a measurable metric of effort, and the only one there is, regardless of actual output, is how much time you're spending visibly working. If the product is late, there's pressure from above to increase effort. How do you m

  • While it's true that most of us (speaking from a software dev's and previous support analyst point of view) are stressed. We aren't overly stressed to the point of snapping when the smallest thing goes wrong. I'm used to having things go wrong, unexpected bugs popping up, code just not compiling... etc etc, as I think most developers are. It's a stressful job (particularily close to release date), but so are most. I certainly wouldn't call it "Dangerous levels of stress".
  • Depending on your coworkers and what happens during the little bits of downtime you get, how the stress affects you (well, me anyways) can change drastically. I work IT at a college, and we're being prepped for the onslaught of the students returning next week. Basically, we're having our shifts broken up, everyone is working, and we are keeping the workers in and out so no one gets fucked by the horde of students who don't know how to take care of spyware. That seems to be a fairly good model, and one t
  • It's not stress. They've renamed being a stressed out geek. It's now called "Aspergers Syndrome", and you can claim to have it on message boards so that people pay more attention to you. You also can get on the whole "disability" gravy train, even though there's nothing wrong with you. It's really a great advancement for all IT workers.
    • Asperger's Syndrome is a form of autism. It can lead to being a stressed out geek but it is not the same thing.
    • First, as others have pointed out there's no connection between stress and Asperger's.

      Second, the fact that 99% of the people with the disease du jour from a short checklist in Reader's Digest or Slashdot or whatever does not mean that the other 1% are also just fooling themselves. Dismissing them is as unacceptable as dismissing anyone else with a "hidden" illness. E.g., my girlfriend has fibromyagia (only she can spell it). She looks fine, we can go on short hikes, but I would never say that she's just
  • Of course it's the fault of the workers. I mean, why should anyone get stressed working 12 hr days 6-7 days a week on some death march. Seriously people, just go for a jog. That'll fix everything.
  • people in other Industries when though the same things long hours, no over time pay, on call all the time, bosses who want stuff done now even know that takes longer then they give you the time for and other things.
    • How about setting reasonable expectations and growing a spine? Demand compensation time for significant amounts of overtime worked, don't be on-call for the little stuff, and tell your boss that the project is X number of man-hours worth of work which won't fit in Y weeks worth of man-hours. I get the same problem here but I let my boss know what the deal is and deliver on a sane time schedule. Just because marketing promised a customer a totally new revision of the system with a completely rebuilt architec
  • "Easy things. Exercise ... learn to relax, learn meditation, learn breathing exercises, participate in your religion -- all of those things are very effective stress managers.""

    Lets see... Taoist based kung fu

    Exercise - Check

    Relax - Got tai chi? - Check

    Meditation - Check

    Breathing Exercises - Check

    Participate in your religion - Check

    Maybe I am on the right path afterall. This computer stuff is for the birds. It wrecks the body (got carpal tunnel) and stresses you out. After spending too much time in fron

  • Exercising is a stressful activity. It stresses you physically. If you're already overstressed how will this do anything other than make you more stressed?

    I'm asking this as a serious question. I work out and exercise all the time but when I'm really stressed from work or whatever I have to cut back on the physical exercise or I really start to flip out with anxiety attacks, panic attacks, etc. It just adds to the emotional instability. Again, it's not like I'm a computer using couch potatoe, I exercis
    • by brumby ( 93242 )

      Exercising is a stressful activity. It stresses you physically. If you're already overstressed how will this do anything other than make you more stressed?

      Organised exercise stresses me out. Suddenly there's goals, performance standards, if it's a team sport I've got to live up to the others expectations, and so on.

      Instead, these days, I just go for a walk. I live in a nice enough city that it's fairly easy for me to just find a creek with a jogging/cycling path beside it, or a sequence of parks with pa

    • I don't have any science to back up my suspicion, but I suspect that whether somebody *feels* less-stressed depends on the person.

      I don't feel less-stressed when I'm done working out at the gym or done running, for instance. But when I'm done doing martial arts? Yeah, definitely!

      I also feel less-stressed when I get enough sleep...
  • Only people that are diligent and take pride in their work get stressed, which applies to most of the IT people that I've met. People that don't care don't get stressed.

    Since managing a group of computers running Windows is a hopelessly impossible task to do perfectly, because it's a moving target, it creates great stress for those diligent people.

    I would suggest that because the vast majority of IT people are managing MS Windows that the real culprit is Windows itself, and not IT intrinsically. Until

    • The definition of stress is STUPID END USERS.

      How many times have you had to tell the same dumba$$ "Don't do X", yet they go and do it, and then whine to the boss that it's got to be fixed "right now" for the 47th time?

      Our example. We'll call her Melinda to protect the stupid. In the three years that Melinda worked for us, her workstation managed to contract every single virus that came through. Melinda would uninstall her antivirus software "because it made her computer slow". When we disabled her acces
  • If you already work 45-50 hours a week and don't punch a clock, the big problem is the "would you look at this?" at the end of the day that makes you miss dinner. If you have no spine, at least let it be known that your new flex hours will devote your entire existence to the company between sunrise and sunset, every workday of the year.

    Start by printing out a free chart [navy.mil] for your area. You get on the train/bike/bus/car at the crack of dawn, arrive at work an hour later, and similarly step off that train/bi

  • Frag. Seriously. I use FPS games to relax. When something isn't working or somebody is causing trouble I frag. During periods of time when I'm not stressed I don't game (haven't played an FPS in two months).
  • "They tend to be less emotionally stable. They tend to react strongly to small things that they might not react to under other circumstances. A change in schedule may be a crisis if somebody is really stressed." Just sounds like it is describing anyone who ever ends up entering INTO the IT field!
  • Stress less. How?

    Do not take responsibility for things that are not your fault.

    User does something dumb, loses their work or whatever, and has a go at you about it. Is this your problem? No - so don't take any shit for it. *Politely* inform them of the options, and schedule work when you can fit it in. If it's going to take more time for you to fix it than it will take for them to start-over, then too bad for them. No, an emergency for them is not an emergency for you - unless it truly is more imp

  • If my boss wore a decent helmet I could crack him round the head with a bat everytime I felt stressed. Cause and effect really.
  • I currently have a summer co-op as an IT intern. I have to say that yes, the IT personnel at the company I am working at are quite touchy, grouchy and don't necessarily enjoy doing anything work-related (I hear them curse alot throughout the day). I, though, simply help the people (and take my time doing it as I am paid by the hour) and then explain to them what went wrong and how I fixed it (so that perhaps they can fix it themselves if it goes wrong again). I feel that IT should just take things easy and
    • by stephenbooth ( 172227 ) * on Friday August 18, 2006 @09:46AM (#15934146) Homepage Journal

      The rest of the IT people are probably touchy and grouchy because the intern is taking too damn long to do even simple jobs and spends all their time talking to the users when they should be moving on to the next task. Plus management has just dumped another 4 man weeks of extra project work per week on them because they've got an intern to pick up the day-to-day work.


  • Just give me back my fucking stapler and everything will be ok. I swear one of these days I'm going burn this mutha' to the ground.
  • I work for the worlds largest wholesaler in our industry, and am the only IT person in the Canadain opperation. The company has made some really hard to swallow changes in the last few years and I have just adapted. I felt I had good stress management skills, a fun personality and the ability to let the sh*t people throw and ignorant (sometimes cruel) managers tell you to eat fall off my teflon armour. Well I was wrong and just fooling myself. Two weeks ago I suffered a health event that my doctor tells
  • I do not want to be lumped into "IT". I am a programmer, not IT.

    Programmers do real work. IT is, more often than not, the adversary.

    IT: We are taking away administrator rights.
    Programmer: What?
    IT: If you download and install any software from the Internet, you will be fired.
    Programmer: What?
    IT: If you need anything installed, we will install it for you.
    Programmer: I need X, Y, and Z installed.
    IT: That software is not on the approved list
    Programmer: What software is on the approved list?
    IT: Th

    • How about this one:

      Programmer at a law firm: "Admin has changed all my .pl scripts so that when you click on them, they open in notepad, and taken away my ability to tell it to run the perl script instead. Please change it back."

      IT: Because of the existence of perl viruses, we won't let you use the windows gui click ability, though do require you use windows. Open up a cmd window and type in the following path to get to perl.

      Programmer: I am a PERL programmer, everything I do I do in perl. Can't

"The one charm of marriage is that it makes a life of deception a neccessity." - Oscar Wilde