IT Employment

IT jobs claim four of 10 positions in most hated jobs list

Four out of ten most hated jobs are in IT? Can this be true?

A 2011 CareerBliss survey says that four out of the ten most hated jobs are IT-related.

Regular readers of this blog know that I'm always a little leery of survey results. For one, the people who do surveys are not always specific as to who was surveyed. The CareerBliss survey, for example, claims to have surveyed "hundreds of thousands" of people but I can't find anything on their site to indicate the demographics of the people. Where was the survey done, for instance? At a table set up outside CES? And were there no porta-potty maintenance workers around to cast a vote?

Anyway, here's the breakdown of the results:

1. Director of Information Technology

2. Director of Sales and Marketing

3. Product Manager

4. Senior Web Developer 5. Technical Specialist

6. Electronics Technician

7. Law Clerk

8. Technical Support Analyst

9. CNC Machinist

10. Marketing Manager

What's striking about the list is that most are well-paid positions and fairly high up in the corporate infrastructure. The issues with the IT positions in particular, however, seem to be with the way their companies are run.

The Web Developers say their "employers are unable to communicate coherently, and lack an understanding of the technology."

Technical specialists reported that for all their expertise, they were "treated with a palpable disrespect" and their input was not taken seriously by senior management.

Information Technology Directors -- although they hold almost as much sway over the fate of some companies as a chief executive -- reported the highest level of dissatisfaction with their jobs. Why? "Nepotism, cronyism, disrespect for workers."

And I think we can pretty much isolate the pain points for Technical Support Analysts as crazy end-users.

So let's hear from some of you. Do you concur that your jobs are among the worst?

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

52 comments
csudi
csudi

I think this is silly. Each such titled job covers million different things: a different situation at every company, big or small. I have never met anyone who said 'I hate being the CIO' - LOL, it's even amusing. I did meet people who said 'I hate my company'.

bigjude
bigjude

How many of you bothered to look at Career Bliss? It's a site for people who are unhappy with their jobs and the stats they offer obviously relate to those who use their site. I think Toni should have spelt this out so that everyone understood what they were commenting on. Or maybe some of you comparatively well paid moaners should have bothered to go and fill in their questionnaire. To be in their results, subjects need to know about their website. Secondly they need to waste their time filling in surveys. Thirdly, they need to have enough time available to waste it. I can't imagine that many itinerant fruit pickers or pool cleaners would meet these criteria. Also, most of them would be happy that they were lucky enough to have a job... any job at all. What I'm reading in some of the comments is the inability of technical people to communicate adequately with non-technical people and the assumption that non-technical people can actually get their heads around IT. It would be interesting to know what the non-technical occupations on the list consider to be the worst points of their jobs because some of them are positions that people spend much of their lives trying to achieve.

MaSysAdmin
MaSysAdmin

I'm working as a sys admin with a DBA and I've noticed one big difference in our jobs. He gets a request and actually has something to show for it. My job is trying to anticipate problems and preventing them from occurring in the first place. The more "visible" the work I do (i.e. users impacted by a problem), makes it appear that I'm not doing my job. If I've prevented a disaster from occurring in the first place, people wonder why I'm on the payroll because nothing wrong happened. It becomes a no-win situation. And as one person mentioned, those outside of the professional field think that because they know how to make Powerpoint sing and dance and that they know what an IP address is, makes them a technical expert. Just because I can sometimes balance my checkbook doesnt make me a CPA.

angry_white_male
angry_white_male

Been there, done that... recession came and I fell a few rungs down the ladder. While I miss the office, putting my brain to work, all the perks and the title, I don't miss the stress and burn-out. These days I'm a PBX field tech paid by the hour with all the overtime I want, making a lot more money than I ever did in IT management with a take-home company car (100% paid by the company), fewer hours, 1% of the headaches, drama, and back-stabbing office politics. Some days I'm home by lunchtime and done for the day and paid til 5. My workload is such that I plan out my day and tell my service dispatcher what I'm doing and not the other way around. Plus my line of work, there aren't thousands of unemployed people with worthless MCSE's lining up for a $40,000/year job with with few benefits for that one ad on Monster.com - in fact finding qualified people is a challenge for us. Which is fine by me - more overtime as far as I'm concerned. Sure, where I am now isn't where I imagined where I would be as I was nearing the top of my career ladder, but the stress and Bravo Sierra wasn't worth putting my career ahead of my family. These days, I just keep my eye on that piece of paper that comes every Friday - it's family first as I laugh to the bank while my former IT management colleagues burn themselves out at work while their spouses file for divorce.

Andy Raffalski
Andy Raffalski

One of the things I dis-liked in your story was how you summarized what you were actually trying to communicate. You said (according to the CareerBliss survey) "four out of the ten most hated jobs" . . . hated by whom?? By customers? By managers? By the actual persons in the jobs (alright, I got that one)? I also get it when you say the Tech Specialists are ???treated with a palpable disrespect". It does not mean that their profession or career choice is among the most-hated . . . either their management really sucks, or they are working for the wrong company. I can see end-user customers hating a lot of these roles, but as jobs persay, most of these can be awesome jobs in the right environment.

Loadmaster
Loadmaster

I'm an IT Pro. (Technical Support Analyst) I mean....what is it with the ???Nepotism, cronyism, disrespect for workers" these days!?? IT is awesome....love learning it. But the people I serve make my job a Nightmare from Hell. And don't get me started about Management! They get more squirrly and dysfunctional by the day. Anybody have any insights....thoughts? Can this craziness really be sustained?? I have my doubts.

pgit
pgit

I have a lot of friends who operate CNC equipment, and even though the companies they work for are mostly cheapskates, and management treats them like dirt, they are quite happy with their jobs. The vast majority of their time they are simply running parts. The machine does 99% of the work, they can pretty much sit there on their iphone or android, texting, emailing, playing games... and the money is not bad compared to a lot of the other jobs the folks would be qualified to do. There is one large industrial operation here with a ton of CNCs going 24/7, the people that work there are all trying to get out and get a similar job at one of the dozens of small, locally owned shops. They eventually do. The big operation doesn't mind, because the work force is perpetually 'entry level' and is paid/treated accordingly. They really don't want long term employees, you have to pay them more, and offer benefits. So maybe the survey parked outside of an operation like that and asked the folks going in and out how they liked their jobs... that would be a lot easier than traveling all over the county to find the three operators here, five there... working in small shops. If you asked them, most would probably say they're very happy. So I agree with the others who smell something fishy with this survey.

Essvee!
Essvee!

Surely "IT Helpdesk " should gain a devent position in the list.

kfortney86
kfortney86

tech support in the advertising world. . .if there is a group of less technical, more high strung end users out there, please point me in the opposite direction. Oh yeah, finance. For a long time, I thought if I could come up with the best non-tech analogies, simplified training, and overviews of our systems, etc, that maybe I could bring a little bit of technical understanding to account managers and sales end users. What was I thinking? I've finally come to terms that the people I support have tech-anxiety and I am LUCKY if they grasp enough about the way the system works to answer their client's questions. For myself, I've decided to further my education on the business side of things to foster a better understanding of the client's needs in my industry, hopefully moving further away from the technical support realm.

lexmark2009
lexmark2009

I have worked from Desktop Support to System Engineering to Manager of IT services and my experience has been mixed. I see the problem from two angles... First technical people tend to have, in varying degrees, a lack of patience and ability to verbalize to non-technical people (yes I learned that I was guilty of this early in my career). Second end users also are guilty of not trying to understand technology in any degree at times especially senior management (this get exponentially worse when you have tech workers that fail to try to work with end users). This tends to make a situation where a senior manager will make a bad decision usually for the company (seen this too many times). This makes for a recipe of IT morale being down since they get blamed for the bad technical decision and the end user thinks IT is incompetent and out of touch with user needs. Bottom line better communication that is direct and trusted between IT and end users. IT departments would need to reach out to end users (non IT managers too) to gain their trust so they can be an advocate for IT as opposed to the geeks that keep changing our systems.

yattwood
yattwood

As a Database Administrator, I don't normally have much direct contact with non-IT end-users; I normally interact with Application Development teams and Data Center personnel, and my interactions are fairly positive (because these teams are looking for services from the DBA's). However, I see a distinct hierarchy within IT - CIO-level management, if anything, tends to reinforce the view of IT as an 'expensive', 'necessary evil' sort of service by constantly pressuring for cost-cutting and resisting calls for IT workerbees to be _ahead_ of the users by creating test labs or prototyping environments for _IT_ people to explore and become conversant with the latest technologies in order to be able to better work with/advise end-users when they want to implement such - but woe betide if some executive can't access his Lotus Notes, Blackberry or such! And, in this New World Order Of Outsourcing, DBA's and the few remaining in-house IT personnel often shoulder the burden of actually getting the _outsourcer_ personnel to perform contractual duties.....as well as fill in the inevitable gaps that the outsource contract doesn't cover

mbrello
mbrello

... and I agree with many of them while I sit here and nod my head and laugh in sympathy. Every day (no exaggeration) there are things that happen on all levels (management, user, etc.) that just make me roll my eyes and question my sanity for choosing IT as a career choice. LOL However, truth be told, I love my job - under compensated, as I am - and cannot imagine myself doing anything else. Cheers!

oldbaritone
oldbaritone

"10 most hated jobs" doesn't include jobs like -dishwasher -garbage collector -laborer ??? Obviously the survey was "hundreds of thousands" of office-suits.

AZEducator
AZEducator

Been there, done it all. Now I am a full time IT instructor at a community college and love it all! No plans to retire...

laurie.tyz
laurie.tyz

Everyone hates us. In general, they only see us for two things: 1. Annual Awareness sessions -- that many consider a waste of time 2. Security Incidents -- bearer of bad news. Surprised it didn't make the list.

sermic
sermic

I've been in IT since mid-80's as well and worked my way up from installing chips on ancient circuit boards to senior management. Sometimes, I miss those circuit boards.

stephen.berry
stephen.berry

I have been reading the comments and what I find more interesting is that the theme appears to be that we are allowing people with nothing more than a BA in finance or business to direct these companies. If one has to possess a more difficult BA degree (and yes I have found accounting/finance, economics, and management easier than software engineering) or higher to obtain an Executive level IT position, should we not require a PhD in business coupled with at least a BA in the subfactors of the line of business, i.e. finance, economics, and IT, as the minimum for a CEO that makes millions a year? I have friends who have a PhD in theoretical mathematics, something you would think even technology companies would die for, that can not make more than $55K a year!! I also think Universities and Colleges should be regulated as to the degrees they are allowed to offer, if there is no market or future for a degree, then they should not be allowed to SELL their services of teaching in that area, even if the time period is limited. For instance, a few years ago I know there was no market for MIS degrees, yet many people at my work were in school for the degree; they were being lied to and ripped off by the Universities. While I am on the subject of Universities, should not every instructor, whether a PhD, a grad student, or an adjunct, be required to pass courses created by the Education Department so the University can ensure these instructors are even teaching properly?

jkmartinez2
jkmartinez2

I have been in IT since the 80s. One of the first women programmers and an innovator. The early IT years were great and with my experience and background I was promoted many times. I became CIO during the great crash after 9/11. I am now a Project Manager in IT over new construction in the Hospital Industry. I guess the thing that has always bothered me is the fact that I worked on two degrees and spend years building my experience and then you get someone that knows how to make an Excel sheet and suddenly calling themselves an IT Professional. Nothing makes me madder than people who have almost zero experience and education think they are a professional just because they know how to turn the computer on. Also through the years it is apparent that most people do not understand one iota of what IT does or how we accomplish it so they discount it. It's our jobs and we make too much money. If people only knew what it takes to stay up to date on technology that is changing almost on a daily basis and try to maintain your job too.

cd003284
cd003284

For me, the heart of the issue, or the issue giving rise to all other issues, is that whenever science and technology are made subservient to politics, the outcome is likely to be bad. It puts people without knowledge in charge of people with knowledge. Technological decisions are determined by personal and politicla criteria. Children command the adults and madness ensues. This isn't to say that there aren't bad techs, or that there aren't good managers. But it is to say that you cannot make good decisions without the knowledge prerequisite for those decisions. And the consequences nearly always travel downward to the people who tried to prevent them. I say all this having once worked fifteen years in the deepest chamber of hell, international defense contracting, where everything is always political.

david
david

I am a Director of IT at a fairly large operation. I have to say that the analysis is pretty much spot on. There is little to no respect from the top tier of management above us and the users below us. The general consensus is that if they don't know what it is we do, it must not be hard. We have to work miracles on a budget that gets smaller every year. We have to keep things "easy" but still stop all spam (with no false positives) and all intrusions and viruses etc. But the minute one of those systems prevents someone's kid from downloading MP3 files we are the problem. (and I'm not kidding about the kid part) My favorite CEO request for the year so far is "just build a bunch of applications and then we'll pick the one we like". Second runner up was "what do you mean you can't tell the computers to only print on paper and nothing else? This is the problem with incompetent IT people." I kid you not. This was because we couldn't make the "print to file" box disappear on all of the computers in the world when they happen to be printing any of our materials. Stressful? You bet. Does management have a clue what they want to accomplish? No. Do we still have to figure it out and do it? Yes. If one of the departments is waiting on something from us, it's out fault for not delivering. If we need something from them in order to deliver it, it was our fault for not making them provide it. There is no time that the IT department is in the right and there is no time that any other department is in the wrong. Grumpy about it? You bet I am.

Flyers70
Flyers70

Tech jobs are great, but career prospects have been crippled in recent years, with outsourcing and offshoring. Throw in a bad economy and obtuse management styles from corner offices and yeah, I get why the IT jobs are on this list. I certainly wouldn't recommend that my own child pursue a career in technology.

technomom_z
technomom_z

As bad as these are, you have to count your blessings if you have one of these jobs. Most of these are pretty well paying jobs. Could be worse, you could count yourself among the unemployed.

AudeKhatru
AudeKhatru

I can believe this, because I work in IT. IT is squeezed from both sides. They are given extremely strick security protocols, and asked to keep viruses and spam out of the network, but then looked on by the rest of the company as a roadblock. Where I work, no matter how much we bend over backwards to make things seamless and just work, any time they find they cannot do something, we are seen as not helping enough. I work for a state agency, and there is only so much we can do within the state mandated security protocols, and yet we have people wondering why they cannot bring in whatever they want and use it on our network.

Sterling chip Camden
Sterling chip Camden

I'd have to say that I'd take any of those jobs (even Technical Support) over some of the jobs I had in my early days, like swinging a bush axe under power lines, or putting up fiberglass insulation in new apartment construction in the middle of summer.

V.H. Scarpacci
V.H. Scarpacci

I am an Electronics Technician working in an IT department as a Technical Specialist. This, in theory, puts me in two of the 'most hated' positions. I love my job! The pay isn't great at my company, but the work is different all of the time. Variety is what make the job worth while. What is the issues which these job on the list? I understand #1, Director of Information Technology. I did that a decade ago and won't go back. Too much politics and not enough hands on work.

LocoLobo
LocoLobo

But apparently the convenience store graveyard shift clerk is happier than a "Director of Information Technology"? Or the person at the fast food window? The solution is simple. Tell those Directors to quit directing and sign up at the fast food place. Let the Product Manager and Marketing Managers work graveyards at the convenience store in the barrio. Maybe we'll all be happier.

DFO_REXX
DFO_REXX

I agree with your points about surveys; truly there's not enough information here and the results are almost certainly biased. One example is IT audit; having been on both ends of an IT audit auditors find it tedious to complete and the people being audited find it annoying. Still, the IT comments are spot on. The main complaint I hear from my colleagues in IT centers around how little respect IT tech support gets from business areas. We're seen as a necessary evil, an expensive group who should be cut, a group who is just supposed to do as we're told. We're not involved in decisions regarding how to write applications ("This is what the customer wants, just make it happen by next week"); data security is considered an afterthought ("Let's build the application and worry about security later"); and most galling, if something bad happens it's our fault but when we do something good it's just business as usual. This is particularly bad in tech support, not so bad in application support but still there. I've never been an IT director so I can't speak for that, but it seems reasonable to assume this goes up the ladder. Many IT directors worked their way up within the department, and when they get to the top and can't change the status quo it must be very frustrating.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Had you done so, you would know that Toni expressed the same reservations about the survey results that you did.

jonrosen
jonrosen

Car salesmen... It was actually a great job, the place I worked at... But then it also wasn't quite pure tech support. But trust me.. those guys are about the epitome of technologically clueless.

mbrello
mbrello

LOL - yeah ... at least the circuit boards didn't whine, complain and act like a 2-year old. ;o)

Professor8
Professor8

Having degrees does not necessarily mean you're able to work productively. Academia is not the real world. There are great founder-CEOs, and scientists and engineers and computer wranglers who dropped out of high school. As someone else pointed out, it's difficult to gauge how well someone else is actually performing, and how hard they're working, in a job you don't understand. That works both ways -- B-school bozos who don't understand software product design, and programmers who don't understand finance and PR. (And yet, an awful lot of B-school profs and students at every level, and executives, do seem averse to, you know, actual work, effort, digging deep, and care far too much about appearances.)

mhbowman
mhbowman

The common belief that proliferates business these days is that a good manager can manage anything. That's true, as long as said manager has come up through the ranks and REALLY understands what needs to happen, based on EXPERIENCE. Having non-technical people in charge of technical groups only leads to decisions being made based on politics, or the bottom line. The result is that the technical group is CONSTANTLY having to defend what they know to be right, and then having to clean up the ensuing mess when their advice isn't heeded. Case and Point: Too many times management makes the mistake of thinking that just because they never have any real issues, that anyone could do it. All the while negating the possibility that it's the result of knowledge, planning, and hard work.

me995
me995

As Director IT, I was called to the President's office and told to call MS and have EXCEL fixed so that his files would save. I noticed that he would removed the media before it had an opportu it to save. He wouldn't listen to reason... Too impatient. It was my fault! Just the tip of the iceberg...

jhxetc
jhxetc

IT jobs are growing quite well. Search for tech jobs at any large tech company, government agency or university and you'll find plenty of available jobs. Outsourcing has never been the issue with technology jobs skills have been the issue. It's a demanding field that requires you to not only keep up with trends but also to set them. Sure I get what you are saying, once upon a time a guy could make a living tearing apart a desktop PC and replacing a broken part but nowadays desktop PCs don't exist. Most data is served from the "cloud." In short, if the desktop PC technician didn't become a cloud services technician, then yeah, he's out of a job.

jkmartinez2
jkmartinez2

I couldn't agree more with this. The United States has crippled a vast portion of the market that could have a major impact on the economy by allowing companys to outsource IT and hire people from overseas. This should be stopped and our own internal IT infrastructure rebuilt. The economy would grow quickly.

hippiekarl
hippiekarl

with 3 spare barrels and an asbestos glove (to swap them out when they started to glow orange)....that was my first full-time job and we ALL hated it (except for a few freaks). Whoever conducted the survey didn't get around to asking service members or veterans about 'most-hated jobs', I can tell.

Charles Bundy
Charles Bundy

Tho I swear there are times now that I can't wait to get home, get outdoors, and wield a powertool. Of course this is Fall mania talking, not itchy and 1000 degrees like you experienced! I guess my worst job was putting up hay on the family farm and hoeing tobacco.

xangpow
xangpow

I like how you said (or they) IT is a "necessary evil". Many times we have to explain why we have to spend thousands of dollars for upgrades. "Why? Because that how much it is going to cost. I dont put the price of this stuff they do. Now get it or fail." Yeah I wish we could say that. lol Sometimes I wonder if janitors have better jobs, at least people somewhat understand plumbing. Try to explain networking to someone that barely understand computers. "You know what, I dont know what you are saying. Just make it work and hurrry up. We are already late as it is." That's when you say "I hate my job."

sissy sue
sissy sue

One of the most trying jobs I had was at a training/HR software development organization. The IT team would be drawn into hours of meetings where the psychologists would babble on about what to call a widget on the interface. The IT team had no input except to sit there, bored, listening to this nonsense. Apparently, it never occurred to management that the psychologists should battle it out amongst themselves and only draw IT in when they had "finally" made a decision. As you might guess, the IT team drew many late hours implementing code because they were forced to spend their work hours in meeting after meeting.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

That's about how it feels sometimes. Your just around to clean up user messes and push a plunger through network pipes from time to time, and my favorite the "I had an error thingy so I pressed [OK], can you fix it?" guessing game. Ah.. good times.. But if something should break like a user's chosen background or icon layout; well, now your the most critical person in the building. Now, to go figure out why the network pipes are delivering excel files so slowly.. no other file types.. just Excel.. must be a Monday.

jkmartinez2
jkmartinez2

You are right that degrees do not necessarily indicate ability but it does show the drive and effort to gain an education to back your experience up. I worked very hard for a long time in the field before I went to college and got my degree. I graduated at 45 with my degree and I feel it was the icing on the cake that I put the effort forth to validate with college my ability I knew I had. Many companys won't even look at you without a degree. If you are starting your own company it does not matter to anyone but in the work force today it does matter.

Sterling chip Camden
Sterling chip Camden

I grew up in Gretna, between Danville and Lynchburg. I, too, worked in tobacco (pulling) from my youth. I got so sick of the stuff I was never tempted to start smoking .

Ed Woychowsky
Ed Woychowsky

I once saw a project cancelled because management thought that IT was trying to rip them off. The responce was; "No, we just bought new computers 10 years ago."

seanferd
seanferd

When I was in school, I couldn't believe some of the people taking some of the psych courses would be clinicians or therapists or counselors or researchers. Turns out they were business management and marketing types.

sissy sue
sissy sue

I wanted to add that this took place during the dot.com boom. To add insult to injury, the IT people were stacked 3 to a cubicle. I couldn't help being amazed that this organization treated such marketable and knowledgeable people in such a shoddy fashion.

Professor8
Professor8

Sure, it's about the best of MSFT's miserable offerings, but there are other spread-sheet programs out there. Dump it and get some real work done. Or, they could simply transfer the data as text files with tab-separated fields (and dump the extraneous B-school bozo formatting along the way; win win!).

tinareidrowe
tinareidrowe

probably the MS validation add-in. Just remove it and see excel speed-up ;-)

HypnoToad72
HypnoToad72

Convincing people what they think they need is tops. And noticing things like fads, and other aspects of "the herd principle" - even by those who claim they are "individuals", devout followers of Ayn Rand, et cetera...

seanferd
seanferd

The janitor can complain all he wants about people flushing things which are contraindicated for flushing, and someone in power might listen, but how do you enforce any rules on people who don't care if they break their necessaries? OTOH, a case can be made for changing to different file formats when one is breaking the pipes, but the chances that this is taken as the good idea over re-plumbing (temporarily, or better, permanently) the pipes is slim.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

It's not like a janitor gets to decide on the crap going through the pipes now, is it? As an information septician, the janitor is definitely able to grade the crap in orders of crappiness... but that doesn't mean he gets to stick his nose up over substandard crap. The quality of crap depends entirely on the asses of users and their managers.