IT Employment investigate

Sanity check: Five things that suck about working in IT

Working in IT is one of the world's most challenging jobs -- and not always in a good way. Here are five reasons why working in IT can really suck sometimes.

Working in IT is one of the world's most challenging jobs -- and not always in a good way. Here are five reasons why working in IT can really suck sometimes.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The reality show America's Toughest Jobs debuts on Monday. Contestants will be logging, oil drilling, building bridges, and bullfighting. All of those jobs are rough and flashy and that stuff makes for good television, but if you want to talk about the toughest jobs in America then I think IT deserves a place on the list.

I often tell people that working in IT is one of the toughest jobs in the world, and TechRepublic is here to make it a little easier for the 10 million IT pros on the planet. There's often not a lot of sympathy for IT as a hard job because IT workers are typically well paid, and it is a desk job, after all. So, I've put together the following list of five things that can make working in IT tortuous at times.

See also: 10 dirty little secrets you should know about working in IT

5. You get a lot of fingers pointed at you

When error messages pop up and system outages occur, employees and managers quickly start pointing fingers at IT and the pressure is intense to get things fixed quickly to keep users from losing productivity. That's part of the job and you have to always be prepared for it. In fact, some IT pros even get an adrenaline rush from this type of high-pressure stakes.

The problem is that IT pros hear loud and clear when things aren't working, but they rarely get much appreciation during the other 99% of the time when systems are running smoothly.

4. People assume you're an expert in all things tech

When you're an IT worker, non-techies tend to assume that you know everything about all tech subjects. For example, if you're a help desk technician you get questions about how the company's Web site is built. And if you're a Java developer you can expect to field questions about how to deal with spam and spyware on an employee's machine.

There are obviously tactful ways to handle this, but many IT pros can't help but get a little frustrated by this, or even feeling a little inadequate. Worse, because you're a techie, a lot of your co-workers will come to you for advice on buying PCs, digital cameras, and TVs. Some will even ask you to fix their PC for free or help troubleshoot a problem with their cable modem.

3. You have to continually re-train, on your own dime

I think it's fair to say that no profession on earth is changing faster than the IT field right now and that's not likely to change any time soon. The pace of development and innovation in hardware and software products is staggering. As a result, the knowledge that it takes just to keep your current job is always growing and morphing, and IT pros have to take responsibility for their continuing education or risk having their skills and knowledge become obsolete within a few short years.

This is a constant struggle. The big challenge is that many companies don't officially recognize this problem, and so IT pros have to use free resources like TechRepublic to stay current, or pay for training out of their own pockets. In the past, TechRepublic surveys have shown that over 50% of IT pros pay for their own training.

2. The hours are long and irregular

Lots of jobs in the knowledge economy require long hours, so it's not unique that many IT professionals -- from developers to administrators to systems integrators -- have to work overtime on a regular basis. However, what does set IT apart is the scattered irregularity of those hours. Most IT workers are always on call, or are at least part of an on-call rotation, in case critical systems go down during off-hours.

In addition, many IT pros have tasks that they need to do when there aren't as many users on the system. That means coming in early to run backup routines or staying late to update an application or patch a server after most of the users have logged off at the end of the day.

1. The job market is tumultuous and in transition

During the late 1990s, people flooded into IT, chasing the promise of $65K/year jobs that were going unfilled because of the lack of qualified candidates. IT professionals who were already in the field could hop jobs and get significant pay raises. IT pros were in demand. But, it didn't last. The dot com implosion and the wrap up of the Y2K fixes meant that a lot of tech jobs disappeared.

Since then, the off-shore outsourcing phenomenon and the H1B visa issue have put further strain on the IT job market in the U.S. and abroad. Many IT professionals run the risk of building their skills, experiences, and their careers, only to have their jobs shipped overseas to save costs. That means IT professionals have to be particularly adept at managing their own careers in order to avoid being unemployed or underemployed.

For the flip side of this argument, tune in next week for  "Five things that make it great to work in IT."

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

233 comments
rdkiefer
rdkiefer

IF you think it sucks working in IT... you should try selling IT. Selling IT sucks the brown hole big time.

jsds
jsds

I work in IT and agree 2 are legit: 2. The hours are long and irregular 3. You have to continually re-train, on your own dime The rest are just a bunch of whining on your part. Especially "1. The job market is tumultuous and in transition." Oh, cry me a river. How'd you like to work in manufacturing instead? Jobs in Healthcare and IT are consistently in the highest demand.

sarika.sakpal
sarika.sakpal

I think it was a good idea to have this one before you wrote about "Five things that make it great to work in IT"... Cant wait...

roslevichm
roslevichm

True True... what also sucks about the irregular hours are that I'm salaried at 40 hours a week, but I put in well over that on some weeks... and there's no overtime for IT here... but yet I get told when I work 8-4 and leave at 4 that I shouldn't be so eager to leave at 4... there's no incentive to put in extra hours, and I'm not obligated to stay... yet they expect me to.

rajesh.mathur
rajesh.mathur

When we talk about moving jobs offshore 'from US' and making job opportunities scarce, is not always true. Some jobs are sent to India, and some even move from India to other countries and techies there lose jobs. So, uncertainty doesn't have boundaries. Tech workers always feel it whether it is US or any other country. They are more prone of pink slip attacks.

swilsonw
swilsonw

The biological/medical field is changing faster than even the IT field. And has been doing so for last 50 years. The information growth in these field outstrips all other bodies of knowledge put together. They are more disciplined have developed means of dealing it with it. the concept of specialist is an example. They have used it so effectively that no-one would think of asking their podiatrist about cancer. In the IT field I often see silly ads for an IT specialist, but when I check the skills required they are pretty generic. We can't even use the word specialist effectively.

jkameleon
jkameleon

Job market is not tumultuous, it's in long term decline. Trends are clear, there's tumult here. What really bothers me in IT profession is the amount of snake oil it contains and hype which surrounds it.

vze32sxm
vze32sxm

Five things? Try five hundred. Unlike say the medical or legal profession years of experience are disrespected instead of respected; from the 90s onward when companies struggle you are no longer a critical resource but an easily replacable, cost center commodity; and, this last sore point has always been the case from time immemorial - many, without taking the time to get to know you, cruelly dismiss you as a geek whether you are or not. My enthusiasm was crushed by a young lady one time with her remark "you're in IT?...that isnt a very creative career". I went into sales support to prolong my career but even then you're largely treated like a flunky /towel boy by your "teammates" Bottom line: I never, ever, ever recommend IT as a long term career to anyone unless they are a masochist.

SRRY
SRRY

After 18 yrs - it is just a little better than my wife.

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

...IT is far from alone in experiencing many of these issues: Tens of thousands of people connected to the mortgage industry have lost their jobs with no real prospects of getting back into the industry. I had an acquaintance who was a podiatrist that would field questions ranging from what drug is better for X ailment to information on specific diseases. Nurses, civil servants and certain types of laborers can work long, unpredictable hours. Several job types require ongoing education in order to maintain necessary certifications (education, project management, etc). That being said, there are some real issues facing the IT industry that don't seem to be getting addressed on a wide enough scale to effect improvement. Some of these are: 1). Visa/outsourcing issues (I have no moral objection to getting services for less money; as I do it in my personal life routinely. However, I do have a moral objection when fictitious claims are used in order to undercut an entire economic sector...if you want to drive down salaries, say so. I still won't like the practice, but I'd at least respect the frankness.) 2). Eligibility for reimbursement for training (at a few former employers, only professional certification training that was reimbursable was pertaining to 'core' functions; such as CPA for a Big 4 Agency or nursing certs for health care...patently unfair practice, in my opinion...indicative of other IT issues in business world) 3). Governmental/Judiciary understanding of IT (I dare say that the IT community is woefully underrepresented in the judicial and legislative branches of government---which impacts the rulings rendered and laws passed) 4). Environmental impact of IT (IT could easily become the target of environmental protection and/or energy consumption advocates) All that considered, I still wouldn't say it sucks to work in IT. Actually, quite the opposite. In only a handful of industries do you get the chance to experience the wonder that is human advancement first-hand; and IT is probably the most accessible of those industries (aeronautics, medical research, etc). The accountant in finance, tools notwithstanding, is pretty much doing the same exact work that an accountant in finance was doing in 1908; who was doing pretty much the same work as an accountant in 1808. There are only so many ways you can make ASSETS = LIABILITIES + EQUITY different and exciting (actually, one might argue there are no ways...but I'm trying to be somewhat kind). No offense, but I have two words for a profession like that: keep it! Want a job that truly sucks, be the vertically challenged clown in a circus following around the pachyderms. That, my friends, is the epitome of the term 'crappy job'.

SRRY
SRRY

After 18 yrs - it is just a little better than my wife.

britnat
britnat

I.T. is only for people who enjoy 'riding the tiger'. if you want a 'safe' job, take up something like accounting.

senju
senju

I like working with WAN/LAN and servers. I dont mind working long hours and patch servers on saturday morning. What gives me the biggest stress is the Helpdesk guys (which our outsourced) suddenly quits and a new guy comes in. No matter how many great documents you write, Helpdesk still needs your full support for about 3 months until they get the hang of things. The problem is some quit just when they are starting to get the hand of things. Since I have so much other tasks to do during the day, it is hard to keep getting bothered by Helpdesk on stupied issues. It is like teaching PC101 all over again. Also, I do not manage Helpdesk. I only support them. If I could manage them, I would be sure they commit for at least 2 years.

herlizness
herlizness

(a) same stuff, new name syndrome (b) nothing is documented reasonably (c) whatever you need to do a given job there's someone in the chain who doesn't want to give it to you (d) too many people obsessed with the security of things with no value whatsoever (e) the genetic disposition of IT people to reflexively say "no" to anything and everything I'm fine with long hours, training time, pointed fingers, assumed knowledge and a volatile job market; just give me some people with a positive attitude and an honest interest in producing worthwhile technology and all is well ... but all is not well.

Antonioo
Antonioo

I work in a place where all five are true and the users have complete control in how any IT project or task us done. It is unbelievably frustrating.

reisen55
reisen55

You can NEVER be confident in your job. I have seen other articles around about how to protect your job, how to impress your boss - etc. But when an outsourcing firm comes in, NOTHING IS IMPORTANT. You have NO job security despite your best efforts to perform, to educate, to work with your staff and end users. Everything means NOTHING because management is fixated on 1/4 salary in Banagalore and zero health care benefits. IT in America is dead.

MagicTom
MagicTom

First thing, second, third, fourth and fifth things that make It suck, it's people that think that older experience specialists are less knowledgeable than young kids starting whithout experience.

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

What do they do there?

logan_stoddard
logan_stoddard

Boy, I can really relate to Items #1, #3, #4, and #5. However, I do not really remember working too too late on projects or assignments unless a hurricane was approaching. I do agree that IT has changed unfortunately for the worse. I too am having to pay for my certifications out of pocket, and at the end of the day, everyone on the planet seems to think that you will know the ins and the outs of all software applications on earth and be able to get the computer fixed in a matter of minutes with little explanation of what the problem with the computer really is. Has anyone ever heard a client say "The computer is broken, please fix it?" Did you then ask the client to go into more detail about the problem with little, if at all any clarification? I can surely sympathise with techs out there that are having trouble finding the right job. I recently applied for a job with a company. I turned in all my paperwork, took a drug test, and received my offer letter with salary, just to find out not even a week later that the contract was being cancelled.

pccoder28
pccoder28

Article hits the mark, yes. What annoys me as a developer is change for change's sake only: new versions of what I already have don't really offer anything truly new--my clients are forced to upgrade for compatibility reasons but there is no real new value added by the new products. Vendors such as Microsoft, make out like bandits, but we all know that the new stuff is really the old stuff in a new wrapper. Tell me, what is it that Visual Studio 2008 REALLY provides that Visual C++ 6.0 did not provide? Is SQL Server 2008 really going to impact my bottom line in a way that 2000 could not? And, don't even get me started on Vista vs. XP/Linux/2000. Anyhow, the old stuff works better...old code is like well-aged fine wine in the real world.

mediamaniac
mediamaniac

This extends to people OUTSIDE of work as well. People seem to see the words "helpdesk", IT, et al., in their head and automatically assume you are a combination of TRON and Einstein!

j3hess
j3hess

Working with self-important whiners with an outsized evaluation of their own contributions/skills who think their little grievances are really big deals? OK, ok. I overdid it a bit! IT attracts people who enjoy technical challenges; once you get their you often find that people, with their expectations and ignorance, are the biggest challenge. This may lead to stomach aches. When I was in technical services, I found the best way to handle the customers was by setting their expectations. Think about it - something is wrong in this complex black box of a system they know little about. They depend on it. They are nervous. They have little or no basis for evaluating your performance. Are you treating them right, ignoring them, or taking them to the cleaners? So I tried to set up their expectations in advance - what were the probably causes, how long it usually took to fix, what sometimes made things take longer, whether they wanted an estimate before I did the work, what kinds of guarantees they got. This was a retail environment - you'll have to reconfigure this advice for a corporate environment. But you're smart - many of you have already figured it out. Those who haven't, well, maybe you can ask Jason to start a thread on that topic once you're done venting. Speaking of venting, my last big beef with an IT worker was with someone who refused to recognize my knowledge. I'm not an IT professional, but I've worked with personal computers since before he was born, written some programs, built some systems, and done a smattering of reading. He kept wanting to investigate possible causes that I had already checked. I had to do the research on the application's problems, because the IT staff wouldn't. Sometimes IT staff just don't listen. I don't know how many times I've called a helpdesk and said "A, B, and not C", very precisely describing the situation, and get back "Is it A?".

TLComp
TLComp

:) I love my work. And yes, I deal with everything you all mention as being negative. People actually pay me to answer all of their fun little questions. I just make sure that management knows what it is that people need me to do. That way management makes the decision as to what they are going to pay me to do.

TLComp
TLComp

:) I love my work. And yes, I deal with everything you all mention as being negative. People actually pay me to answer all of their fun little questions. I just make sure that management knows what it is that people need me to do. That way management makes the decision as to what they are going to pay me to do.

cbellur
cbellur

I don't know about the bad job market for IT jobs. I'm in the Silicon Valley, and it seems there are a lot of jobs here. I haven't been looking seriously for years, but I go on dice every once in a while to see what's out there and how much I should be compensated. I can say, we make offers to candidates, and about half of them turn them down because they have something better elsewhere. Also, we are flooded with resumes that look too good to be true, and it ends up that they are too good to be true. We have a plethora of H1-B contractors looking for jobs by jamming as many buzzwords as they can fit on their 8 page resume. Then you ask about something -- oh someone else on the team did that; oh I did that 6 years ago (but it was listed as something you did 3 months ago!). I guess if you are a BS artist or liar, it may be tough to get hired if developers are doing the interviewing. I figure, once in a while they get a hands-off manager or project manager that buys into the hubris (oooh HIBERNATE, STRUTS, SPRING -- I don't know whadit mean!), and they eventually get a job for another 3-6 months, until they F things up so bad, they have to be let go because they do more harm than good. I think the offshoring is more of an issue back in 2000-2003. By about 2004 things picked up again. Did you know a developer in Bangalore is now paid more than a developer in the U.S.? Add to that the fact that India, China and all of these upcoming nations have THEIR OWN needs for IT people. Maybe it is entry level jobs that are most affected. I just know that it is hard to hire people, and easy to find a new job. One thing -- my company has been very good and competitive about raises, so I have no reason to go anywhere. I will admit, salaries have kind of stagnated since the .com meltdown. But I have to say, there doesn't seem to be a shortage of jobs in IT now, at least in the SF/SJ Bay area. I think #1 is not really true anymore. Sure it's not like 1998, but it is very possible to get a job, at least in the SF Bay Area.

wrightnowtech
wrightnowtech

OK. These things aren't anything new for anyone in this career! Hurry about and tell me why I should love my career before I go back to school to become a plumber!

major.malfunction
major.malfunction

In places I have worked, they assumed that IT took care of the business contingency plan of how to handle things if the building fell to the ground. First off, you shot down my plan because it cost money, remember that? And I'm only in charge of technology, so why am I in charge of the BUSINESS continuity plan? I'm a nuts and bolts and wire guy! Why am I the only one wondering how all the employees will get paid if there is no way of transferring payroll? Who outranks who on the heirarchy chart so we know who should actually be in charge during an emergency in the absence of the CEO, etc? Sadly, I've heard of other companies doing the exact same things to their IT dept. as if we have magic wands of how to actually RUN the company in case of emergency! Another great one is to tell the customer they can have technology features x, y, and z AND actually sign on the dotted line for it! But in reality, they either haven't even been INVENTED yet or maybe only discussed once in passing at the water cooler one day. Repeat this scenario times 50 and always have the sales guy say "I thought we had that feature?". And if it can't be done CORRECTLY and TIMELY, its always IT's FAULT that they made sales look stupid to the customer!! It just seems that the more technology becomes involved in the business process, the less respect and understanding that IT needs to be involved from the BEGINNING there seems to be.

roxroe
roxroe

All the companies want the perfect IT person: old enough have some experience, all the perfect appropriate certs and degrees for whatever they think up next and this person is always no older than 35. Any older and you are labeled "overqualified" or "not flexible enough" or "will want too much money" (without asking them) etc. Even if you aren't applying for a new job - after age 40 or so suddenly you have to work a lot harder to get training and to get heard. All our training budget went to the under 35 crowd this year. I actually had one of the 30 somethings say to a vendor in a technical meeting that I had been there so long I was "part of the furniture" - I guess she was trying to explain why I had to be present - because she doesn't know much? At 50 I am invisible unless the servers are down. I watch time and again the hiring process - hire the youngest - not the person who has the experience, track record or would be able to make a real improvement in the technical staff due to real life skills. It is really sad how shortsighted these people are. What would happen if all industries threw away the best and brightest on their 45th birthday - ?

scalliwag
scalliwag

I have been at the same company for 9 years but in that time it has changed hands twice. Each time it got worse. Lousy 3% across the board raises and it didn't pay well to begin with. At least it used to be a good place to be. But now it has just become a political battlefield that talk a good talk but don't get anything productive done. These fools in management bounce to other jobs every few years. Once your company starts going downhill you may want to keep your rez out there on Dice etc. They always promise they have plans to make it better and wait around etc. Unless you were part of the reason the company started devolving, don't waste your time. That would be a good story, how to spot when it's time to leave. My clue should have been when we became publicly traded. :(

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

The overtime exemption for IT is very narrow and many companies that apply it are doing so simply because they think that if you are salaried you are exempt. They are wrong. http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/helpdesk/?p=324 You and your co-workers may be entitled to back pay and cumulative overtime. Contact your local labor relations office.

InfoSecAuditor
InfoSecAuditor

Just because off-shoring is happening in other countries doesn't make it any less true that jobs are becoming scarce. In fact, I think that your post actually does more to prove the original point. When you off-shore jobs (whether from the US or India), you reduce the amount of available jobs in your country.

Mr_Sprouts
Mr_Sprouts

We are a commodity, like electricity, noticed ONLY when broken! When users start their computers, applications, reports, print jobs, etc., they expect it to work. We have perfected our craft to the point of things nearly always accessible. We've spoiled our users, to the point that, we normally go unnoticed but, when we are, we're hero's when we save their bacon, or swine, when things don't work.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

help desk in the trade is seen as a starter role. To me it could easily be a profession all by itself ( along side dev, admin and hardware). But it isn't, as soon as someone gets good at it, they either move on under their own steam, or get 'promoted' out anyway. If every new starter bugs you, your documentation can't be that good can it? A wee story to illustrate. When NT3.51 was shutdown, it used to come up with a little dialogue ( no ok or anything required) stating it was writing it's cache to the hard disk. Basically it was a splash to explain the delay. I didn't mention it in the reboot procedure, because I'd dismissed it as irrelevant. Got me a phone call at 2:00 am that... You don't just throw procedures and scripts at them. You prove them. It's probably a right pain and I'm sure you've got more than enough on your plate, but it might be wise to spend a half hour or so with new starters, though in my opinion they should be going up their chain of command before they get near you. I'm thinking tech support management are taking the p1ss out you more than the techs....

ddzhong
ddzhong

People who work hard to get things done are less appreciated than those who talks a lot BS and pretending to know more!

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

you have to help them. A bit of patience on your own part, might help them. Even if it's only, I can't help you with that let me pass you to second line, or even third. I've done all three and to be quite honest the last thing you need in troubleshooting and fault diagnosis is any one (including ourselves) being sure where the problem is before it's even been investigated. Ther's nowhere near enough emphasis on troubleshooting in IT as there should be. Rule one though is. Make no assumptions, which of course includes, assuming you know what you are talking about. :p

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

end of Y2K and the dot com bubble bursting that I've seen in the UK, is then if you had (or more often claimed you had) the tech skills you were in. A lot of companies got burnt during the period and being management immediately shifted all the blame to us. So now there's a lot more empahsis on soft skills and business knowledge. Neither a bad thing in my opinion. But those newly arrived in the game get caught in the catch-22 of no experience = no job. For those studying now, studying and passing no matter to what level will rarely be enough. You need to get some work under your belt, even non IT is better than nothing.

InfoSecAuditor
InfoSecAuditor

I just completed 40 hours of travel (SYD to MIA the long way around, don't ask...) to return home to a plumbing problem at 9PM. I had to spend 2 hours working on a quick fix before we could get the professional in the next day to fix it. To be honest with you, looking at what a plumber has to deal with day-in and day-out, I'd rather be in IT. YMMV.

kkopp
kkopp

I think that the key is this: Do you love what you do? If thats a yes then stick with it. This is a field that many of us share a love/hate relationship with. My biggest reason for being in this field is that I have a knack for this stuff. You do this for the love of the challenge and the rush when you're able to finish it to your satisfaction. I once talked one of my store managers through resolving a Spyware issue. He said, "That was a rush! Now I know why you do this stuff, but I couldn't do it every day."

dcarr@winning.com
dcarr@winning.com

I have worked in many organizations where the Manager of IT, the Director of IT and/or the CIO were totally incompetent. Had a CIO who did not know how to add a shortcut to his desktop, or before we had optical mice that the mouse had a ball, and how to remove and clean the rollers!!!!! Same organization had a director who liked to "manage by magazine". Everything he saw in a magazine was something we should and needed to implement. Did not matter that it was not right for our organization, or just "plain would not work". If we told him that it wasn't appropriate, his answer was that "we were lazy" or stupid, and other hideous things. He was like a Nike commercial "Just do It". The when it did not work, it was of course "our" fault. I spent over 25 years in IT, and finally went out on my own. Users are there to be helped, but there is nothing that will help idiotic management, other than to replace them with someone who "has a clue". That will solve more issues than all others combined.

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

I'll be 30 in a few months and if I don't have a 10 year plan to either get out of IT or get into a high(er)-stress IT management position, I'm screwed. This definately sucks about IT. In any other profession, the longer you've been doing the same job, the more valuable your wisdom and experience become. In IT, you're seen as a dinosaur who has obsolete skills. If you don't look like the guy from the IBM commerical: Skinny, white, male, black plastic glasses, and 20-something, your chances in IT aren't good at all. On top of looking like that, you have to know the latest and greatest in everything and be certified in all of them. On top of that, you work for peanut shells (peanuts are too expensive). In the future, the best place for IT professionals--young and old--will be IT service providers. Since IT *IS* the business, they will invest more heavily in their staff as far as training and compensation is concerned. The old "dinosaurs" will train and manage the greenhorns. My next job will be at an IT service provider because I see more and more businesses abandoning in-house IT because all it is to them is an expense anyways. I advise all of you to make that your next career move. At an IT service provider, IT is a source of revenue more than it is an expense.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

people in other industries would have moved in to management and away for the coal face. That is the key I think...move up not side to side.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Be thankful you got that. My last raise wasn't even 1%.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

these management types that bounce to other jobs!

reisen55
reisen55

I use the analogy that users and a company should consider scrapping their computers if they are upset with them and putting all those IBM Selectrics back. Our systems have totally infiltrated American and global business. This is actually frightening power if you think about it, so WE, as a smart part of this community (as opposed to Bangalore) ARE vital to just about everything these days. I make sure my client's systems function as needed, not as I want them too, but as the client needs them too. There is a big difference in this attitude. My job is to match what I want to do with their over-arching requirement of what THEY NEED TO DO. And that makes a good relationship. Secondly, I build in redundancy all over, as much as I can, so that when things do go wrong, I can catch and repair fast, sometimes without the client even knowing I was active. Caught a remote computer down last night through remote control and made proper adjustments at 6:30 am from home without any interferance with the client's routine at all. Beautiful thing. And you can always have your handy COMPLAINT TO BALLMER form ready to hand out. LOL.

wrightnowtech
wrightnowtech

I agree with you. To find your own personal rewards helps alot. What else has helped me with job satisfaction is getting away from huge corporations. I contract for smaller companies. When the e-mail is down and I fix it, they appreciate me alot more then when I was in a corporation. When I step in and fix a software issue in 15 mionutes that their software vendor couldn't fix after 2 days, I get to be the hero again. And its a rush for sure.

snideley59
snideley59

I run a high performance compute cluster. My clients are Masters and PhDs in mechanical and electrical engineering, None of them have any aspirations as to management. Nor do I. And many of us (including myself) are post 45. The two career paths are completely unrelated. As are the skill sets. It has struck me many times in the past that when you make a good engineer a manager, two things happen. 1. You lose a good engineer. 2. You gain a lousy manager. I'll stay technical. Give me the coal face rather than the meeting face any day. And by the way, I like my manager. However, he would be no better at my job than I would be at his.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

People in other industries don't move away from the coal face unless they are out of the ordinary. But you've struck a glancing blow with your comparison. Most industry recognizes that production and management are different career tracks. GM, Ford, and Peabody Coal do not expect the average worker to move into senior management or even middle management. Most line workers don't even rise to the rank of supervisor. Why, then, is IT different? IT [u]is[/u] an industry, even though we are considered white-collar. People both inside and outside IT automatically assume that the the service tech wants to move up through lead tech to service manager to IT manager, [i]even though the skill sets for the tech and the manager are almost completely different[/i]. This failure to understand that moving into management is not career progression for many techies, but a career [u]change[/u], leads to the "over 40, over-the-hill" attitude from management both outside and inside IT. It also results in the waste of years of life experience as the young guns reinvent the wheel.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

You could never bill for that 6:30 am unless you informed the client that the problem existed in the first place. Does the client not have the right as a customer to know you went in and corrected a problem? - another question for another time! For example my webhosts do not get away with any down time or errors without me knowing. All my webserver are monitored 24/7 by a system that checks connection stats (Uptime, loadtime,latency,search time and so on) from three different ISP's across the country. I can verify and prove if a system is down or not working as expected no matter what the time of day or night. Easy with all the reports and historical data!