I blogged about this several months ago and I would like to reopen this topic for discussion. Let me know how you maintain a life and work in IT. I am truly interested.
Several months ago, I hunkered down to study for my certification upgrade to Windows 2003 and SQL Server 2005. I spent 70+ hours of study and labs to prepare for this certification on top of my 40+ hour a week job. And did I mention I have a wife and three small children? The question I keep asking myself is can you have a life and work in the IT field? The answer is yes! How? Well here is the big secret:
Control the things you can control.
I know, profound isn't it? Yes, we all have different situations and work in different environments. And sadly, there is no 3-step plan of how to have a life in IT. But you can take charge and choose to have the closest thing possible to the life you want, just by focusing on controlling the things you can control.
What factors tend to prevent you from spending as much time with your family/golf clubs/ friends/ vintage car as you'd like to spend? Take a look at the list below and see if any of these challenges are getting in the way of your life outside of work. Then try out some of the suggested solutions. Even being able to make one of these changes can have a great impact on your life and your peace of mind. And remember- don't try to change the things beyond your control. Let those things go and focus on whats doable.
Emerging Technologies- One of the biggest challenges we face is constantly changing technology. We are in a field that requires us to constantly learn and adopt new technologies on top of maintaining already existing old technologies (and keeping up with the day-to-day responsibilities of our position). It can be overwhelming at times but I find that the best way to handle the pressure is to create a schedule. You can create your schedule that best suits your needs. I for example, take one quarter per year to learn existing technologies. This works for me do to the nature of my business model. For you it might be one day per month, per week, per year. The whole point is that maintaining a schedule allows you breathing room to learn and keep growing.
What I can provide for you are ways to have a semblance of a life in the IT industry. You may not be able to do all of them but even if you can do one of them, you will have gained something by reading this blog. Keep in mind that I do not always practice what I preach but I am trying as well to maintain a life. Unfortunately, I do not always succeed but when I do the reward is fantastic.