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  • #2290891

    Real Value of IT Work?


    by packratt ·

    Recently I’ve been pondering a lot about the real true value of what I do for a living, that being IT of course. When I say real value, I mean, what can I point out to my children and say “look, dad did this and it helps people and is worthwhile because ______.”

    I’m asking myself (and all of you) this not just because I think IT is being killed in the US as a potential career path, not just because business views treats us as a cost center and annoyance instead of an asset… But because I always wanted to help people and make a difference in this world, not contribute to it’s problems and I wonder now if a career in IT doesn’t do more harm than good in the big picture.

    Seriously, I wonder… what have I done in this career other than increase efficiency and thus help line the pockets of already very wealthy people with even more wealth by allowing them to do the same things with fewer workers and thus put other people out of work who needed that money more?

    As you can tell, I’m looking for more substantive answers other than “I saved my company x dollars” or “I helped a user figure this out.” or “I got our network to run more efficiently.” I’m looking for something of real value, something you could point out to anyone and explain in real tangible terms how your job made a real difference.

    Is IT truely just a cost center, not just in the eyes of business, but also in terms of social worth? What real true value to the world do you think you have as an IT worker that makes it worthy of holding on to or sacrificing so much of your life for?

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    • #3317090


      by dc_guy ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      There are many lines of work in which it is virtually impossible for the majority of the workers to “make a difference” on the scale you’re talking about. IT is one of them.

      The average software engineer can apply all the principles of good engineering that he knows and build reliable, user-friendly software that will help his company prosper. That doesn’t sound like the scope you’re looking for. But remember that at the same time you’re making life easier for your end users by reducing their headaches and minimizing down time. That is a worthy goal.

      We can’t all change the world but most of us have the ability to make a few people happier and help them get home to their children a bit earlier every night. That’s worth being proud of.

      As for enriching the corporation, at least you’re helping the U.S. economy grow, which is more likely to improve the lives of a few of its citizens than if it were shrinking.

      But just because you can’t change the world the moment you start your IT career doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to do it eventually. It’s that old “paying your dues” thing. I spent most of my life in the construction and support of rather unremarkable software that was not well deployed. But eventually I got into training, which is a very fulfilling activity whether it’s second-graders or adult software engineers; you really are making a difference.

      Then finally I got into process improvement, and I feel like I’m one of the few people who is struggling to change the IT world.

      But I’m in my sixties. You can get there, you just have to be really patient.

      • #3317067

        Over 10 Years

        by packratt ·

        In reply to Patience

        Yes, I’ve been at this for over 10 years now so I don’t know if it’s a matter of patience.

        I think it’s more a question of, in the real scheme of things, what could I offer to people in need that they could use? My skills will not house a homeless person, they will not feed someone who needs food, they will not heal someone who is ill, etc… My skills serve no real purpose in the scheme of things, it seems artificial.

        To the point, my skills increase the efficiency of business, as you correctly point out. However, this increase of efficient and profit margin result in more people being laid off and becoming unemployed as this is ultimately what businesses have done with those efficiency gains (do more with less)… All that work has gone straight to the CEO’s pocket, a person who needs that money the least out of all the people affected by these changes I’ve participated in making.

        (not to mention that those increases in efficiency are actually causing the people left behind in wakes of layoffs to work longer hours, not shorter ones.)

        Yes, perhaps too that my efforts in a very small way contribute to the growing US economy, however we see there that it’s growing for the already wealthy, but shrinking for the poor and working class who have seen costs rise faster than wages. So that contribution as well seems to be more detrimental than contributory.

        (does the social construct called economy exist to serve the needs of people or do people exist to serve the needs of the economy? Which is more valuable and worthy of saving or helping, a person or a business?)

        Yes, there was a time that my skills did help people who most needed it. I trained and mentored many who needed jobs and I enabled them to work in the IT field when that was a viable option. Now that the field is barren I do not teach others these skills because it’s more detrimental than good.

        But, perhaps you have given me an unintentional idea, maybe teaching is a good way to help others. Not technology, but something more basic like math or science. But I’m not sure even that makes a difference these days as the public school system in the US forces you to teach to tests and to learn trades… not to develop critical thinking skills and how to learn.

        • #3317023

          The best teacher…

          by salamander ·

          In reply to Over 10 Years

          …I ever had was a teacher in public high school, an English teacher. He made a very powerful impression on me because he did teach us to think logically. We also had an excellent chemistry teacher who inspired a great many of my friends to go into the natural sciences. Our art teacher was exemplary.

          Admittedly, this was in a rural area. Where I grew up, there are no private school alternatives, and everybody goes to the same place: farm kids, the kids of manufacturing workers, and professionals’ kids. Classes were small, less than 25 kids. Sure, the books were not the newest, and there wasn’t any air conditioning, but the teachers were creative, and they cared about us.

          I obviously can’t speak to all public schools, and I’m sure that there are problems in various systems, but that was my experience.

          If you have a genuine desire to teach, you may want to look into this milieu.

        • #3298000


          by aceskaraoke ·

          In reply to The best teacher…

          Packratt don’t be too hard on yourself or expect too much from your career.

          I look at a job/career as what I do to fund what I want to do. The fact that I’m training to be in computers (which I love) is just a perk. Doing an honest day’s work and collecting your pay, there’s no dishonor in that. You should be proud to do work that not everybody can and that you do it well.

          You have the power to change the world in what you do wherever you are. Trading kindness and respect with others. Raising a family. Participating in your community. Being politically active. Discussing your views with your peers. Teaching others and learning yourself. All these things change and help shape the world. You don’t have to look for a cure for cancer to change and impact the world in a positive way.

          Don’t expect too much from yourself. Just do what you can and be a good person who cares about others.

          If everyone did, we would live in a changed world indeed.

        • #3318492


          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Perspective

          That was quite well-phrased, and more succinctly made some of the same points I tried to address elsewhere in this discussion. Good job, Aces.

        • #3344433


          by gabeap ·

          In reply to Perspective

          I could not have said it better.

        • #3344384

          Perspective Part II

          by worm farmer ·

          In reply to Perspective

          I’d like to add to this message and say Ditto. I get more satisfaction knowing that I am respected for WHO I am, rather than WHAT I am. Smarts, IQ, College Education…sure that matters for WHAT a person is, but in order for anybody to realize that you are out there to change the world, you must take a look at the world from inside yourself. Respect others and they will respect you.
          I know a hundreds of people who were laid off during the “Bad Economy” 2001-2003, many of my IT friends were out of work for months. They were smart, had years of IT, or software developing experience. Those who succeded at obtaining work during that period were not always the “Bosses friend of a friend” but were those who know how to treat and respect others.


          There are 2 rules for success in life:
          1- Don’t tell anyone everything you know.

        • #3344371

          IT Valuable

          by pstorli ·

          In reply to Perspective

          Would you say a career in television is worthless? That actors have no purpose? Well, ITs global reach is even greater than television and movies. I have written several programs that affect thousands of people, if not millions. My software makes what they are trying to do easier. We, as programmers, can affect the world in a way that no other technology can. We can and are having an impact on the world. It is how we use technology that determines if it is good or bad, not the technology itself.

        • #3326145

          Teaching is great

          by barbmac ·

          In reply to IT Valuable

          Teaching IT is a great career. As you rightly point out, education should not just be about passing exams and learning a trade or ‘job skills’. Many students hate school, and it is soul destroying to do something you hate for years. Generally, students love IT. Whether they eventually work in the industry or not, in IT classes they master skills that will be of use in virtually any working environment while having lots of fun, improving their own confidence and self respect. That is a job worth doing.

        • #3325940

          IT Burnout

          by mill3502 ·

          In reply to Teaching is great

          For the most part IT has lost it luster to me and as you pointed out I to began to ask what am I doing that changes things. And for a while I really thought about returning to school and changing my entire life. But challenges can still be a part of the IT world and instead of returning to school and sitting behind the desk I decided to return to school and be in front of the desk. I am still pursuing my current IT position but I am also teaching part-time at a local community college. It has given me new focus and the ability to face the duldrums of my current position. So I say find that outlet that lets you be creative and gives you a feeling of returning something to society. You will feel a lot better for it and you will not feel like you threw away your life.

        • #3326101

          Ease Isn’t All

          by phelms ·

          In reply to IT Valuable

          Doing things more efficiently means more than ease. In some cases it means being able to do something that would have otherwise been impossible, such as controlling massive amounts of air traffic.

        • #3344368

          a helpful quote…

          by networks ·

          In reply to Perspective

          …comes to mind! Earl Nightengale once quoted on a ‘self development’ tape series…”you are paid in direct portion for your ability to do the work, the demand for what you do, and the difficulty in replacing you…”

          For example, a janitor can be easily taught the cleaning skills. While the demand for a janitor may seem high [ assuming there were only a few ], there would exist little difficulty in replacing them, when compared to a ‘brain surgen’, who after many years of consentrated and competitive training and education, might receive several hundreds of thousands of dollars, for what he or she does, compared to the janitor at say 30 or 40k.

          Therefore, worth could be combined with level of service to others, through sacrifices for the benefit of others.

          I am too, a veteran of IT. Approximately 18 years devoted to this field, including teaching at several colleges and one institute of technology. I too am considering updating my credentials again. I am looking at Forensic Computer Crime and/or Security based certificates as a new venture to pursue going forward. I am 48 now, and with still a young family to raise, I must look at upgrading my skills, because I too feel a little stale with the IT/IS career.

          Our organization has global reach, but much of the infrastructure building is complete and fairly recent. As a Network Analyst, little more than maintaining the flock for most of the forseeable future.

          So, expand your horizons Packratt, because it should trigger a new joy to serve others, in what ever capacity you can achieve!

          All the best!!!

        • #3326125

          maybe a change of WHERE you do IT is needed

          by dkucharski1 ·

          In reply to Perspective

          you wrote:
          “I think it’s more a question of, in the real scheme of things, what could I offer to people in need that they could use? My skills will not house a homeless person, they will not feed someone who needs food, they will not heal someone who is ill, etc… My skills serve no real purpose in the scheme of things, it seems artificial.”
          Search out those organizations that DO THOSE THINGS and offer yourself up as a VALUABLE ASSET to them at a BARGAIN PRICE so they can use their funding to contribute the services they provide in a more efficient manner. If a charitable organization is enriched by your contribution, then that charity they provide can be looked upon as a very satisfying, if not impressive part of your compensation. It seems that while the corporate elite have forgotten how to share the wealth, there are many others that still can and do. SEEK them out! With all of the disaster relief being generated right now I know that there are charitable organizations that NEED good people willing to use their talents to help spread the wealth. Good Luck In the QUEST! it is a noble aspiration!!

        • #3326039

          IT can still be good

          by gambi ·

          In reply to maybe a change of WHERE you do IT is needed

          Hey packrat – keep your chin up. I think of similar things and the one thing that keeps me going is that I am helping others to achieve this goal.

          I think that dkucharski1 and hit the nail on the head for me – I may not be able to find a cure for cancer or any significant thing like that, but sure as jolly I can give those people the IT support that they can not do without in this era.

          So my name wont be on the list of people who discovered the cure for HIV or on the list of doctors etc who helped with any disaster relief or anything else (I suppose) but those people could not achieve those heights without people like you and me. As sad as it seems…

          We have more contribution that what alot of people think.

          Hold your head high because of IT.

        • #3326057

          Perfect Answer

          by barry_sage ·

          In reply to Perspective

          While reading Packrats post I was trying to formulate a meaningful reply. Then I read Aces and realised that the perfect reply was already there, and worded so well. I have moved through IT roles in several industries trying to find more meaning for my contribution. The reality is that most of your colleagues, including the CEO carry the same concerns, and make their contributions to the betterment of society in their own subtle ways, through social programmes, donation, empathy, kindness and political pressure.

        • #3325903

          You want meaning?

          by mitchlr ·

          In reply to Perspective

          AcesKaraoke (what a pseudonym!) nails it, for better or worse.
          If you want meaning, use your IT job to fund whatever it is you do for it. At work you’re just a mechanism to produce code, administer or support systems. Indispensible where you are and as likely as not smarter than the person you work for, you are unlikely to be promoted where you can threaten some idiot bean counter’s stock options.
          Thank the Lord that you have a job that’s at least mildly diverting and if you’re lucky one in which you don’t have to deal with “professional” managers too much.
          Look elsewhere for meaning and significance — your church, synagogue, tutoring, mentoring, making music, writing, or raising your kids (which ought to be first on the list) are where you ought to find your meaning.

          For perspective, think about what you would like to be the epitath on your tombstone:

          Here lies ITguy, RIP.
          He pounded code so Giganticorp could sell widgets more efficiently.

          You want that as a legacy? Thanks but no thanks. For right now, I do IT to fund my retirement account and feed my kids, but at some time (when I’m able to sock a bit more in savings or get the mortgage paid down) I’ll get the courage to jump ship and take a more meaningful career at half or a third of the pay.

          Oh, yeah. If you want meaning, try this: live well below your financial means. Fancy stuff costs losts of money and doesn’t add squat to ultimate significance, although it keeps you chained to the IT desk. Live simply, finance your house on a 15 year note, pay it off early, and you will buy yourself more freedom than fancy clothes and cars will ever mean.
          With a paid off mortgage, you might be able to take that more meaningful work at a third of what you’re making now, and still be able to sock some away for retirement.

          All the best to you!

        • #3326234

          Thanks Everybody and Packratt

          by aceskaraoke ·

          In reply to You want meaning?

          Thanx for all your great responses, and thanx Packratt for your honest query.

          I’ve been learning so much from all the regulars here in TechRepublic. I’m just glad TechRepublic is such a great resource for information, advice, and (most importantly) support for a lot of underrated, underappreciated, underpaid and/or underemployed IT professionals in some hard times which are forcing many to re-evaluate their career and life choices.

          P.S. mitchlr it’s not a pseudonym, it’s my business I’m in financing my return to school at ITT (18 years after high school) pursuing my passion for a computer intensive career. Karaoke’s been good to me, but now that the kids are starting to attend school full time, it’s time for daddy to get a ‘real’ job. I gotta free up more time to spend with the kids and more nights ‘fore my wife gives up on me.

          Keep the faith that what you want to achieve is never too late to accomplish, long as you’re willing to do the work.

        • #3326774

          No, thank you

          by packratt ·

          In reply to Thanks Everybody and Packratt

          Thanks for asking yourself the same questions and for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate it.

        • #3326859

          too simple?

          by re-invention ·

          In reply to You want meaning?

          I think what packratt was driving is not so easily dismissed. Of course, a pragmatic way around it is to look at a job or your work as a way to fund things you want to do, but that ignores the fact that you likely give 50% at least of all of your waking hours to this hollow vehicle for funding the areas of you life you consider more meaningful to yourself or society. There are also many small ways you can build meaning into your work, but again that does not provide some overarching value add to the world. For me, the only tangible benefit I can add to society as an IT manager for a large company is to continually teach employess and externals alike entrepreneurship and help push the evolution of how we get work accomplished. Hopefully, this helps us evolve faster towards working for ourselves, thus diffusing some of the enormous centralization of power and resources within huge multinational companies. It also aims to redefine work/employment and gear people for constant change so they have a chance to thrive (not just survive) into the future.

          Of course, I could be wrong…perhaps packratt just wanted to know that his work is meaningless dilbert-esque BS, and that’s fine as long as he squeezes in meaningful moment or two in his scant few hours of free time :-0

        • #3327636

          Thank you.

          by wtsantos ·

          In reply to You want meaning?


          Thanks for your words of wisdom!

        • #3344523

          packrat – time to volunteer

          by dirtylaundry ·

          In reply to Over 10 Years

          Seems as if you might need to look into volunteering your time and knowledge somewhere such as a blood drive outfit or local shelter or even your kids’ schools utilizing your skills to feel as if you are helping your fellow man. Tho do not overlook that there is a great deal of value and pride in being a father, husband, dad and provider to your family as too often this is taken for granted. I have felt as you have and left the corporate world to become a PA for a disabled person that needs both my personal care AND my computer skills while also providing an in-home pc tech service in my surrounding area. I do not make as much as I would if I had stayed in the business world, but then I have no family to provide for so I can take more liberties. Taking all this to mind, I’m sure there is a way to satisfy your obvious need for further meaning and impact in the world while simultaneously upholding the extremely valuable position and pricelessness of being a family man.

        • #3344434

          Dead on!

          by buschman_007 ·

          In reply to packrat – time to volunteer

          You have to look at this in a glass is half full type situation. I work in IT and while my 9-5 contribution to mankind might not be staggering, I volunteer my time on the weekends to my Animal rescue ( That is an extremely fulfilling activity. I take a portion of the money I make in IT and donate it to the rescue. I have asked my boss to sell things, like old printer cartridges and other things that we as a company no longer need. Those sales go to the rescue. Other workers in my office do similar things for their churches, fund raisers, and charities.

          I buy and sell more than any other person in my office. Being in IT is an advantage to me because of the cash flow that I deal with and the assets that are in my posession. Ask your boss if you can use your job to help others for whatever organization you feel strongly about.

          Don’t worry about what your job does for mankind, worry about what you do. If your job can aid in that passion, great! If not, it shouldn’t hold you back from doing something wonderful for someone or something else.

          Good luck with your quest,

        • #3344430

          Education Needs Help

          by retaf ·

          In reply to packrat – time to volunteer

          There are times in the past when I felt the same way when I was in a different career. However, I am now working in a local school system as a middle school technology assistant. The joy I get seeing the students grow, both in their knowledge and learning how to use computers, makes it all worth while. I stepped into this position about four years ago when the technology at this middle school was going down hill. Although, I was supposed to be helping in other areas around the school, I took it upon myself to get the technology program back on its feet and stop relying on the district’s tech support as the previous technology assistant was about a year behind in all aspects from software upgrades to equipment repair. Now the only time I see tech support is when I am stumped and call them to get another eye on the problem. I know I still have much to learn in IT, and I could make more money working for someone else, but working for the school system has big rewards by watching the students grow in all aspects, not just technology. Granted there are times when I see the district tech support trying to work on a shoe string budget in our poor district, but it could give you some pride in your work knowing you can do things you are not expected to do, because you want to make things better. Do not give up on yourself or your career, try different areas in IT. Good Luck!

        • #3344484

          Split your time…..

          by bill.affeldt ·

          In reply to Over 10 Years

          It sounds as though you are feeling a little socially bankrupt at the moment. So my advice would be, reduce those free hours you are giving the comapny by a little and maybe volunteer your efforts to a ‘worthwhile’ cause. Use your skills and knowledge to help make the Tsunmai warning system better. Help a homeless center set up a system where people can look for jobs via the Internet. All the while use you job as a place to make a difference but mor eimportant to win/win and keep your skills current and viable so you can make a difference when the opportunity presents itself.

        • #3344372

          Fulfillment not in career.

          by steverd ·

          In reply to Split your time…..

          I would agree about splitting your time. I’ve been in various engineering, systems developement, and management positions over the last 25 years. Although I enjoy my work, it sometimes left me hollow. I eventually realized that fulfillment came from areas other than work – family and spiritual areas.

          I strive to do the best that I can in my career. I do it because it is a means to an end. It makes other things possile which are important – supporting my family, church, etc. This is where my heart is.

          If you enjoy your career, don’t try to get too much out of it. Use it as a means to an end and find fulfillment elsewhere. If you don’t like your career, it’s never too late to work towards a change.

        • #3344473

          It takes all kinds

          by jobothetechnopeasant ·

          In reply to Over 10 Years

          Allow me to draw a few analogies and hopefully not mix to0 many metaphors :=)
          Not everyone is going to be a trailblazer or a leader but both require followers.
          Hopefully IT brings order (information) out of chaos (raw data points) thus helping to pave the way for the them.
          Its not glamorous or even very rewarding to be the 21st century equivalent of bricklayer but where would the world be today without them?

          If its my task to toil in the data-fields of the Info-Lords then I shall gladly do so. For there is honor and humility in a honest days labor.
          Imagine a world where all workers brought a similar level of effort, diligence, dedication and passion to their daily efforts – would it not be a better place?

          100 years ago the big advances were industrial. Now it technological. We’re riding a great wave in a series thru the human experience, carried enexorably into the future. Fret not, friend, you are exactly where you’re supposed to be and if you stay the course, your childrens children might not care but your children will.

        • #3344431

          What kind of rewarding

          by gentlerf ·

          In reply to Over 10 Years

          What kind of rewarding are you looking for? Teaching certainly is one method when you desire to pass on the benefits of your lifetime of learning. I view things this way, if can touch in a positive way a single life, that should be reward enough. Because you cannot change the world like flipping a light switch, this does not mean one cannot begin a process of change. One area to begin a process of change is in teaching math or science. I have a son who is going to be an electrical engineer. While I didn’t precisely teach him where to go, I did encourage him to find his own way and offer what help I could to get there. You could do a similar approach with those you propose to teach.

        • #3344421

          Look beyond the job

          by rfdemond ·

          In reply to Over 10 Years

          Sometimes you need to look beyond the job itself as a source of fulfillment of your soul and look at what it enables you to do for others outside the work itself. For example, being in IT certainly pays more than a number of other professions that may have more of a feeling of self satisfaction and contribution to soceity. Use that to help others and contribute to the world. Also, as others have suggested, use your skills to volunteer to help others less fortunate, working with a charity to help train inner city children develop basic IT skills is certainly a noble and rewarding use of your skills. Lastly, don’t be afraid to become a mentor to others at work. Personally, that is where I gained my sense of well being when in the Corporate world, I always had a few minorty or female employees that I provided career direction, sponsorship, basic life mentoring etc and I always found that to be extremely rewarding. I’ve been self employed now for 10 years, however, a number of the people I mentored over the years still keep in touch with me on a regular basis and it is extremely rewarding to see these people develop in their careers and in their personal lives and to know that I helped enable them to improve their lives and in turn helped them to help others as well. There are many ways in life to achieve the kind of self satisfaction and inner peace that you appear to be seeking, don’t make the mistake of assuming that you can only achieve this through the work that you do, don’t let your employment define you as a person, let your inner person show through by the way in which you use the gifts given to you and the resources at your disposal. I hope that this is useful to you…

        • #3344416

          You can make a difference

          by johnr ·

          In reply to Over 10 Years

          I went through a similar career crises about 10 years ago. I like the challenge of solving problems that IT offers, but there was no other “greater good” satisfaction working on projects that I struggled to “beleive in.” I was considering switching careers completely but through some luck and a little persistance found that I could work for organizations that do good work and need strong IT support. During a carrer search I stopped focusing on the traditional IT shops in my area and started searching for jobs with companies that did good work and just happened to need IT professionals (non profits, some governemtn agencies, etc.). In the past years I’ve been able to support initiatives including blood-banking, HIV/AIDS education and prevention in the US and abroad and Vaccine safety, to name a few. My pay has probably lagged those that chased opportunities with start-ups, telecom, etc. but I feel that no matter how bad the day has been, in the end I know I’ve been able to contribute to something bigger.

          Hang in there, find your passion and follow it. I used to think that was a hollow assertion, but now I’m a beleiver.

        • #3344409

          Line the CEO’s pocket?!

          by admin17 ·

          In reply to Over 10 Years

          Unless you’re working for a small company, in which the scale of a layoff would be greatly reduced, efficiency gains to not go straight to the CEO’s pocket. The CEO is, by and large, a salaried worker like the rest of us (albeit with a few extra perks for being in his position). The CEO’s job is to increase the profitability of the ORGANIZATION at which he is employed on behalf of the owners (shareholders). Those increased profits go to help fund the salaries of you and your fellow employees.

        • #3322885

          You don’t really believe that do you?

          by j.penney ·

          In reply to Line the CEO’s pocket?!

          Look, no offense, but this is just not true.

          The CEO’s job is to increase the shareholder value, and usually that’s in the short term.

          The easiest way for me to increase the shareholder’s value of your company in the short term is to buy it, fire you and sell off the assets.

          A big part of your manager’s job is to eliminate your job (and thus you) if possible, and his motivation to do this is that if he does, he gets to keep part of your salary for himself.

          I understand that if the company isn’t profitable then people get fired and salaries go down, but it’s a really big mistake to think that the CEO doesn’t get a big chunk of any profits we create.

          Interestingly enough, in several of the management schools I’ve looked into one of the mantras repeated by all the professors is “profit is the result of the activities of management” – I bet that’s a surprise to all of you who work every day to make the company run.

          Take care.

        • #3344406

          Perhaps I am missing something

          by rascal1981 ·

          In reply to Over 10 Years

          Reading through this topic and your posts has left me thinking that maybe you need to consider a more charitable line or work; The truth is that business is business and you do end up looking out for number 1, whether that is you directly or lining your CEO’s pockets with cost reduction in head count in order to get that bigger bonus. Seeing a value in this is easy enough; more money = better lifestyle for you and your family and means you are doing a better job (most of the time) which means your end users are benefiting from your work as well.

          While you may not be changing the world, tell me what job is? I mean do you really think giving that $5 to the bell ringer in front of your grocery store is saving someone’s life in a 3rd world country?? While this may seem harsh it is the unavoidable truth of any job in business. Your productivity does lead to layoffs, cutbacks, reduction, etc… and more money for you (for the most part in the form of bonuses, raises, etc…) and if you feel guilty about that or are looking for deeper satisfaction you will have to look a little further outside of IT and business in general to find it.

          Does this sound cold? Most likely but I am a surrealist person who believes the truth; yes what I do may put someone out of business but in this fast paced world, who wouldn’t/doesn’t do the same? And if it benefits me/my family why shouldn’t I?

        • #3326117

          Heard of Ethics?

          by womble ·

          In reply to Perhaps I am missing something

          I acknowedge the point that business is a a process of making money for shareholders or business owners, but all of us are limited by the sets of values we develop as to what we will do to achieve that profit. By taking the extreme view that alls fair in love and business, we ignore the limits that our society puts on us.
          We have seen, by both legislation and education, that most major corporations have been putting in place limits on what they will do to accomplish their corporate goals. Things like bribes and Cartels used to be SOP, but are now avoided minimised or hidden.
          IT work has changed from an art to a trade, and as a result it can be used or abused the same as any other trade. If one wishes to use it to suck up all the money you can, then best of luck dealing with the various legal agencies that will be chasing one. If however one makes a decision to stick to one’s ethical guns, then this is a lot easier to sleep with.

        • #3326070

          Horse chips!!!

          by Anonymous ·

          In reply to Perhaps I am missing something

          What a bunch of crock! Except for the term surrealist (one who pairs unmatched fantasy images together to represent unconscious dreams).
          So many people here are defining materialistic needs; void of purpose and direction.
          IT began its downward spiral when the newer members decided it was all about money. Someday, a giant IT tsunami will sweep them all away to a deserted island along with one Commodore C-64 and let them face their own uselessness.
          Twenty years ago, IT had a “team” air to it. By helping each other, you helped the field evolve. Today, you need to get your head above the sea of career parasites first then set out to find the personal touch you are destined to contribute.
          Let me tell you what happened this week… one of my customers found out she had a blockage in her heart. It was late at night and she needed someone to talk to. She saw that I was logged into Yahoo Messenger. So, we began to talk. I had been working for 18 hours but I listened to her. For 2 hours, I listened. I never once thought it an inconvenience. I certainly did NOT consider charging for my time. She turned to me because she knew that I cared about my customers. She knew when I worked on her computer that I took the time to listen to her and to explain things in her terms. She knew that I did my job because I enjoy it even though there are corporations out there that would pay much more.
          The corporations and rapists currently dragging IT through a maze of self-righteous glut will eventually tire and discard the scraps. Among the remains will be a smarter, stronger seed that the upcoming generation will hopefully put to better use.

        • #3344370

          Wrong industry?

          by joia ·

          In reply to Over 10 Years


          There are some very thoughtful replies in this thread, and I’ve enjoyed reading them. What occurs to me is that it may not be the *profession* you are in that is the problem, it may be the industry!

          It’s clear that the people in the healthcare IT field feel like they add value to people’s lives…both healthcare workers and patients. Maybe you should think about shifting your career to a different industry, where the work you do and the people you serve would provide the personal satisfaction and sense of pride and self-worth you seem to be seeking.

        • #3344360

          life defined by work or work defined by life

          by seanpol ·

          In reply to Over 10 Years

          I would like to have had the social impact of Ghandu, MLK, Lincoln, Malcom X, or even my drill instructor.
          The meaning and purpose of life’s worth is in you and is not defined by what you kill and drag home to feed your young.
          Do well and be happy in your work, then if you need more sustenance, do volunteer work , or raise a family if you really want to have all of the life challenges and smiles you want.
          Being a good dad is tough, being a good geek pales in comparison.
          I gave up my job with IBM, for a number of reasons
          among them I found a maintenance job that paid more, and let me work with my hands, and be around
          As the saying goes “Life is where you find it”
          My neighbor was having a hard time with a break job, I dragged out my compressor and helped him with the hard part, just becaause I could.
          I do volunteer tech support, on line for Five Star, and have learned patience dealing with end users who just do the weirdest things, and are spectacularly clueless.
          So enjoy your work, make lots of money and learn to share your happiness.

        • #3344322

          Consider using your free time to make a difference in a kid’s life

          by momtojustin ·

          In reply to Over 10 Years

          I agree that you can use the money you make in IT to fund what you want to do. In my case, my husband and I are using it to help fund our dream of adopting a special needs boy.

          There are still orphanages in the US and so many children out there who need loving care. You need not be a foster or an adoptive parent. You can also just visit a kid who has no visitors at all or volunteer to help out in some other way.

          If you are in Massachusetts, you can check out:

          Best of luck,

        • #3326133

          Systemic thinking

          by photontx ·

          In reply to Over 10 Years

          The big picture that we are discussing here is not being brought to light. Every business in the US is now impacted by technology, and if you are contributing member to the infrastructure of a company that is meeting public or government demands then you are an asset that is helping support the infrastructure of society.

          For example, for the last 5 years I have worked for a two-way paging company, engineering, implementing, and maintaining their paging and database systems, whose services are utilized by physicians, surgeons, police, and emergency personnel. Those individuals depend on the robust, reliable, and advanced technological paging engines to help other people. Without my IT skills, and the IT skills of others these services wouldn’t exist, and therefore more people would not be helped or possibly would die. I’d say that’s just one direct example of how IT contributes, supports, and accelerates the rescue of mankind.

          It all depends on your perspective of the big picture, and whether or not you’re looking at it from 5 thousand or 30 thousand feet. Look at every business from a systemic standpoint and try to understand how improving the efficiency of any industry helps society. I think you’ll find it’s a quantifiable and qualitative value that simply needs a different perspective.

        • #3326068

          IT’s not the job, IT’s the attitude

          by dmichalski ·

          In reply to Over 10 Years

          No matter what field you take up, it is only a tool; a means to an end. You provide the direction. If IT doesn’t seem to have the global effect that you are looking for, perhaps the issue isn’t the career, but something in yourself. You could set up web sites to collect food, clothes, money, or other goods to help the needy, homeless, or tsunami victims (your choice). If that isn’t your expertise, you could look at what your business does for humanity, and then how you help them accomplish that task. Whether it’s provide the world with a better mouse trap for a cheaper price, minimize networking costs that will enable expansion (and jobs) to other regions, or as simple as keeping all the machines running smoothly so that some child will get his toy, game , computer, or what have you in time for the holidays.
          Personally, I teach and that is how I am fulfilled (and fulfill others). To see people that are transitioning from working a dead-end job to learning a career that is not going to die any time soon is a good feeling. Worse case scenario, you could have your job in IT and spend your free time making a difference.

        • #3326557

          We do help

          by tonythetiger ·

          In reply to Over 10 Years

          Computers play a large part in most people’s lives nowadays. Including cargo loading scheduling, etc. So making sure those computers and their programs are working correctly certainly will help people. Making sure food, medicine, building supplies, etc. are delivered where and when it is needed, for example.

          Another example is using your skills to make someone else’s task easier, allowing them to get that task done sooner so thay can devote more of their time to helping people.

        • #3326379

          What’s wrong with learning a trade?

          by nicknielsen ·

          In reply to Over 10 Years

          “…the public school system in the US forces you to teach to tests and to learn trades…not to develop critical thinking skills and how to learn.”

          Excuse me for asking again: What’s wrong with learning a trade? Much as we would like to think otherwise, most major branches of IT do not qualify as traditional “professions” (i.e. medicine, law, engineering, or teaching), but do qualify as “trades.” The people in “trades” (which the tone of your post implies are beneath you) are the construction worker who built your house, the electrician who wired it, the plumber, the air-conditioning mechanic, the mechanic who fixes your car, the cable guy, the satellite installer, the telephone repairman, and yes (dare I say it?), even the PC technician.

          I am an electronics/PC tech with over 30 years of experience in electronics and over 20 years of experience with PCs. I am also a Career and Technology Education (i.e. vocational) teacher in a public school district, teaching courses in electronics, digital electronics, and PC repair. Students who successfully complete my courses can take (and pass) “trade” exams such as the A+ and CET (Certified Electronics Technician). Those who meet the requirements can also receive college credit for their work.

          My primary task is to teach my students to apply the knowledge from their general education (math, science, english, etc.) to the course in progress. This includes: using problem-solving skills to derive and solve equations, isolate equipment faults, and design digital circuits; using research skills to locate technical data; and using communication skills to report on findings and results. I’m also required to introduce and reinforce concepts such as timeliness, personal responsibility, teamwork, tolerance for the differences between individuals, professional behavior, etc. I’m required to do this in courses with 135 scheduled contact hours (1-1/2 hours/day for 90 school days) or 270 hours (1-1/2 hours for 180 days) and usually half again as many hours of planned instruction for each course. What with fire drills, severe weather drills, announcements, homerooms, pep rallies, student organization meetings, teacher workdays, etc., we are lucky if we actually have 100 hours of instruction per semester. That we usually complete over 75% of the planned course work is amazing!

          How well I succeed depends not only on my ability as a teacher, but also on the student commitment to the course (paying attention in class, doing the homework, asking for clarification on confusing issues, etc.) and the parent commitment to education (responding to teacher contacts, attending open house, requiring dedicated homework time, etc.).

          What is amazing about our schools is not that they are failing, but that so many schools succeed so often using a model that has been outdated for almost 50 years.

        • #3326757

          Careful wording

          by packratt ·

          In reply to What’s wrong with learning a trade?

          There is nothing at all wrong with learning a trade.


          I do find fault with a primary level educational program that is designed to teach trades specifically without any balance regarding other skills and information, like critical thinking skills for example.

        • #3322890

          Not just us

          by j.penney ·

          In reply to Over 10 Years

          packratt said:
          To the point, my skills increase the efficiency of business, as you correctly point out. However, this increase of efficient and profit margin result in more people being laid off and becoming unemployed as this is ultimately what businesses have done with those efficiency gains (do more with less)…

          Well said, packratt. In fact, “fewer people doing more things” and “CEO’s and investors making more profit for doing nothing” are two really good definitions I know for “efficiency”. An interesting exercise to try with people who talk about “efficiency” is to ask them “efficient at what?” – after all, the word “efficient” should be an adverb. The definition in WordNet is “able to accomplish a purpose; functioning effectively” – both of these things require that the noun that is efficient must be DOING something, and that’s actually what the adjective applies to – the amount of wasted X from activity Y – with an inverse proportional relationship.

          So businesses that are “more efficient” – as you point out – are specifically more efficient at ELIMINATING COSTS – and everyone who’s been to business 101 class knows that employees are the number 1 cost.

          That’s what we do – that’s what business attempts to do – eliminate employees. So we do it, but so does everyone else who works for a business and tries to be “efficient” and “take on more responsibility”.

          So don’t be hard on yourself, you’re right – we are supposed to create unemployment – but we can stop it, if we want to.

          The secret can be found by contacting me at


      • #3344490

        the little things do helThe little things do help, and arer worthp, but….

        by jwhitaker ·

        In reply to Patience

        The little things do help, and are worthy of doing. But as for IT being a great career, for most it’s not anymore. I’ve been replaced 3 times by younger guys with much less experience and made less than I did each time. I sincerely hope my kids get business degrees instead of tech degrees, in the long run they’ll be better off. As for changing the world, my wife and I do volunteer work and it makes our lives bearable as well as giving our kids a good example. We’ve helped refugees resettle, kept homeless kids, helped inner city ministries, and next week we leave for Sri Lanka to help in the relief effort there. Al this is completely separate from work, our respective employers aren’t helping at all. You want to make a real difference you have to bite the bullet

      • #3344452

        Ah, Volunteering

        by packratt ·

        In reply to Patience

        Well, that certainly is a possiblity yet that is usually outside of the IT sphere. But even when it is inside of the IT sphere, (i.e. volunteering IT skills towards an humanitarian effort), what is the real comparitive value of that when held against other volunteer roles?

        For example, I used to dovote some time outside of work to do things for others when I was more able to do so. I used to open my home to homeless teens and would do work for non-profits.

        My main effort was refurbishing computers to give away to people who couldn’t afford them while teaching them to use them and even how to get a job working with computers so they could get out of poverty… What use is that now with an IT downturn that has put so many people out of work? Heck, some of the people I know who were in IT are now homeless themselves. Heck, we’re on the edge of homelessness ourselves and have no permanent address.

        So, is it better to volunteer as an IT professional or by offering something else? (i.e. which is more valuable to volunteer, IT skills or other skills/resources).

        • #3344439

          If you’re still young enough…

          by jwhitaker ·

          In reply to Ah, Volunteering

          If you’re still young enough you might look into retraining. I’m not myself, and I feel like the money I’ve spent keeping up is wasted income. (no real payback) Meanwhile, I bet there are non-profits in your area that need your skills. Volunteer groups are always short on that end. Overall though, unless you can go full time, you have to seperate your work life from your public life. You still have to make a living and you have to be willing to sacrifice to do other things as well.

          IT is the same in this area, a lot of guys/gals have had to move on to other ways of earning a living. A lot of new service companies cropped up and then died in the last few years, started by out of work IT people trying to use their hard earned skills. I can’t think of any that prospered. I may have to move on myself even if it means living on peanuts a few years to do so.

        • #3344424

          RE: The volunteering

          by gentlerf ·

          In reply to Ah, Volunteering

          Volunteering any skill you have is always a positive thing even when it (the skill) isn’t directly IT related. I currently am volunteering to take care of the library in the senior/disabled/low income housing where I now live after being homeless for almost a year. I am refurbing older computers as well for those folks here who either don’t have one or the one they have has gone south. And yes, I do teach when asked.

        • #3326504


          by redragtoabull ·

          In reply to Ah, Volunteering

          National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship

          Through entrepreneurship education, NFTE helps young people from low-income communities build skills and unlock their entrepreneurial creativity. Since 1987, NFTE has reached over 100,000 young people, trained more than 3,200 Certified Entrepreneurship Teachers, and continually improved its innovative entrepreneurship curriculum.

          Will Mechem
          Member Services Director

      • #3326048

        No Future in IT

        by adam.barylko ·

        In reply to Patience

        Western world society as it is currently structured only discourages any pursuit of career within this field. This is partly the result of globalisation and asymmetry of power by large multinationals and even smaller companies and unequal values throughout the world. (For your information I also see some benefits in globalisation). From another perspective if one views education as an investment then its return is quite poor. This field has very little benefits from those in other fields. For example builders can earn double my salary and reap benefits such as cheap materials and can avoid tax (not legal but I’m being realistic) quite easily for their own personal benefits on top of the already available benefits as subcontractors. I also know of technicians and electricians earning more than engineers and computing professionals. I know of A grade electrians earning considerable amounts money more than a lot of engineers (including electrical engineers). It is amazing that electrical engineers cannot even legally wire their own home despite their training which is another joke in the educational systems of this country (I can also say this about the Chief Electrical Inspector where despite fulfillment of a basic course I was not even awarded a simple connect/disconnect license even though I fully completed all requirements). (ie. your knowledge is not recognised, I can say more on this topic as my belief is that if you have proven yourself and fulfil the requirements of a course then any application for a qualification in which all requirements having been met should be acknowledged and the qualification should be given.) After knowing this then why would you bother in IT.
        The double standards within society allows for such situations to arise. The dual tax system in this country (Australia) treats companys(subcontractors) as individuals from a legalistic point of view but taxes the companies less than individuals making a slightly above average income. Further more under company law the company can make claims against such expenditures as fuel and maintenance when filling tax returns whereas individuals cannot claim full travel expenses (travel to work and back) against their taxes despite the greater tax paid. So not only are companies able to pay lower taxes they can reduce their tax by claiming other expenses. So earning slightly more from the average wage earner but less than electricians and technicians why would you bother in this field. The amount of adaptation of knowledge and continual learning, lack of training when you ask for it, etc makes it less worth while. Society as it is structured also rewards a small portion of people for insignificant achievements. This is seen with sporting professionals, movie personalities which earn incomes several factors above that which a reasonable person would expect to earn over a single lifetime. I cannot see how realistically a person can be paid 10 times a reasonable income earners retirement benefit in less than a year and just the amount equal to the retirement benefit of an average income earner within the period of a year. Looking at this perspective I’d rather try my luck at playing with a deformed metalic stick also known as a golf club and ball as it can be seen that the earnings can be quite high for a few hours of training everyday compared reading tonnes of technical material and not getting paid for it or even a chance to use this knowledge. To give you an example, I learned a lot about communications system design however if I tried to start a business in this field and combine it with my computing knowledge I may have to invest huge amounts of money compared to my earnings in order to develope high tech electronic equipment. This financial risk is too great as my earnings are quite poor and recover of assets if the enterprise is undertaken fails. Anyway I have heaps to say but don’t care if anyone really listens. I now am attempting to persue a more rewarding career (not only financial if you think that was the only thing I was concerned about) not necessarily in this field. I also discourage anyone from persuing careers in science or technology especially in the electronic, communications, computing (all main area such as software development, systems administration, systems analysis). I would advise people to consider other fields where there are greater rewards where you don’t have to grovel for pennys, and beg for minuscule amounts for training and software from the bean counters.
        I could also make further comments from my observations of modern western culture (some points positive others quite negative which I believe cause many problems in society today).
        Anyway that’s all that I will say for now and I’d like to hear any arguments for or against maybe this is a spark to start a new war. I wonder when the thought police will come and get me!

    • #3317072

      Lack of production

      by jdmercha ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      IT, in general, does not produce any measurable results. But what we do helps others to improve on their measurable results.

      Where I dervive value from IT is in educating others to get the most out of it.

      “You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself.” -Galileo.

      • #3317060

        Respectfully disagree

        by jamesrl ·

        In reply to Lack of production

        If we didn’t have a measureable impact, we wouldn’t get any funding whatsoever.

        The challenge is that part of the IT “business” is in providing infrastructure. Your company can’t compete with others unless they have things like email, word processing, electronic commerce, EDI etc. But these things are the cost of doing business.

        Other projects can and should be judged on how they support the business – they need to measureably impact revenue increases, revenue retention(customer satisfaction) cost reduction, risk reduction etc. Otherwise why do them?


        • #3316878

          My Fault

          by jdmercha ·

          In reply to Respectfully disagree

          I was to consise and chose my words poorly. My point was that IT (Again in general, there are exceptions) is a support organization. They do not produce a product. They enable others to produce products more effectively.

          Look at it this way. If you have ever built something, you gain satisfaction from having created a tangible object that you can show the world. If my job was to keep your tools functioning, I have no tangable object to show off. So I dervie my satisfaction from teaching you how to make better use of your tools.

        • #3344417

          RE: Being a service org . . .

          by gentlerf ·

          In reply to My Fault

          You have hit the nail squarely on the head. IT is an area where we do affect the internal “customers” of the overall company. The tool room in a manufactory doesn’t produce a product, but they do allow the machinists, etc., to do theirs in as an effective manner as possible. I for one build cabinetry as a sideline or to meet someone else’s needs. Just for myself, a handsaw and miter-box are sufficient tools. To do it commercially, I would need a shop with table saw, power miter saw, drill press and various jigs to make it a production center.

    • #3317027

      Own best enemy?!

      by awfernald ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      When I went to work in South America a few years ago, the company I went to work for had about 700 employees.

      When I first started, there was a total of about 5 computers (mostly so old that they couldn’t be used any more), and a few small Unix workstations (not quite as old, but….).

      There was no such thing as a network, if you needed an extra telephone line, then contact the local phone company to run another one out, etc….

      After we constructed a new network, centralized our phone system, established a nation-wide satellite network, etc… it took us about a year before we were down to about 300 employees.

      However, those 300 employees were much better paid than before, were able to easily accomplish the work of the 700 prior employees, had significantly improved working conditions, etc….

      To those 400 people who were now without a job, you can say that IT was a key destructive force to them. To the other 300, you can say that IT was a force that gave them the opportunity to shine.

      • #3322898


        by j.penney ·

        In reply to Own best enemy?!

        This is the old Luddite problem. Some people blame technology. I blame social decision-making.

        I am about to criticize some of the ideas you presented, please don’t take this personally. I apologize in advance for the bluntness and lack of nuance intrinsic in the email mode of communication and assure you I mean you no disrespect.

        —After we constructed a new network, centralized our phone system, established a nation-wide satellite network, etc… it took us about a year before we were down to about 300 employees.—

        The problem is hidden in this sentence. The assumption that you want to get rid of employees is the cause of the problem. Eventually the managers would have done this – you just enabled them to achieve it quickly. And competition will always make this happen. This is the central problem in competitive economies in which financial capital is treated as valuable and labor capital is treated as worthless. Alone, you could not stop this from happening. Only by changing the decision making processes of the society could you stop it. However, the following rationalizations must be debunked.

        –…those 300 employees were much better paid than before–

        Were they 700/300ths better paid? Because if they weren’t then the difference went into someone’s pocket and the 400 other employees paid the price. Again, not your fault – but this must not be dismissed easily.

        –were able to easily accomplish the work of the 700 prior employees–

        but did the other employees get a say as to who gets the rewards of the work begin accomplished?

        –had significantly improved working conditions, etc….–

        Again, this is a decision made by people running the company. As time goes on, if no pressure is put on them to maintain good working conditions, conditions will worsen. A temporary gain at best.

        –To those 400 people who were now without a job, you can say that IT was a key destructive force to them. —

        IT isn’t the problem, managers are the problem, centralized power is the problem, lack of political power of the laborer is the problem.

        To the other 300, you can say that IT was a force that gave them the opportunity to shine. —

        IT allowed the managers to pocket anything remaining of the 700/300dths of the workers’ salaries, and you can be sure these 300 workers will also be eliminated in the future, the moment the opportunity arrives.

        Again, the bluntness that comes across here is a result of email being a low-bandwidth communication, and I hope the tone of this is understood as being analytical, and not hypercritical.

        Take care.

    • #3317011

      We are the stage hands.

      by jessie ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      As an IT support person… I’m a stage hand… my name doesn’t go up in lights… my face won’t be recognized on TV. Where I help the world is in the companies I choose to support. I’ve spent a lot of time supporting nurse’s computer issues… so they can get back to doing patient care. No, I don’t save lives directly, but through the companies that I work for, the work that THEY do, and the work that *I* do in supporting that effort, more than time and money get saved. People’s lives ARE enriched because of what I do.

      If nothing else, a good computer tech can be better than a personal masseuse… I relieve stress for others by getting their computers to do what they’re supposed to do.

      • #3344435

        Excellent point, but hard to pick and choose

        by arjee63 ·

        In reply to We are the stage hands.

        It’s tough to find employment that has a larger meaning in today’s world. It can be much more fulfilling when you are able to support users who are doing something you believe in – but it’s tough to pick and choose jobs that meet all your needs. I left a job that was very fulfilling, doing QA for software written for non-profits. Unfortunately, the pay was so low that I finally left in order to better support my family. My income is better now, but I’ve lost that feeling that I’m truly contributing to something worthwhile, except someone’s bottom line.

        The best advice I could give is keep honing and expanding your skills, and look for opportunities within smaller organizations where you have a chance to stand out and truly make a difference. If you can find an organization whose purpose you believe in, then all the better.

    • #3316983

      A Search for Meaning

      by tony hopkinson ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      Hmm I’ve always seen my career as a means of putting food on the table, enjoying what I do a bonus.
      As for viewing your own personal contribution to world happiness, well that’s got nothing to do with IT. The same arguments could be used for any trade within a profit making business.
      Do some work for charity or in an aide organization if you feel the need.
      A colleague of mine is helping some of his friends to set up two way video/satellite links between small surgeries and a large hospital in India, so they can get advice and help when they need it in remote areas. He’s feeling good about it, and it’s only costing him time.

      • #3326318

        Go Diving on the weekends

        by california dead head ·

        In reply to A Search for Meaning

        When I was in collage I wanted to be a Marine Biologist. Started with a Biology degree and went on an interview. The interviewer gave me a good piece of advise when I said I wanted a PHD in Marine Biology. Get a real job and go diving on the weekends. He know 10 collegues that wanted a marine bio position and could not find one. So I say to you work and just be happy with the interactions you get from your co workers and spend as much time as you can with your family and go diving on the weekends

        • #3326701

          Or Fishing

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to Go Diving on the weekends

          But not near divers. They get annoyed when you throw bread on them, because you thought a big juicy carp had just surfaced.

    • #3316856

      Real Value or Self Actualisation

      by cfk ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      Your question centres on who you are much more than what IT is. Doing an IT job is no different to any other job – (no apologies to those I offend with this statement).
      JOB = Just Off Broke – get over it.
      Few people actually have a job that is also totally fulfilling to their being. As a species we tend to want to congregate with others and enjoy company. Perhaps this is because we each feel so alone with our own minds?
      So to respond to your two questions:
      1. What fulfills you if it is not work?
      IT is an intensely negative environment in the support areas. It has a lot in common with traffic controllers with one exception – people will survive and remember you personally especially if you fail to deliver. This places a lot of stress on support people. It is extremely important to have a supportive work environment that seeks to boost the positives all the time. Recognise this and take time to give yourself personal congratulations for jobs well done, even when others do not know or recognise it. Be nice to yourself.
      2. What else can you do to fulfill your potential?
      Recognise that most people only get glimpses of fulfillment, the rest of the time they are striving to get that back or to reach it again. Find some activity you really enjoy that is working with others. As a support person you are already demonstrating your desire to improve the lives of others. Use that desire, along with your income, to improve the lives of people in poor communities anywhere in the world. You can change the world you live in immensely this way, and really improve your chances of being recognised by others. It does not have to be IT strictly, but you never know until you try.

      Drop the act about lining the pockets of others, too. That is blame, and unworthy of anyone. Line your life with helping others, and maybe you can attract the attention of these people to contribute some of that wealth to your cause, too. It will not make you rich, but your life will become greatly enriched with other people.

      • #3344493

        I/T Psychotherapy

        by m_moore ·

        In reply to Real Value or Self Actualisation

        A great dose of I/T psychotherapy – a very good response, Cfk! I agree that PACKRATT is looking for meaning to life in general, as would be the case no matter his/her career. Regardless of PACKRATT’s situation, I think many people change careers as a symptom of a mid-life crisis, only to find that the other employment options out there are no more rewarding.
        Look for self-satisfaction in your job, but look for self-actualization elsewhere.

    • #3316843

      Productivity is value

      by a_dangerous_mind ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      I’ve been a subscriber to Business Week for a number of years, and according to them the US economic growth has been tied to productivity enhanced by IT since the early 90’s. So, we’re still the real story behind the good times, even with the dot com bust.

      Moreover, I’ve participated in the automation of different tasks that used to be done manually over the years. It’s faster, less error prone and cheaper to do these tasks through automation, and that keeps down the cost of goods and services for all of us. For instance, in servicing of loans and mortgages, some fees can be eliminated or reduced if the servicing tasks can be automated.

      In fact, when I first started programming, I automated several of the most monotonous and thankless tasks in the department. No permanent employees were let go, but were shifted to less tedious and monotonous tasks. Two open positions for temps were simply left unfilled with the redistribution of tasks.

      • #3294258

        It was me or them

        by tony hopkinson ·

        In reply to Productivity is value

        In the dark days of recession, I definitely contributed to workforce reductions, not something I’m particularly proud of but if I couldn’t reduce costs then my employer would have, starting with me.
        You could say those of the reduced work force had it better in terms of variety of tasks, but I doubt the poor chaps who got layed off did. As for the two temps, they’d have called you a lot of names at the time if you had been available to blame.
        One of the most thriving and prevalent businesses that came in on the back of IT is recruitment. I’m sure that wasn’t in the spec.

        • #3294104

          Some positions eliminated are not actual people

          by a_dangerous_mind ·

          In reply to It was me or them

          The two open temp positions which were eliminated were not actual people who lost jobs, but squares on an organizational diagram. No one was actually layed off. So, no one had anything bad to say to me about it. Sometimes reduction can happen through elimination of open positions, normal transfers and attrition rather than layoffs.

          The shift to automating these tasks actually forced the use of PC technology instead of mainframe terminals and a number of repetitive manual processes, and the people in the department actually ended up with more advanced skills in Word and Excel. That actually increased their marketability, and, from some contacts that I had with them some years later, their job satisfaction.

          I’m sorry that you saw your situation as eliminate their jobs or be eliminated. Automation and the implementation of new technology can actually be quite beneficial both to the business and the employees. Who would prefer the IBM Selectric and the manual adding machine over Excel and Word?

        • #3291829

          Business benefited, I benefited, they didn’t

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to Some positions eliminated are not actual people

          On no I personally facilated at least nine job losses. Course that sort of get’s lost in the 6000 ish over all, in one place I might add. It was even more amusing when I got my letter saying I was surplus to requirements, fortunately as I trained up my replacement I had enough time to sort out my next job. Even stranger I’m back with the same firm though now as a contract systems engineer. It’s a funny old game is n’t it.

      • #3344557

        Yes, productivity!

        by pablo.emanuel ·

        In reply to Productivity is value

        IT and technology as a whole are the key factor in the next (current?) big paradigm shift: we won’t need people anymore to do boring and repetitive tasks. Since our whole economy is based on that assumption (that was a key factor in the early Industrial Revolution days), of course we can’t expect a smooth transition, but it seems to be unquestionable that the world would be a better place if we didn’t need to do that tasks that don’t require a brain.

        Every time a program that I wrote make someone do his job quicker and with less errors, or make him get accurate information (and knowledge) that he wouldn’t get otherwise, I feel that I am in the right path.

      • #3344475

        Are You Kidding?

        by sauerb01 ·

        In reply to Productivity is value

        I have yet to see a finacial institution give back anything to it’s customers. If we design systems or software that automate the monotinous tasks and save the company money the only people who benefit from this are the stockholders and officers of the company. They NEVER pass on savings only costs. I have worked with financial institutions for years and every cost savings we gain for them they pass it along as an increase in fees to their customers thus doubling their gain. It’s all about making money not sharing the wealth. For anyone to think that saving a company expense will be translated to a savingw for that companies customers is ludicrous. It doesn’t happen. The only thing that brings down costs is competition. Basic facts about business.

    • #3294342


      by dwdino ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      If you are really into this inner revelation, then you will come to see things for what they are.

      Most jobs are simply tools to enable us to exercise our ambitions and passions. They are a means to an end.

      Therfore IT becomes not the goal, but a utility to reach a goal.

      Through IT I am amble to provide for my Wife and children. I am able to work away from the office when my family needs me (not always a good thing). Through IT my creative side is expressed and my analytical side is pressed.

      When it comes to you children, transfer to them the same concept. That, no matter the job, it is a tool to help them express who they are and attain those goals that matter. If they can combine the two, like Red Cross, then more power to them.

      The difference you make in the world is kissing the scraped knee of your child, walking on the beach with your wife, teaching you children to play and dance, and making sacrifices for their benefit. These are truly the world changers.

      • #3294300

        Absolutely right

        by dafe2 ·

        In reply to Meaning

        It’s a job. A means to an end. Nothing more.

        It doesn’t mean I don’t love it, but It’s not the ‘glamorous thing’ it used to be in the 80’s but neither is the Astronaut the ‘in thing’ it was in the 70’s either.

        Things change.

        • #3344536

          Yes…..this field is becoming worthless!!

          by raycaldwell73 ·

          In reply to Absolutely right

          I’m starting to loose faith in this feild. It seems like it’s damn near impossible to move on or find another job. If it’s not outsourcing, it’s these idiotic staffing agencies and recuriters giving you the run around about these so-called “opportunites”…..I have not seen a decent IT job fairs in over 4 years…and it’s pathetic!!! Jobs are not paying what they use too 68 years (when the market was GREAT) but now it’s like a desert out there. I’m looking into other facets or careers like real estate at the moment (I’m still emplyed in IT, but have not gone no where in 4 years). This use to be a field where we are looked at as Gods and the phones would ring off the hook for job offers in the past, but no all that’s left are these damn recuriters……you can even apply direct to companies hardly anymore and these resume distribution service are a JOKE!!!
          So yes….I do question whether this feild is worthwhile anymore…..becuase I just don’t see any light at the tunnel for this profession anymore…..

      • #3294257


        by packratt ·

        In reply to Meaning

        To a degree you are correct, I work primarily to serve the needs of my family and myself and all else is secondary…

        However… Is it morally acceptable to serve those needs by doing more harm than good to others in the process?

        • #3294185

          Are you electrocuting people?

          by dafe2 ·

          In reply to True

          or something?

          We (IT) make life easier……..but we shouldn’t believe our “own” press. Good or bad it’s still just a job.

        • #3294140

          Probably not but

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to True

          Anyone who can’t sacrifice their principals for their kids didn’t have any in the first place. Once you become a parent your first duty is to your family, all else is secondary.
          Mine (principals, not the kids) have gone out of the window on a few occasions but I take pride in that and so should you. Not our fault someone else wasn’t on the ball when the food went past, they can’t have been that hungry after all.

        • #3294134


          by packratt ·

          In reply to Probably not but

          So, from your perspective, so long as it was providing enough to feed and house your family, it wouldn’t just be morally acceptable to be, oh, let’s say a concentration camp guard in charge of executing civilians, it would actually be morally unacceptable to refuse such employment if such a refusal meant your family suffered some hardship for it?

          In addition, you are also saying that said hypothetical guard should not feel any twinge of guilt because it’s not his or her fault but the fault of the internees that he or she is executing them? After all, by your logic, if they wanted to live badly enough they wouldn’t be in that situation, thus they should be blamed for their fate.

          Very interesting.

        • #3294110

          Don’t put words in (my) mouth

          by dafe2 ·

          In reply to Interesting…

          What (i) said to you was:

          Meaning can be found at home (Or in other areas)
          Our jobs make other(s) jobs easier…end of story.

          I believe your analogy says more about you or your issues than it does about (our) replies.
          Some time on a couch & good drugs may do you more good than we can.

          Wow…………have a nice day there Packratt.

        • #3294089

          Yet again…

          by packratt ·

          In reply to Don’t put words in (my) mouth

          If you look closely you will find that I was not replying to you but to someone else…

          But I understand how you would be so quick to be angered by such questioning concerning the morality of what you and I do for a living. It’s difficult to take that hard look at one’s life or career to make certain that what he or she does is the best they can do by measures other than the usual monetary yardstick everyone uses to measure one’s worth.

        • #3294085

          Yep …… (I) was in the crosshairs

          by dafe2 ·

          In reply to Yet again…

          I understand (completely) what your driving at.

          Not sure about your steering wheel though 🙂

        • #3291952

          I can dig it

          by packratt ·

          In reply to Yet again…

          Not steering anywhere really, just looking for directions. (despite what some women say, we men do ask for directions every now and then.)

          Certainly I should state that I admit that the application of IT efforts are dualistic as are most any products of any given field of expertice, they can be beneficial or harmfull depending on the usage.

          Just pondering if those that implement said technology bare some measure of cuplability for whether it is a boon or bane in it’s usage.

        • #3291849

          Well actually no

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to Interesting…

          Must confess looked in that light and taken literally I was talking total orbs there.

          However sticking to context as opposed to unjustified but psuedo-logical extrapolations. I have, say no problem with my kids having roast beef for Sunday dinner at the expense of the less alert’s having say, pigs liver. I’m human enough that if they turned up on my doorstep hungry because they could’t face such a meal and there was enough to go round I’d feed them, but father enough to make sure my kids got first dibs on the good stuff.

          I didn’t even consider such a wild extrapolation from one context to another. Even if I had my logic would have been consistent and I would have been competing with other guards who by definition would be scum like me. Murdering the inmates would have been my role as IT was in the original context.

          As well as providing food for your kids a safe environment is required, any country with concentration camps is n’t safe some. At that point I’d have to decide whether it was better for my offspring to be safe and hungry, or them getting into a closed rail wagon with full stomachs.

          Truly distasteful this subject is n’t it.

    • #3294262

      real value

      by apotheon ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      Think of all the jobs out there that have real value in the modern world. Now imagine them all if computers were taken away.

      Computers are the unsung heroes of a great many very important, very valuable tasks. IT professionals make sure that the infrastructure for the modern world keeps working. Much of modern medicine would be impossible without computers. The telephone system has become so complex and extensive that it cannot exist at this scale without computers, and the same can be said of any other widespread means of near-instantaneous long-distance communication: without computers, these things would be functionally impossible at that scale. The ease and speed of communication we currently take for granted is far more important to continued advancement (and even maintenance of current levels of civilization) than most people realize.

      How well do you think a fire department in a metropolitan area would be able to do its job if the department didn’t have high-speed communication capability?

      It’s not the IT career that lacks value. Just check out what exactly your job is supporting, and realize that this is where the value is, and without IT personnel that value would dry up.

      • #3294259

        Thank you

        by packratt ·

        In reply to real value

        First of all, thank your for a reasonable response, you’ve at least addressed the main concern that I have where others have not even concidered it. That is, whether or not a career as an IT professional is morally acceptable.

        However, I should have clarified in my original post that I’m not necessarily concerned that my current trade/occupation is not rewarding nor that it does not bring me a sense of self-fulfillment as others have been addressing… but that I am deeply concerned that plying this trade does more harm than good overall. That indeed, it is a “cost center” to society by means of how the benefits of technology are applied by businesses when lives and careers are destroyed by it’s implementations.

        Let’s address one of my questions/statements before I continue:
        Do people exist to serve the social construct called capitalism or does that construct exist to serve the needs of the people? If such social constructs exist to serve the needs of people, is it logical to sacrifice people to further strengthen a business?

        To the point, I am deeply troubled that my current occupation causes more social harm than benefit in most cases and as a person with moral convictions I am worried that I am harming others for my own benefit, which goes against a primary moral tennet; “do the least harm”.

        So, while there are ways that plying such a trade can be morally and socially beneficial instead of harmfull as in most cases, it’s less likely that one can find those morally acceptable positions when the labor market is tightened as a result of the negative applications of that same technology that we ourselves implement.

        So, my self doubt concerning my current occupation aren’t so much about a sense of fulfillment or some words of reward from those I work for, but are concerns over whether or not some other trade or a different application of my own trade wouldn’t leave such a bad taste in my mouth.

        Thank you at least for addressing that… Too bad there aren’t many places of employment open in this labor market where I could do more beneficial work in this current field.

        • #3294126

          What is morality

          by jdmercha ·

          In reply to Thank you

          “That is, whether or not a career as an IT professional is morally acceptable.”

          If the morality of an IT carreer is bothering you, you better take a closer look at your day-to-day life. I assume you drive a car or take public transportation. Is it moral to consume oil products, when many terrrorist organizations are supported by oil money? What about your clothes? Where are they made? Are you supporting child labor and sweat shops? Do you ever drink beer or wine? If so you are supporting an industry that is responsible for the leading cause of death for teenagers in the US.

          If an IT occupation bothers you, then your best bet is to move to Lancaster, PA and start farming.

        • #3294116

          Morally acceptable

          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to Thank you

          Like just about anything – when done right I have no moral issues with a good IT organization. I have seen IT groups which spend money like water on projects which have no real value to their companies. Many of these organizations found themselves outsourced. IT is not a toybox for you to play in – you have to prove every day your worth.

          But the same is true for other types of groups within a business. Finance is a service organization for every business – it’s a cost of doing business. A good finance organization helps manage money wisely and drives efficiencies. A bad one doesn’t.


        • #3291950

          Ok, good

          by packratt ·

          In reply to Morally acceptable

          To continue along those lines then… Do you have issues with “bad” IT organizations? If so, what do you do when you find yourself involved in said “bad” organizations?

          (if you wish you could also address what determines whether an IT organization is good or bad, but it’s up to you of course…)

        • #3291932

          Most definately

          by jdmercha ·

          In reply to Ok, good

          I worked for a bad IT company. The president would bring in money from investors only to use it to pay off lawsuits from a previous failed company.

          I left real quick.

        • #3291839

          I change it or I leave

          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to Ok, good

          Its that simple.

          If I find myself in a dysfunctional group where they are not contributing to the bottom line of the company in some meaningful way, I assess my ability to change that situation. If I can try, I do, if I can’t, I leave.

          How do I determine good versus bad?

          Bad IT groups spend money on pet projects and waste time daydreaming about technology while ignoring what the company that employs them really needs. At one of my previous employers they had one department which pretty much had that as their mandate. I left. IT was outsourced.

          Good IT organizations are connected with the business. They align their objectives and projects with the objectives and projects of the business. They are in touch with their customers – surveys, focus groups, management level discussions, input etc. They include user inputs in their projects.

          I have struggled with the issues you presented in your orginal post at many places. I have had to conduct benchmarks, I’ve compared our costs and services against outsourcing companies, and I have participated in detailled Activity Based Costing models. I know the value of what our organization did versus what others would provide. I won’t say I’ve been in a perfect IT group, but I have been in some pretty good ones.


        • #3291763

          another perspective

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Thank you

          “Do people exist to serve the social construct called capitalism or does that construct exist to serve the needs of the people?”

          Neither. That’s a false dichotomy. Capitalism is just a term used to describe the state of affairs where barter has been facilitated through the means of a semi-universal symbol of value (capital). In other words, capitalism is just a manifestation of natural market forces in a world where people are capable of applying abstract concepts to make efforts more efficient and effective.

          The negative effects of business practices on the large scale, where people are treated as inanimate resources to be shuffled around, traded, discarded, and otherwise treated with less than appropriate respect, are not the fault of capitalism. They are the fault of artificial controls over market forces such as the body of US corporate law.

          We all exist within the constraints of our environment. There is no job in the industrialized world that, under current circumstances, does not in some way relate to the abuse of other human beings. Our choices are to try to do more good than harm, to not care, or to leave society behind entirely (perhaps to build a new one). I’ve been looking for opportunities to build a new society, but I haven’t found one yet that would really work out. Since just walking away from society on my own, to live in the woods as a crazy hermit, isn’t terribly convenient and doesn’t help solve the larger problem, I haven’t taken that route (though I’m still open to the possibility, perhaps). As such, I try to be more a part of the solution than of the problem.

          Your choice of industry for your career, for the most part, won’t affect the balance of benefit and detriment to others. What makes a difference is how you apply your choices. There are no simple answers to that: you just have to try to do what’s right. Quitting IT and becoming a nurse won’t solve the problem. Nor will quitting IT and flipping burgers. Find a way to make IT do what you need, if you like working in IT. You don’t have to suffer to do good works.

          Technology itself is neutral. Implementation determines its worth. There is great potential in any new technology to do good for humanity, and I think that to discard that potential out of fear of how it might be misused is as irresponsible as actually misusing it. Humanity is always better off when motivated by hope than when motivated by fear. Without the people who implement new technologies, the infrastructure for more beneficial advancements would not exist: don’t give up on technology industries just because some people are schmucks. Absenting yourself from the situation doesn’t solve the problems that arise: only by being an actively positive influence do you help anything.

          One needn’t even be limited to working in some charitable capacity to do good. Generally neutral jobs, where you’re part of the infrastructure but don’t make the decisions about how technologies will be implemented on a larger scale, at least serve the purpose of keeping things humming along so that those who have ethical interests at heart will have the ability to do good. Institutions of higher learning rely not only on their own IT departments, but the richness of the Internet and World Wide Web’s resources, to help raise the average level of education in the world: even if you’re just maintaining a mail server for a corporation that has a website whose resources occasionally contribute to the ability of college students to pass their economics classes, you’re still part of the positive side of IT. Just make sure that your own individual influences are positive as much as you can, and let everything else sort itself out.

          In the end, no one person can save the world. All we can do is be the best citizens of the world that we know how to be. Every good person helps the average. You don’t have to work tirelessly without pay for Amnesty International to be a good person.

        • #3298178

          Very nice!

          by dafe2 ·

          In reply to another perspective

          Not sure why this struck me as such a well written piece (xcept the first three paragraphs :-)…but….WOW!

        • #3298129

          thank you

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Very nice!

          I appreciate the recognition for the efforts.

          I like to think I’m a talented writer. We all have our little illusions, I suppose.

        • #3344396

          RE: another perspective

          by gentlerf ·

          In reply to another perspective

          A bit wordy but makes sense. Another way would be that when a company insists on viewing people as numbers and not names, time to pull the plug.

        • #3326081

          From Vonnegut to Steven Johnson…

          by ives ·

          In reply to another perspective

          Excellent statement ‘packratt’, and excellent response ‘apotheon’.

          “Do people exist to serve the social construct called capitalism or does that construct exist to serve the needs of the people?”

          This is the very same question for many of the present religions, societies or institutions that transcend more than one generation. Are more children born to serve the institution for its own self-propagation, or does the institution survive because it nourishes multiple generations of an individual?

          There is actually a new field of study that is focused on the term ’emergence’. In fact, you might both be interested in two books that deal with these very issues (I highly recommend them, but also realize the slim chances them actually being read):

          Emergence: the connected lives of ants, brains, cities and software (Steven Johnson).

          Interface Culture : How New Technology Transforms the Way We Create and Communicate

          I certainly agree with apotheon as to how and why things are they way they are (market driven = profit driven) and also believe this drive on a company level leads to disconcerting trends on a macro level.

          “Do the least harm”, “Technology itself is neutral. Implementation determines its worth.”

          Two issues often cited for evidence of harm are quality of life for the average IT worker and the fear of being so efficient that you put other people out of work (come to think of it, I believe Kurt Vonnegut wrote of the latter in “Player Piano”, 1952). We can dismiss some of the fear of putting people out of work because this is a function of evolution and competition, contracting and consulting have emerged as a business model to address this which I believe is becoming more popular for many fields.

          As for the quality of life, I think the issue is more with how the IT field has evolved as a profession and perhaps regressed in many ways compared to other professions. Perhaps this is largely due to the high concentration of younger professionals in the IT field who have less experience and may not yet have families of their own, who have been willing to make sacrifices that most professionals in other fields simply wouldn’t. IT mostly pays well, but there are certainly costs in always being on-call or spending personal time to keep pace with the ever-changing field of IT.

          Simply put, high pay vs. quality of life behind a desk. I think people really need to stand up for themselves and expect more from their employers. Hard times with a surplus of workers (in the U.S. and a couple routers away in India) always makes this difficult.

          The costs of being an IT professional would often detract from most peoples’ notion of ‘quality of life’. This too is an issue on a macro scale within the US economy however. Workers in many fields in the US receive less vacation time than any other industrialized nation and work perhaps more than many (except for Japan and off-shore workers perhaps). This is often addressed in the policies of many European governments to ensure higher quality of life (France, Spain, Scandinavia and the Netherlands for example).

          I believe our lawmakers could certainly do more to encourage responsible use of labor, but keep in mind this is a relatively new field. The early stages of the industrial revolution looked much the same. As workers were overworked laws and the construct of contractors or labor unions formed to help strike a balance.

          So, does IT really help anyone?

          Think about the contributions to society that IT has enabled. The net at large has created an excellent global community for sharing ideas, uninhibited by politics (although China has a long way to go with their censorship of the net). Better communication can also often help people overcome prejudices. The information era has also brought about a field where men and women are both paid and respected equally (for the most part, and certainly more so than almost any other field).

          IT has and always will be a phenomenal enabler for almost any field, just as plumbing and water was an essential prerequisite to any of the first major ‘cities’. As with any technology there are always the inventors, implementers and the maintenance crew of those systems. There can be great personal and social reward in the first two, but often little in the latter. Perhaps you seek one of the first two, but in a way that has a direct impact on people?

          It all comes back to how it is shaped as an evolutionary force, one with an ongoing positive effect or a lasting detrimental drain on society. IT will continue to improve communication and enable unforeseeable advances for the human race.

          Identifying the issues is always the easy part, I am curious if anyone has suggestions for solutions? I personally would like to see reforms in policies that protect people from the discrepancy between a 40-hour salary and a 60+ hour work-week (frequently weekends and holidays too). If people choose to work above and beyond, they should be paid accordingly.

          Perhaps an IT union is overdue?
          Excellent statement ‘packratt’, and excellent response ‘apotheon’.

          “Do people exist to serve the social construct called capitalism or does that construct exist to serve the needs of the people?”

          This is the very same question for many of the present religions, societies or institutions that transcend more than one generation. Are more children born to serve the institution for its own self-propagation, or does the institution survive because it nourishes multiple generations of an individual?

          There is actually a new field of study that is focused on the term ’emergence’. In fact, you might both be interested in two books that deal with these very issues (I highly recommend them, but also realize the slim chances them actually being read):

          Emergence: the connected lives of ants, brains, cities and software (Steven Johnson).

          Interface Culture : How New Technology Transforms the Way We Create and Communicate

          I certainly agree with apotheon as to how and why things are they way they are (market driven = profit driven) and also believe this drive on a company level leads to disconcerting trends on a macro level.

          “Do the least harm”, “Technology itself is neutral. Implementation determines its worth.”

          Two issues often cited for evidence of harm are quality of life for the average IT worker and the fear of being so efficient that you put other people out of work (come to think of it, I believe Kurt Vonnegut wrote of the latter in “Player Piano”, 1952). We can dismiss some of the fear of putting people out of work because this is a function of evolution and competition, contracting and consulting have emerged as a business model to address this which I believe is becoming more popular for many fields.

          As for the quality of life, I think the issue is more with how the IT field has evolved as a profession and perhaps regressed in many ways compared to other professions. Perhaps this is largely due to the high concentration of younger professionals in the IT field who have less experience and may not yet have families of their own, who have been willing to make sacrifices that most professionals in other fields simply wouldn’t. IT mostly pays well, but there are certainly costs in always being on-call or spending personal time to keep pace with the ever-changing field of IT.

          Simply put, high pay vs. quality of life behind a desk. I think people really need to stand up for themselves and expect more from their employers. Hard times with a surplus of workers (in the U.S. and a couple routers away in India) always makes this difficult.

          The costs of being an IT professional would often detract from most peoples’ notion of ‘quality of life’. This too is an issue on a macro scale within the US economy however. Workers in many fields in the US receive less vacation time than any other industrialized nation and work perhaps more than many (except for Japan and off-shore workers perhaps). This is often addressed in the policies of many European governments to ensure higher quality of life (France, Spain, Scandinavia and the Netherlands for example).

          I believe our lawmakers could certainly do more to encourage responsible use of labor, but keep in mind this is a relatively new field. The early stages of the industrial revolution looked much the same. As workers were overworked laws and the construct of contractors or labor unions formed to help strike a balance.

          So, does IT really help anyone?

          Think about the contributions to society that IT has enabled. The net at large has created an excellent global community for sharing ideas, uninhibited by politics (although China has a long way to go with their censorship of the net). Better communication can also often help people overcome prejudices. The information era has also brought about a field where men and women are both paid and respected equally (for the most part, and certainly more so than almost any other field).

          IT has and always will be a phenomenal enabler for almost any field, just as plumbing and water was an essential prerequisite to any of the first major ‘cities’. As with any technology there are always the inventors, implementers and the maintenance crew of those systems. There can be great personal and social reward in the first two, but often little in the latter. Perhaps you seek one of the first two, but in a way that has a direct impact on people?

          It all comes back to how it is shaped as an evolutionary force, one with an ongoing positive effect or a lasting detrimental drain on society. IT will continue to improve communication and enable unforeseeable advances for the human race.

          Identifying the issues is always the easy part, I am curious if anyone has suggestions for solutions? I personally would like to see reforms in policies that protect people from the discrepancy between a 40-hour salary and a 60+ hour work-week (frequently weekends and holidays too). If people choose to work above and beyond, they should be paid accordingly.

          Perhaps an IT union is overdue?
          Excellent statement ‘packratt’, and excellent response ‘apotheon’.

          “Do people exist to serve the social construct called capitalism or does that construct exist to serve the needs of the people?”

          This is the very same question for many of the present religions, societies or institutions that transcend more than one generation. Are more children born to serve the institution for its own self-propagation, or does the institution survive because it nourishes multiple generations of an individual?

          There is actually a new field of study that is focused on the term ’emergence’. In fact, you might both be interested in two books that deal with these very issues (I highly recommend them, but also realize the slim chances them actually being read):

          Emergence: the connected lives of ants, brains, cities and software (Steven Johnson).

          Interface Culture : How New Technology Transforms the Way We Create and Communicate

          I certainly agree with apotheon as to how and why things are they way they are (market driven = profit driven) and also believe this drive on a company level leads to disconcerting trends on a macro level.

          “Do the least harm”, “Technology itself is neutral. Implementation determines its worth.”

          Two issues often cited for evidence of harm are quality of life for the average IT worker and the fear of being so efficient that you put other people out of work (come to think of it, I believe Kurt Vonnegut wrote of the latter in “Player Piano”, 1952). We can dismiss some of the fear of putting people out of work because this is a function of evolution and competition, contracting and consulting have emerged as a business model to address this which I believe is becoming more popular for many fields.

          As for the quality of life, I think the issue is more with how the IT field has evolved as a profession and perhaps regressed in many ways compared to other professions. Perhaps this is largely due to the high concentration of younger professionals in the IT field who have less experience and may not yet have families of their own, who have been willing to make sacrifices that most professionals in other fields simply wouldn’t. IT mostly pays well, but there are certainly costs in always being on-call or spending personal time to keep pace with the ever-changing field of IT.

          Simply put, high pay vs. quality of life behind a desk. I think people really need to stand up for themselves and expect more from their employers. Hard times with a surplus of workers (in the U.S. and a couple routers away in India) always makes this difficult.

          The costs of being an IT professional would often detract from most peoples’ notion of ‘quality of life’. This too is an issue on a macro scale within the US economy however. Workers in many fields in the US receive less vacation time than any other industrialized nation and work perhaps more than many (except for Japan and off-shore workers perhaps). This is often addressed in the policies of many European governments to ensure higher quality of life (France, Spain, Scandinavia and the Netherlands for example).

          I believe our lawmakers could certainly do more to encourage responsible use of labor, but keep in mind this is a relatively new field. The early stages of the industrial revolution looked much the same. As workers were overworked laws and the construct of contractors or labor unions formed to help strike a balance.

          So, does IT really help anyone?

          Think about the contributions to society that IT has enabled. The net at large has created an excellent global community for sharing ideas, uninhibited by politics (although China has a long way to go with their censorship of the net). Better communication can also often help people overcome prejudices. The information era has also brought about a field where men and women are both paid and respected equally (for the most part, and certainly more so than almost any other field).

          IT has and always will be a phenomenal enabler for almost any field, just as plumbing and water was an essential prerequisite to any of the first major ‘cities’. As with any technology there are always the inventors, implementers and the maintenance crew of those systems. There can be great personal and social reward in the first two, but often little in the latter. Perhaps you seek one of the first two, but in a way that has a direct impact on people?

          It all comes back to how it is shaped as an evolutionary force, one with an ongoing positive effect or a lasting detrimental drain on society. IT will continue to improve communication and enable unforeseeable advances for the human race.

          Identifying the issues is always the easy part, I am curious if anyone has suggestions for solutions? I personally would like to see reforms in policies that protect people from the discrepancy between a 40-hour salary and a 60+ hour work-week (frequently weekends and holidays too). If people choose to work above and beyond, they should be paid accordingly.

          Perhaps an IT union is overdue?

        • #3344556


          by aloz13 ·

          In reply to Thank you

          I suspect that your question isn’t so much about IT, but more about the worth of what and who we are in the world that we play a part in today.

          A philosophical question indeed.

          Everything we do, every action, thought and deed has an impact. Cause and effect has brought about the world we live in and is clinical and amoral in it’s mechanism.

          The economy and progress (and lack of it) is the result of our mass dynamic interactions of human endeavour and behaviour.

          How individuals behave will be tempered by their own (and group concious) sense of what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. That concept changes depending on culture, time, race and even mood…

          I suspect you are going through what we all perhaps do at certain times of our lives.

          All you can do is form a view, and do what you think is the best at the time. Then you will have no regrets.

          If everyone did this, then perhaps some real good would be achieved…

        • #3344491

          Another perspective

          by cromagnon35 ·

          In reply to Thank you

          IT is an essential peice of modern society, no company could long survive without access to professional’s to keep their computers running which in turn allows the salesmen to sell, engineers to design, accountants to pay their bills and bill for their services, customer support to assist their customers.

          While not as ‘glamorous’ as it was 15 years ago, it is even more an essential part of buisiness than it was then. A majority of support trades have the same problem, such as:

          Farmers – How long would society last without food?
          Truckers – The primary means of moving goods/food
          Construction Workers – Who else would build our buildings?
          Garbage men – can you imagine?
          SnowPlow drivers – can you see the north being shut down 3-5 months a year due to snow?
          Lawyers – Just kidding!

          My point is that nearly everyone contributes to society in their small or large way, and it’s pretty much human nature to focus attention on the latest/greatest until it get’s old and the attention shifts. IT had the attention 7 years ago, now it’s moved on.

          As for the morality of helping new technologies that decrease the staffing requirements etc, it’s part of progress and with the relative newness of the field (think back 25 years ago) industry adjustments should be expected. Unfortunately, that might mean career changes for those left out(it eventually could be me too), but as far as the ‘morality’ of the profession, that depends in large part on how you conduct yourself. I myself have been a part of the development of technologies and processes to greatly enhance the productivity, management and lessen the staffing requirements world-wide, and to refer to previous posts, I did it because;
          a. It was the best way for me to ensure continuous employment to support my family, if I didn’t, someone else would and I’d be unemployed.
          b. To help the company that pay’s me make more money, and thereby increase my options within the company.
          c. The personal satisfaction of creating better tools and processes.
          d. The knowledge that my work affects hundreds of thousands of users day in and day out and makes the life of their support people that much easier.

          In recap – is an IT career a moral occupation? Definately YES.

        • #3344403

          RE: Morality

          by gentlerf ·

          In reply to Thank you

          In that vein, I would think many of the Protestant denominations could use the benefits of your skills and not just voluntarily either. My local Episcopal Diocese has offered me a position to assist local parishes to become more efficient through technology.

        • #3326178

          Consider other saints than Francis.

          by cheaps ·

          In reply to Thank you

          If you are looking for an absolute answer, I don’t think you will succeed. One of the few people who resolved the thorny question you ask was St. Francis. But to do so, he had to withdraw from the world. If you remain in the world, you will have to compromise. So, although I think your question is certainly valid and respectable, I suggest you ponder the fact that there are other saints besides Francis. Even saints could be dirtied by the world of compromise, they just keep going.

          Many of the responses add up to the simple recognition that the world, and the world of IT, are complex and defy sorting out. You must be young and still trying to do so. Consider other saints!

      • #3344534

        Value in IT

        by house ·

        In reply to real value

        I agree. We are the contributors of what has now become the lifeline of business, communications, and technology in the world. There are no ‘careers for life’ anymore, and anyone who would point a finger at the computer for their lack of job security, may not see or even accept that fact. The working class has evolved with the direct influence of IT; that is the nature of the beast. You can run or you can bow down to something that is greater than yourself [i]biatch.[/i]

      • #3344517

        Depends on your line of work

        by lolek ·

        In reply to real value

        I think the benifits of IT that you are looking for are linked closely to whatever your company’s focus is. I’ll use myself as an example. I work in a hospital’s IT department. I find my job very fulfilling. I can say that the programs I have implemented help cut down on drug mistakes, help a doctor see a patients x-ray from any computer with an internet connection, and give doctor’s quicker, eaiser, and safer access to patient information.

        I could see how working for a company that manufactures widgets may leave you feeling a little worthless, but when your company is in the business of saving lives, it makes a career in IT very worthwhile.

        • #3344419

          I think this is his point

          by buschman_007 ·

          In reply to Depends on your line of work

          The poster’s original post is a little devisive. I think what he really is getting at is, “If IT’s job is to make a business more efficient and if business is destroying mankind, then we IT are making that death more efficient, therefore we are morally bankrupt”. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s what I’m gathering from reading packratt’s responces to other people.

          Your whole ideal is based around the assumption that Business is detrimental to mankind. That’s worth discussing, but sort of out of the scope of this question.

          I think Lolek hit it on the head. On a humanitarian scale your global value depends on the company you are making more efficient. What do they stand for.

          We all took aptitude tests as children and no one was told they are destined to be a garbage man. But the fact remains that there are still garbage men out there. It’s wonderful to have ideals. But Ideals don’t put a roof over your head and food on the table. I’m not saying this justifies any means to achieve that end. But trying to achieve moral self actualizion shouldn’t be either. There needs to be a mix.

          Sometimes you have to push your morals to the side, but you should never lose sight of them. I work for a software company that develops telecom software for the AT&T, Global Crossing, and Verizon’s of the world. Is my company helpiung or hurting mankind? I’m sure you could find exampoles to support both. The majors carriers have crushed small businesses which makes them seem evil. But without their infrastructure how would you make that 911 call to save someone grandmother from dying? It’s all in how you look at it.


        • #3326036

          value of business

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to I think this is his point

          Business is absolutely not destroying mankind, by any stretch. Business is a cog in the greater machinery of a market economy (or hybrid economy with some market characteristics). It’s necessary for the equitable self-regulation of production of wealth. It is both means and motivation for wealth production, without which we’d all be living in gutters if anyone had bothered to build the gutters in the first place.

          What’s screwing the pooch is interference with natural market forces. By inserting artificial controls, the self-correcting aspect of market forces is thrown out of whack and bad things start to happen, such as unequitable wealth distribution and reduced wealth production. In other words, it’s not “business” that’s to blame, but such phenomena as corporate law, business subsidies, protectionist policies, governmentally enforced union regulations, and so on. It is, in short, dictatorial influence that destroys the balance of market forces, which would otherwise tend toward a most-efficient means of advancing quality of life across the board.

        • #3326033

          Of course…

          by packratt ·

          In reply to value of business

          Never implied that business was inherently evil, don’t think that many would.

          However, many libertarians who share such opinions as your’s that markets unleashed will benefit mankind as if some magical force called “free market” will force them to tend to forget that there were many periods and ages when corporations and businesses had not the tethers of which you speak. Those eras included times when slavery was legal, brought us the joys of the sweathshop and abusive child labor practices, and the wonders of yellow journalism and robber-barrons.

          Some, (including some here), would argue that the Dickensian days of indebted servitude child-labor sweatshops, frequent factory maimings, and slave labor seem like a worthy goal to work backwards towards, but the argument as to whether such untethered business practices are beneficial to humanity is another subject worthy of it’s own thread I think.

        • #3326538

          you make unsupportable assumptions

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Of course…

          Your words: “there were many periods and ages when corporations and businesses had not the tethers of which you speak”

          The very existence of corporations is a result of government interference in the operation of market forces. Corporations are a result of corporate law (that set of laws that creates and regulates business activity involving legal “entities” known as “corporations”). Corporations are not, in any way, synonymous with “business”.

          You speak of legal slavery, abusive child labor practices, and robber-barons (yellow journalism has in no way been reduced by government interference in anything, ever, and we still have a lot of that, so it doesn’t really seem relevant). These are three practices that should be addressed by criminal law. A “free market”, sans such terms as “laissez-faire”, is not a market economy wherein people are allowed to act as they wish without consequences: it is a market economy wherein the only legal encroachment is in the protection of individual rights [b]without[/b] such “protection” constituting violation of individual rights. Anything that requires the adjective “abusive”, is described accurately as “slavery”, or protects “robbers” of any stripe is antithetical to a free market. There is a [b]tremendous[/b] difference between a libertarian/minarchist free market economy and an anarcho-capitalist laissez-faire economy.

          Don’t confuse the term “free market” with a mandate for anarcho-capitalism. While there is some merit to much of what my anarcho-capitalist friends have to say, there are great big problems with that approach to a market economy that allow for routine, institutionalized violation of individual rights. That’s why I’m a minarchist, and not an anarchist.

        • #3326522

          I believe you are describing a Plutocracy

          by packratt ·

          In reply to you make unsupportable assumptions

          Again, I think our discussion here is branching too far away from the original topic, yet I think you are describing a plutocratic system of governance when describing a system involving “free markets” and pure privatization of services.

          Under such a system as you describe, individual rights may be protected, as you suggest, but one wonders what those “rights” would include? Do they include the right to an education or would this be considered a privilage only reserved for those who could afford to purchase that service? What of those who did not earn enough to garner shelter, food, medical services, or sanitation? Wage and working condition controls, is it considered a right to work in a safe environment or is this a privilage as well? What about governance of the commons, would it be a violation of my rights if your pollution destroyed my health or the land I live on?

          I suppose it’s a question again of why humans exist. Do we exist, live and die, to serve the interest of business or did we invent such concepts to serve humanity? To which you answered that this question is unimportant to you. Unfortunately, I feel it is important to the topic at hand.

        • #3326487

          not on your life

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to you make unsupportable assumptions

          If you’re trying to say that a libertarian-minarchist free market economy falls under the heading of “plutocracy”, you have at minimum either not read very closely what I was saying or completely missed an accurate definition of “plutocracy”. I don’t even know where to begin, in pointing out the flaws in that.

          Individual rights involve, in essence, those rights that are directly derived from the right of self-determination. Education is neither a “right” nor a “privilege”: it is a pursuit. The misidentification of various and sundry contradictory desirables as “rights” is part of the reason this country is such an untenable mess. A right is something you have ethical justification for demanding from others. To demand education from others without offering compensation is [b]slavery[/b].

          Safe working conditions don’t constitute a “right” either. Endangerment of one’s employees constitutes a violation of rights, however, as that’s a coercive act and thus violates principles of self-determination. You have no right to impose danger upon another: he has a right to be free of such imposition. One may choose to endanger oneself (for instance, by taking on work doing underwater welding), but one may not (ethically) be forced to endanger oneself.

          “What about governance of the commons, would it be a violation of my rights if your pollution destroyed my health or the land I live on?”

          Yes. If you harm me (with my free consent), you’ve violated my rights.

          “Do we exist, live and die, to serve the interest of business or did we invent such concepts to serve humanity? To which you answered that this question is unimportant to you.”

          Nonsense. It’s not “unimportant” to me. It’s based on incorrect assumptions, within the context wherein it was posed. Of course such mechanisms of a market economy “should” serve humanity, but I responded within context earlier, and to divest my statements of context in an attempt to make me out to be some kind of “plutocrat” is dirty pool.

        • #3326464

          What else could it possibly be called?

          by packratt ·

          In reply to you make unsupportable assumptions

          After all, what else could you call a system that, by design, withholds the ability to read and write from children just because they were born into a family that had no wealth and owned no property?

          What else could you call a system that would generate a mass of easily exploitable workers who were illiterate and thus wouldn’t understand the terms of any contract or agreement that they signed, inlcuding contracts that would potentially sell themselves into slavery.

          What else could you possibly call a system that, by design, would torture others via the witholding of medical treatment simply due to socioeconomic status?

          What you are describing is a caste based plutocracy where the poor would be exploited and prohibited from social advancement and the wealthy would hold all the reigns of information and power.

          Perhaps this is something you deem “good”. But hardly something I would willingly work towards enabling.

          Take care.

        • #3326359


          by apotheon ·

          In reply to you make unsupportable assumptions

          What I discuss is not “a system that, by design, withholds the ability to read and write from children just because they were born into a family that had no wealth and owned no property,” and if you weren’t such an obviously brainwashed little socialist drone, you might be able to figure that out for yourself. I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but deliberate misrepresentation of what I say for the purpose of building straw men that you can very manfully knock down with the blunt instrument of your off-target blatherings doesn’t amount to much of a logical argument.

          One of the problems with social programs like you seem intent on [b]shoving down my throat[/b] is that it involves confiscatory taxation, which is (in short) [b]theft[/b]. I have [b]huge effin’ prolems[/b] with anything that purports to be “for my own good” but involves pointing a gun at my head. Another one of the problems with that sort of thing is that it is [b]self-defeating[/b]. By removing reward for work, you demotivate workers, ensuring that wealth production will [b]dry up[/b] and there will be no more blood to squeeze from stone to fund your bread-and-circuses approach to governance. A third problem with that sort of thing is the fact that it [b]doesn’t work[/b]. All your grand plans for “redistribution of wealth” will accomplish is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic: people fall through the cracks of any complex system, and you just ensure that different people fall through different cracks at different times.

          Actually (gasp!) [b]respecting my rights[/b] and assuming that I have some clue about what I want, allowing me the [b]opportunity to provide for myself[/b] rather than stealing that from me to provide for some parasite that lives off the fat of others, will provide motivation to produce wealth, deliver it to those who most deserve it, and (as I have already pointed out) [b]increase standard of living across the board[/b]. The industrial revolution would never have happened without some characteristics of a free market economy in place, and without the industrial revolution we’d all still be living in hand-built homes with all the sturdiness and earthquake-proofing characteristics of a beer-can pyramid in a dorm room, if we could afford them, living under conditions that make the lives of the homeless in the US seem positively luxurious by comparison. I don’t know about you, but I like the fact that hospitals can provide complex medical aid like organ transplants, and the fact that I have indoor plumbing. I kinda like this Internet thingy, too. Maybe you’ve heard of it.

          Without the effects of market forces and industrial ambition, we wouldn’t even know, here in the States, about the tsunami and the obscene numbers of people killed by it, let alone been able to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars in aid money [b]through private charities[/b] to help them out. The United States, bastion of the Evils of Capitalism, is the single biggest source of charity money to help people worldwide, despite having a relatively sparse population.

          What I’m describing is [b]not[/b] “a caste based plutocracy where the poor would be exploited and prohibited from social advancement and the wealthy would hold all the reigns of information and power.” What I’m describing is a system of abiding by natural economic laws. What I’m talking about is the fact that [b]wishing that money grew on trees doesn’t make it so.[/b] What I’m talking about is a system that A) works and B) doesn’t treat human beings as inert resources to be put to work. Humans are ends, not means. I am [b]nobody’s slave[/b]. Being poor, even if it’s not your “fault”, does [b]not[/b] grant you ownership over me and my labor. If you came to my door and attempted to force me to give you a percentage of my paycheck just because you live on the street, I’d load up my Glock 22 and put a couple rounds in your soft little head. Because you have the government commit robbery for you, I don’t get that option. Thanks. I’m so glad you’re such an altruistic savior of the human race.

          Get off your high horse and realize that you’re nothing more than an apologist for thieves.

        • #3326797

          Let’s be honest here…

          by packratt ·

          In reply to you make unsupportable assumptions

          Really now, even as the saying “a rose by any other name” goes, so too does it describe our little conversation. You wish to dress it up so that you may take it out in public by calling it ‘libertarianism’ or ‘minarchy’ when what you describe has already been done before and has names and titles ascribed to it… Dickensian, yankee trader, laizze faire, plutocracy…

          Those ideas are not new or revolutionary, despite what Rand worshippers might wish to believe. The market is not some magical beast that will right itself and benefit humanity by letting it run itself much the same as a wolf would not hessitate to eat all the sheep if trusted to shepard them without intervention.

          The industrial revolution you site was a prime example of industry unleashed and that progress could have been obtained without paying the prices that were paid for it back then via debtor prisons, forced child labor, high illiteracy rates, high working death and maiming rates, the rampant spread of preventable disease, and high mortality rates from treatable conditions.

          But, you and I will not agree, you see such prices in terms of human suffering worth paying to progress because it means more profit for a few and I see it possible to move forward at the same pace while not paying such a high price.

          All power in government is quite problematic, just as entrusting all power in the hands of nobility or the wealthy few would be as well. All forms of concentrated power give rise to tyranny and abuse, no matter if you give that power to that mythical beast call “the market” or government or an individual. Democratic overnment exists to buffer, to be the voice of all people and not just a segment thereof.

          …Of course, that is unless you believe your form of governance, by whatever pretty name you wish to term it, to be better than democracy.

          I think we’ll talk again in some other place, but for now I think we’re done in this thraead. Have fun with your rebuttal and take care.

        • #3326723

          Reply To: Real Value of IT Work?

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to you make unsupportable assumptions

          “You wish to dress it up so that you may take it out in public by calling it ‘libertarianism’ or ‘minarchy’ when what you describe has already been done before and has names and titles ascribed to it… Dickensian, yankee trader, laizze faire, plutocracy…”

          There are five basic possibilities, as far as I can see, for what you are if you are spouting this crap: liar, hypocrite, moron, buffoon, and ignoramus. Take your pick. Which are you? Are you even reading what I’ve posted? Never mind, that’s a rhetorical question. It’s clear that you’re not reading it with any interest in actually understanding what I’m saying. You don’t even address my points: you just go right back to attaching pejorative, inaccurate terms to what you don’t (won’t) understand.

          “Those ideas are not new or revolutionary, despite what Rand worshippers might wish to believe.”

          Who said any of the ideas I espouse are “new” or “revolutionary”? They haven’t been revolutionary since the Revolutionary War. Of course, at that time they were [b]literally[/b] revolutionary.

          “The market is not some magical beast that will right itself and benefit humanity”

          Of course not. Considering your track record for actually assimilating the concepts I lay out for you, though, I’m not surprised you are running with that wholly erroneous assumption.

          “The industrial revolution you site”

          I’m sorry, when people comport themselves as morons on substantive issues, I tend to nitpick on the inconsequentials as well. This just begs nitpicking: [b]cite[/b].

          “was a prime example of industry unleashed”

          And here you go into your stereotypical “Utopian” Sinclair inspired rottings-on about how industry is evil. Yeah. You run with that, if you want to. Ignore the positive aspects, the fact that forced child labor is not a necessary component of profit, and that it’s possible for humanity to better itself without resorting to magical incantations to squeeze blood from stones. Interestingly enough, you seem to completely miss the fact that literacy rates didn’t [b]drop[/b] as a result of the industrial revolution: they [b]rose[/b]. Your primary problem with industry seems to center around educational issues, and yet without market forces and successful, ambitious business most of the country would still suffer the abominable literacy rates of Clinton’s Arkansas governorship.

          “But, you and I will not agree, you see such prices in terms of human suffering worth paying”

          Thanks for telling me what I think, [b]even when it directly contradicts what I’ve already said[/b]. You’re not just stupid: you’re malicious. You are running around trying to “win” a “debate” by putting words in my mouth, drawing untenable conclusions, and insisting that conjuring wealth from thin air is more effective for relieving suffering than motivating people to produce wealth. You’re clearly a product of the public education propaganda machine.

          “All power in government is quite problematic,”

          No sh*t, sparky.

          “just as entrusting all power in the hands of nobility or the wealthy few would be as well.”

          No sh*t, sparky. Somehow, though, you seem to think I disagree with this. Gee, you must not be paying attention. Big surprise.

          “All forms of concentrated power give rise to tyranny and abuse,”

          Exactly. That’s why a distributed-power free market is about the only thing going in terms of workable solutions. The alternative to not concentrating power is to ensure nobody has it, which pretty much involves nuking and paving the planet.

          “no matter if you give that power to that mythical beast call ‘the market'”

          Maybe I was too harsh on you. Maybe you’re not malevolent, after all. Maybe you just have no clue.

          “Democratic overnment exists to”

          Oh, I love these “democracy is t3h ru13z0rz” arguments. Democracy is the tyranny of the masses, pal. Thank goodness we don’t live in a true democracy, else the problems we’re currently having with the government would be much worse by now.

          Here’s hoping that’s the last time you “respond” to me by attacking things I didn’t say and “facts” that aren’t true.

      • #3344441

        Look with an open mind

        by randy_fox ·

        In reply to real value

        I’d like to add apoteon’s response a very recent undertaking that has helped me feel better about the value I’ve added not just to my company but to society at large (I’ve also wrestled with some of the same issues that packratt has so this thread really hits home).

        We’ve all heard about the Tsunami and the devastation it has caused in Southeast Asia. One of the individuals in our company is from Sri Lanka and decided to go back and do what he could to help his homeland. Before he left he launched an email campaign to gather support. Through this campaign, he raised enough to purchase:
        ? Milk Powder for infants
        ? Medicine – mostly antibiotics
        ? Water purification pumps
        ? Approximately 300,000 water purification tablets
        ? Toys and clothing (much of which was donated by U.S. children for the children in Sri Lanka).

        Where do I fit into the picture? I’ve spent most of my years here building and supporting the email infrastructure. That infrastructure is what allowed his campaign to start. Without my years if blood, sweat, and tears, he wouldn’t have been able to do what was needed, when it was needed. He didn’t have to worry about the email network but was able to focus on the real crisis and what he could do help. My efferts went in long before there was a crisis but the effects will stay around for a long, long time.

        You have to be pretty thick-skinned sometimes in this job but sometimes, if you look hard enough with an open mind, we are having a positive impact on society.

        • #3326034

          unforseen consequences

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Look with an open mind

          Indeed, that’s so. Often, your greatest contributions are things you never see coming before they get here.

          I tend to think of anything that supports a free and open Internet “culture” as a Good Thing. I appreciate the effort you, and hundreds or thousands like you, have put into directly supporting the infrastructure for that.

    • #3291937

      Yes, Packratt you are important.

      by luther49 ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      Dear Packratt,

      You are important, even though your company may remind you that you are not part of their profit center. Because without an IT personnel your company would go out of business. You think you are not saving them money, but in reality you are saving them a ton of money. Isn’t saved money earned money? If you are working for a large company the results of you keeping their network running smoothly can save them thousands of dollars just through their use of e-mail. Packratt, because you are a Linux Administrator means your are familiar in writing scripts and C++ code to perform some of the various tasks required on a LINUX/UNIX type of network. How do you think the users on your network would feel if there weren’t anyone there to answer the questions or solve their problems with software or hardware.

      The skills that you have developed in networking make you part of the one percent of the people in the world who are truly technical individuals. Their are many networks but only the few with knowledge to manage those networks. Most end users do not even have a clue in what it takes to make their jobs easier when they use their desktop applications.

      Have a great day!


      • #3344453

        Fully agreed

        by bmwwaterman ·

        In reply to Yes, Packratt you are important.

        80 to 90% of the users out there can not do what you do. And that percentage may be higher. Our knowledge is vase over many many areas. How vast will depend on many factors. If you in the admin role, you are behind the scenes. If you are in desktop support, then most, if not all the users know of you or about you. You could be a celebrity so to speak. Then sometimes they love you one moment (when they get a new desk or laptop) and hate you the next (when something doesn’t work right).

        Without you or someone like you, they could not do their job. Most peoples job are directly tied to a computer. And there are times when they don’t work like they are supposed to (be it their fault or something else).

        And my job. Well, the buck stops at my desk. It’s my job to make sure the PC get’s fixed one way or another when the other techs can’t get the job done. I usually don’t have to remind them what to do. But anyway, I usually find a way to do that also. That is unique too or should I say experienced…

        Hold your head up high. Just because others don’t see your worth, it doesn’t mean they are correct.

    • #3291876

      As this thread has developed…

      by amcol ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      …the question in your original posting appears to be disingenuous.

      You started by asking how to define the value of your efforts as an IT professional, but you’ve turned this into a referendum on morality. The connection between the two concepts is tenuous, at best.

      With all due respect I think you’re spending too much time contemplating your navel. These kinds of questions might have been fun to kick around back in the day with the other undergrads while gazing at the stars in an elevated state of consciousness, but you (and the rest of us) are in the real world now.

      Value comes in many forms. You do your job, you make money and support your family, you put out quality products and services (either personally or as part of a group) that makes other’s lives easier or better, you act as a positive role model for all with whom you come in contact…you’ve provided one heck of a lot of value. Do you really need to know any more than that? There’s no unit of value measurement, so there’s no way to keep score.

      Is what you do as an IT professional moral, immoral, or amoral? The question has no answer. How do you define morality? Do you operate as a member of a civilized society, behaving according to the laws and customs of that society? In that case, you’re moral, or at least moral enough. Are you perfect? None of us is, nor are we expected to be. Do you occasionally do something or participate in some activity that could be considered immoral, or amoral (I assume you know the difference)? Probably. Does that make you any less of a moral person? Not in my view.

      Can you provide value and at the same time be moral? Certainly. Can you provide value and at the same time be immoral, or amoral? Again, certainly. Is there a connection between the two? I think not. Does it matter?

      At the end of the day, if I’m satisfied that I’ve provided value and have behaved in an ethical fashion (not to introduce yet another concept into the mix) then in my view it’s been a good day. My family’s well fed, my customers are happy, and I have a sense of accomplishment.

      What more do you want?

      • #3298097

        What about value in terms of…

        by cloudedyoda ·

        In reply to As this thread has developed…

        IT ppl put so much effort to solve problems in the world. And the management gets all the money and probably takes the credit?

        How could one gain job satisfaction after knowing that you learn so much and become analytical just to get paid lower (sometimes much lower) than the ppl from management who play politics the whole day. I’ve this theory that “the higher you go, the more evil you are”.

        • #3297992

          Yoda…………..your right

          by dafe2 ·

          In reply to What about value in terms of…

          “I’ve this theory that “the higher you go, the more evil you are”. ”

          Hate to tell you this…..but it’s not theory.

          I’ll try to keep this short. I started a business about 15 years ago. I had the illusion that Business owners where, well, the best kind of people. (Morals ethics etc…)

          I gotta tell you, some of them are. But most of them are just really screwed up…..big time. Most of them have the morals of a caged rat, just like most mid-management in big Business or Government. Nice huh?

          Just keep your ‘head on straight’ and don’t worry about cash……….it truly means nothing.

        • #3301718

          Thanks dafe

          by cloudedyoda ·

          In reply to Yoda…………..your right

          It’s nice to know that we share the same view.

          If you don’t mind, I’m interested to know what sort of business you are doing and how is it going?

          I’m a fresh graduate myself and often find myself confused about my future. On one hand, I like IT and like the idea of providing elegant solution as a software engineer. On the other, I fear that when my prime time is over, maybe 10-20 years later, I will become obsolete and replaced by young ones. I may keep my skills updated but I may not convince “evil” HR/Management ppl to hire me. It is a norm that IT turnover is very high, so I’m not disillusioned by the fact that I can stick to a company for decades.

          After much thought, one would think we either go up (team leader/project manager) or be your own boss in order to be able to feed my family (in the future). I’m open to either one but I know I’ll be more contented with being my own boss (probably less evil).

        • #3301681

          Hi again Yoda

          by dafe2 ·

          In reply to Thanks dafe

          I’ve since sold that business & now strictly consult. I assist Large Business & Government in implementing MS & HP Product using ITIL principles & Six Sigma processes. (We) are also a SAP & PeopleSoft shop.

          (IMO)Your being a Software Engineer will provide you a very bright future.

          Along with maintaining your valuable technical skills, concentrate on developing your people skills – Nothing in IT today is more valuable than people or selling skills.

          Selling/people skills will follow you forever & will help develop your personal & professional life. Although you don’t get a ‘cert’ for that skill, you do tend to get a nice circle of good friends & lots of laughs…………if done properly….you’ll be surprised at how many doors open for you at that point. 🙂


          I (think) I have a few years on you & I’m still confused about the future from time to time….that particular feeling doesn’t go away no matter what you do, but laughter helps 😉

        • #3297948

          Of course

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to What about value in terms of…

          If you are at the apex of a pyramid of people.
          They are supporting you.
          You are standing on them.

          The best you can ask of them is that they place their feet carefully and preferably wear soft shoes.

        • #3318470

          Yup, also:

          by dafe2 ·

          In reply to Of course

          Especially no Wingtips and stay the hell away from my ‘boys’!

          Batch Abends weren’t my issues & I could care less about accruals. 🙂

    • #3344575

      IT in Development

      by mharthanoi ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      I have spent 6 years as an IT worker in the developing work (and am just heading off on another 18 month assignment). While it can be difficult to manage in terms of children and is disruptive in terms of the constant moving, I have found it tremendously rewarding and worthwhile. From helping a Catholic diocese use desktop publishing software to publish their own paper, setting up a bulletin board for a network of social services, designing a web-site and databases for a commmunity development organistion, to helping set-up a small network, I feel that all these activities have actually helped make the communities or organisations I worked make a difference. Not in terms of the bottom line, but in terms of the delivery of their servies. My next assignment is working on a project to develop a Health Information System in a country where medical records are still predominantly paper-based. There are IT jobs out there that do contribute to making the world a better place; you just to think outside of the box and look to organisations that are not just about making a profit, but are about making a difference in people’s lives. I think that is the key.

    • #3344567

      Lack of CTO recognition.

      by robmc ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      The ability of the emerging CTO role to ascend to his / her rightful role as as an integral part of your companies strategic direction initiative will go a long way in defining the value added component of your work to the ongoing success of your company.To grow companies need to either increase profitability or to reduce the cost factor of doing business, both directions are extremely difficult without the deployment of the required level of technological assistance.

      Try to increase your interactions with the business component of your company to fully understand its objectives and vision of the future, and thereby assist in becoming a proactive source of information as to how technology can assist in the achievement of these goals.


      Rob McKee

    • #3344566

      IT is vital

      by jose.morales ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      From my experience working in IT:
      1. The users of IT (non IT workers) can’t understand our role… but they don’t have to.
      2. The IT “expenses” helps the companies to offer more value to their customers.
      3. The IT “expenses” helps employees to be ready for change and to be closer to technologies that can help them to improve their quality of life.
      4. The IT professionals have a huge complex… and is related with the “low value” the others feels about our work. That complexy makes us to be reactive instead of pro-active.
      5. Without IT… you know what the world would be missing.
      6. Our career depends on us on the place where we work… so to choose the right place is also important.
      7. There are other ways to help and make a change to this world.. and it is not necessarily connected with our work

      • #3344559

        You are maybe just a fly in the food chain…

        by expert-in-spe ·

        In reply to IT is vital

        but the chain would be broken without you. Be humble and understand that you cannot understand everything because the picture is too big….

        think about the guys who created SMS:
        they were making something cool for kids. What a neat little service, but of no real value right?

        After the Tsunami in SAsia many people contacted their families in Europe over SMS to let them know that they got out of the flood waters alive. that was real value and thousands of nights sleep were saved. Moreover some of them started to organise relief efforts and send out calls for help via SMS….

        I don’t think you know your value until disaster strikes and if disaster never strikes in your time there, you may never know it. Maybe your job seems meaningless and tedious but there is a reason why it is needed. Try having more respect for yourself and your work. it’s up to you.

    • #3344564

      You get to say

      by mgtucker ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      You get to say whether you bring value or not. It is up to each of us to bring value our employers expect/appreciate AND we can live with.

      If everyone questioned whether our efforts add value or not, then did what shows up as next to do, we would all be happier. Take a stand for value, share that stand with others, and celebrate your accomplishments. Be available to give clarity to those who are emulating you.

      Never look back.

    • #3344553

      Job.bak can be worthwhile

      by johnofstony ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      If you don’t feel that working in IT is worthwhile but it’s where your skills, experience and earning power lie, unless you dislike your work, why not try a secondary job (job.bak) which you do feel worthwhile. I do a little private tutoring in maths and science; the work I do in IT will be obsolete in 10 years time but the help I’ve given to school children in progressing through school will last them a lifetime – definitely worthwhile work. This also has the bonus of preventing me becoming dependent on state benefit (or friends & family) should I become unemployed. There is also the voluntary sector although that doesn’t have the last bonus mentioned.

    • #3344551

      You ain’t the only one out there…..

      by dfacer ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      IT in the Corporate world will always be a “$$ vacuum” and be treated as such, because the corporate world is run by bean-counters – they will NEVER see any advantage in IT….or be VERY cautious in admitting so. IT has had a bad name over the years because of this attiltude. Insufficient funding for staffing, overworking of existing staff etc all stem from this attitude. People would rather put up with a problem on their PC, rather than PAY to have a professional fix it. When they are FORCED to get someone in, that person is INNUNDATED with long term problems – and are expected to provide solutions, where a re-load (shudder from customer) is really the only answer. Not even mechanics get this attitude. THEY GET GRATITUDE, until it comes time to pay the bill.
      You need a VERY thick skin to survive in the corporate IT world…..and I’m afraid to say – DON’T expect to make any radical changes, because you are fighting head-on with the most conservative core of Big Business – the accountants!

      • #3344535

        I agree

        by jsdutcher69 ·

        In reply to You ain’t the only one out there…..

        we are in a VERY thankless situation working in the IT field. When everything is up and working 100%, everyone thinks we do nothing. When anything comes crashing down, they want our heads on a platter. MOST people do not realize that these are machines, and machines break. NO ONE questions a car when it breaks down all the sudden, but when a PC crashes, they want answers because the IT field is “perfect” in their eyes. I work as a network administrator and most corporate people do realize how hard it is to keep a network, pc’s, printers, server from crashing, being hacked into or just up and running. I have learned to have a very thick skin and if it wasn’t for IT, these people that think we are worthless will still be using paper and pen and working even harder.

    • #3344538

      Someday we may all be held accountable

      by -fearless- ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      I worked for a number of years for a major computer mfg. and had access to research and development projects. In the beginning some of the technologies were exciting, but near the end of my time there the research seemed to turn much more ominous.

      Someday I am afraid we may all be held accountable for the work that we did in bringing about technologies that are used against society rather than for it.

    • #3344537

      The difference

      by igor948 ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      Working in the healthcare field for the last 5 years as a computer person, my fast response and good work help people get the medical treatment that they need on a timely basis.

      I’m sure that you don’t realize the indirect impact that you have on people. Even if it is just your time and kind words. Kindness goes out from the center like a ripple and something seemingly as minor as your interaction with others can have a great impact!

    • #3344532

      IT Career!

      by viennamicro ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      The focus of my work in the IT arena is two fold – providing tools to control processes and analyzing historical information. I use technology to do the routine, repetitive (mundane?) things of life, allowing people to do what they do best – make informed decisions.

      One of the big challenges I face every day is providing management their small sip from the fire hose of data. Each wants something different and equally important.

      How stable is my career? Only two of 2,500 employees at my location can do what I do. I’ve had a lousy boss while in this position, and I now have a GREAT boss. I know that your supervision can make a real impact upon your attitude. You can make an even bigger impact yourself.

      Fortunately, I also work for a company that promotes from within and promotes in place. When applied to a level playing field, that makes all the difference in the world. We’ve gone through the outsourcing fling and discovered that it cost us our core IT skills. We are now returning to the in-house path for our true core IT requirements both managerial and technical.

      Do I love my job? You bet.

      Am I glad I chose an IT career? You bet and I’d do it again in a heart beat.

      It really boils down to the three great principles of life:


    • #3344530

      There is sanity in this world

      by mlbelem ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      My Dear Sir,
      Thanks to make me fell my sanity again.
      I tought that I was a lost man in earth thinking about this, but I do understand that the sucess ot IT will be when it can be consumed like water.
      Best Regards
      M. Belem

    • #3344528


      by -bw- ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      Of course IT is an honorable career, why wouldn’t it be? The positions that are worrysome are poloticians, lawyers and insurance companies. If you are truely searching for jobs with corruption and scandel, look into those areas and leave IT alone.
      BTW; if it wasn’t for IT employees, how would all those exec’s be checking their email and stock quotes?

    • #3344526

      Good of the many outweighs…

      by mushunjem ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      I guess I know what you mean when you really analyse I.T as a cost centre oposed to it being REALLY of any help to everyone or rather the larger percentage. However I would beg to differ with you, I for one also entered into this relm of the unexpected looking to do more good than harm and in real terms I guess I have or rather i think I.T is doing more harm than good. Look at it this way….

      In the whole world how many countries are really kneck high into I.T ? Truthfully speaking not that many, I.T proffessionals are a rare breed, I am an I.T proffessionalin Southeren Africa and the work I do gets the MASSES who are truthfully in dire straits what they want and when they want it. Take for example, many here suffer fromthe H.I.V virus and do not know where to get any available help from, I have created websites that deal with specific problems like AIDS orphans, A.R.V’s and so on,the number of people who have been helped with that information I will never know but I guess here that they are more than those who have lost jobs that they probably hated anyway.

      I believe we (I.T proffessionals) have the power to help or destroy,and I choose the first option and I suppose many do too…. I guess i could have never changed your mind had it not been for I.T because you would be there… feeling bad about all the GOOD you are worth.

      Keep up the good work guys

    • #3344527

      Good of the many outweighs…

      by mushunjem ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      I guess I know what you mean when you really analyse I.T as a cost centre oposed to it being REALLY of any help to everyone or rather the larger percentage. However I would beg to differ with you, I for one also entered into this relm of the unexpected looking to do more good than harm and in real terms I guess I have or rather i think I.T is doing more harm than good. Look at it this way….

      In the whole world how many countries are really kneck high into I.T ? Truthfully speaking not that many, I.T proffessionals are a rare breed, I am an I.T proffessionalin Southeren Africa and the work I do gets the MASSES who are truthfully in dire straits what they want and when they want it. Take for example, many here suffer fromthe H.I.V virus and do not know where to get any available help from, I have created websites that deal with specific problems like AIDS orphans, A.R.V’s and so on,the number of people who have been helped with that information I will never know but I guess here that they are more than those who have lost jobs that they probably hated anyway.

      I believe we (I.T proffessionals) have the power to help or destroy,and I choose the first option and I suppose many do too…. I guess i could have never changed your mind had it not been for I.T because you would be there… feeling bad about all the GOOD you are worth.

      Keep up the good work guys

    • #3344524

      What If?

      by mark101 ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      There are some jobs that we can say are directly harmful to people and society; bank robbery, hit man, murderer, etc. One could make an argument that IT causes harm because it takes away jobs because it increases efficiency.. If we continue that line of thought, should we say that the people who should not develop the large farm equipment or the farmer should not use it because he could then employ people to pick his crops by hand?

      I am not trying to minimize the argument. We should regularly examine what we do and why we do it. It can help us either to gain new appreciation for what we do or motivate us to find either another career that would satisfy that need or at least a new employer. Sometimes it may not be what we are doing, but who are doing it for or why we are doing it. If our goal is to build our own ego, then a job in which you are the person working behind the scenes so that others can work, be employed, concentrate on their job strengths, etc will probably not be satisfying to you. Sometimes I may work in an industry that does not thrill me, but yet I enjoy developing systems that allow my company to venture into new areas knowing that is going to help keep people employed and possibly employ new people or even just help make their job a little easier.

    • #3344522

      My contribution in IT

      by dak1 ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      I know that if it were not for my running the company IT department, there would likely BE no company. The Boss has no idea as to what to do with a computer other than starting and using the programs he needs for doing his job. There are things about the day-to-day that only I know, in my small to medium sized company.

      There are so many things that would be nearly impossible to accomplish if not for IT.

      Derek Kidder

    • #3344521

      Slow but steady!

      by lottoman ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      Hi Packratt,
      Well perhaps it has chilled a bit, but I think you still have some value, as we all do. At least on the front lines of IT, there is evidence that people still appreciate that we are there. Those folks that don’t have the time or the knowledge to setup there Palm Pilot, or clean a mouse, or order a new one, etc. Or even how to make their email behave the way they want it. The thanks they offer when the job is done helps to ease the pain of neglect from higher management.
      I think perhaps management is looking at the fact that in the years before Y2K, IT groups “cried wolf”, and the wolf really didn’t make itself felt at all. Now in the years after Y2K, management looks at IT as a liability. But it’s up to each and everyone of us to make it what it should be again!

      Good luck!

    • #3344520

      Good of the many outweighs…

      by mushunjem ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      I guess I know what you mean when you really analyse I.T as a cost centre oposed to it being REALLY of any help to everyone or rather the larger percentage. However I would beg to differ with you, I for one also entered into this relm of the unexpected looking to do more good than harm and in real terms I guess I have or rather i think I.T is doing more harm than good. Look at it this way….

      In the whole world how many countries are really kneck high into I.T ? Truthfully speaking not that many, I.T proffessionals are a rare breed, I am an I.T proffessionalin Southeren Africa and the work I do gets the MASSES who are truthfully in dire straits what they want and when they want it. Take for example, many here suffer fromthe H.I.V virus and do not know where to get any available help from, I have created websites that deal with specific problems like AIDS orphans, A.R.V’s and so on,the number of people who have been helped with that information I will never know but I guess here that they are more than those who have lost jobs that they probably hated anyway.

      I believe we (I.T proffessionals) have the power to help or destroy,and I choose the first option and I suppose many do too…. I guess i could have never changed your mind had it not been for I.T because you would be there… feeling bad about all the GOOD you are worth.

      Keep up the good work guys

    • #3344519

      Good of the many outweighs…

      by mushunjem ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      I guess I know what you mean when you really analyse I.T as a cost centre oposed to it being REALLY of any help to everyone or rather the larger percentage. However I would beg to differ with you, I for one also entered into this relm of the unexpected looking to do more good than harm and in real terms I guess I have or rather i think I.T is doing more harm than good. Look at it this way….

      In the whole world how many countries are really kneck high into I.T ? Truthfully speaking not that many, I.T proffessionals are a rare breed, I am an I.T proffessionalin Southeren Africa and the work I do gets the MASSES who are truthfully in dire straits what they want and when they want it. Take for example, many here suffer fromthe H.I.V virus and do not know where to get any available help from, I have created websites that deal with specific problems like AIDS orphans, A.R.V’s and so on,the number of people who have been helped with that information I will never know but I guess here that they are more than those who have lost jobs that they probably hated anyway.

      I believe we (I.T proffessionals) have the power to help or destroy,and I choose the first option and I suppose many do too…. I guess i could have never changed your mind had it not been for I.T because you would be there… feeling bad about all the GOOD you are worth.

      Keep up the good work guys

    • #3344515

      is IT worth it?

      by tjclairmont ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      Well if you’re looking for that certain job that will give you fulfillment, keep looking. You’ll probably never fimd it. Most IT jobs are just a way of paying the bills and being able to have a lifestyle that is above giving people straws with their drink. I’ve been in the IT field for over 20 years and of course it’s not what it used to be, but life in the USA is different for us all. If you don’t like your job, go on your own. Start your own business. You don’t need a business degree, just great people skills and better than basic IT skills. If you don’t know how to support a certain customer or situation, there are ways to link up with others that will work for half pay just to get the work. All you need is a good 6-10 clients to get you going. Talk to other independants. That road isn’t easy either, but the hours and the income are more up to you.

    • #3344512

      The IT Scale will shift back to again find a balance.

      by jo.marchand ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      I’ve been in the IT business for 25 years and like any industry any major event has a huge impact. There were two in IT. I believe what we’re experiencing is fallout from Y2K and the .com fiasco.
      Many organizations worked to mitigate Y2K risks for years (late 80’s through the 90’s. Then IT took a break (they had to)through 2000 and 2001. Huge investments were made. Some question the value of this work … Was Y2K really all hype? Or the other side of the coin, IT did such a good job at risk mitigation, the catastrophies predicted didn’t occur.
      Then there was the .com nightmare which undermined confidence in the industry. So IT is re-establishing its credibility.
      Through these ups and downs I’ve manage to find my own measures of success … primarily through understanding the value I bring to the customer (then to the company I work for). I’m presently working in healthcare and can confirm that, without a doubt, the social benefits are priceless.

    • #3344510

      I seem to have a rare opportunity compared to some.

      by plym8d ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      If you want to get rich, work regular hours and always feel appreciated then IT is definitely not the job for you!

      I am a systems administrator at a community college and I?d like to think that I am having a positive impact for a lot of people. I think that education is really important in today?s job market and I am very excited (and proud) to be a part in it.

      Our department (while under appreciated by staff) supports about 1500 PCs/servers, over 600 staff and approximately 7000 students in a multi-campus environment. Hundreds of classes are taught in our computer labs and the teacher?s ability to provide instruction is directly proportionate to our department?s ability to maintain the network and the resources provided by it.

      I also support a regional workforce development center which works directly with local manufactures to give specific skills to prospective employees. The companies get workers that can do the job and people get jobs that pay a decent wage.

      I feel that I am having a positive affect for those students which graduate and get better jobs or go on a 4 year institution. I am part of a system which helps them to achieve their dreams. If it appears that I have bought into the political line of education, maybe I have. But I can say that when I get up in the morning, I am thinking ?What do I get to do at work today?? not ?Why should I go to work??

      I think that my job and my work are worthwhile!

    • #3344506

      The meaning of life

      by featherman ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      I know much of what I’m about to write has been covered (or at least touched upon) by other posters, so I do apologize for any redundancy…

      As previously stated, the object is to work to live, not live to work: your employment should be the means by which you fund the balance of your lifes’ activities… If you are (as I am) fortunate enough to love what you do, the fact that your average state of mind will be better than that of someone who hates to go to work in the morning is in and of itself a contribution to the state of humanity.

      There is a saying which I’m sure all (or at least most) of us have heard: “Think globally; act locally”. If your actions toward the people with whom you interact over the course of the day are respectful and courteous, your surroundings will benefit (not to mention the state of your own health!). If you are also able to specificaly perform some action, large or small, which benefits humanity as a whole, or even some small part thereof, the world is, again, a better place.

      One thing to consider: why not use your IT expertise to “better mankind”? I’m sure that you will agree, computers are a necessity to be able to compete in today’s job market, whether looking for employment, or actually working… One of the things I have done is refurbish used computers, obtained at garage sales, thrift stores or swap meets (flea markets) for $10.00 – 25.00 – not state of the art, but capable of running an operating system and a word processor, and donate them to a local Goodwill, Salvation Army, Mustard Seed (fill in the name of your local favorite assistance organization…) and also training time, to allow the displaced , the homeless, recovering substance abusers, abused women and/or children, etc… to obtain something they would not otherwise be able to afford, and the training needed to operate it.

      Just my $0.02

    • #3344503

      This is called life…..

      by chaslbolt ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      You are apparently young. I’m 58 and have held several jobs – one for 28 years. Life has taught me that most companies are as you describe. But then, isn’t that why we hire ourselves out… to make a buck? When you accept the fact that life is thankless from those we deal with, but priceless within ourselves, you will begin to enjoy life. You can’t look at others to provide self-worth, you have to look inside yourself. Everything you do, affects someone.. the question is how? When you return home at the end of the day, and can say you made someone feel better, or you came up with a new idea, then you know, you made a difference.. and can be proud and feel good – so then, pat yourself on the back!

    • #3344502


      by theundertaker ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      I differ in my opinion from the mainstream. I believe if you do what you enjoy, you will become good at it. Once you are good at it, you will rise to the top. Once there, you can see clearly to make future decisions. I know that life is rarely fair, so you need to be in control of your own destiny.
      Here is what I mean. If you want to be a programmer, you should love to code. You will become better, seek out opportunities to get better, and your skill set will grow. A bigger skill set means greater worth to the firm. Here is the challenge, “the firm” might be your current or another firm. That is up to you. The one thing you need to do is be realistic in your expectations. If you want $100k a year base, you will need to either contract yourself or start your own gig (and know more than Visual Basic). There are high paying jobs out there, you just need to make yourself marketable. That is your job, nobody elses. You make your own value, you also make your own opportunities. YOUR in control of YOUR life. You need to either accept this, or reject it. Your in charge of your future.

    • #3344499

      Jobs don’t create value, people can

      by netpro2551 ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      I work for a very large corporation in field desktop support. In my life I have been the big boss, the middle boss, even the little boss.At times I have been in the position to hire and fire many people, I have directed investment and purchasing which has had a very positive impact on those affected and I have had creative roles in which I was critical to the development of product that had significant impact on people’s lives.

      It would be easy to say this is one of the least important and influencial positions I have ever filled.

      In fact, I have never been more proud of my performance or challenged by the task. It could be seen as simple and minor repair, but it has become the most rewarding of jobs. I deal with people. I make their day better or worse by my attitude and willingness to put myself in their shoes, I initiate change from the insight I gain and I empower the people around me to know that they can change anything they put their mind and heart to.

      The tasks are just the tasks and the industry is just where I am planted. The real value is what I bring to it. I am well paid and that enables me, but I add the value.

    • #3344488

      Reply To: Real Value of IT Work?

      by the admiral ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      I think you hit the nail on the head with this. Information Systems are not worth being bothered with unless they have a problem with it.

      Many CEO’s, CFO’s, and CIO’s don’t care as long as everything works, and they would trim as much as they can from the budget until they have to wait 16 hours on the phone for support in India to pick up.

      The value is shot since most if not all of the executives and management look at IT as minimum wage, unskilled labor. So take it as you will. But when the system goes down I get emergency calls, they have to pay my price.

    • #3344487

      The gift of time

      by ec_rod ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      We always wished that there was more time to do the things we want to do, things that matters. In our industry, we have a great potential to “create” time by freeing up the time that’s been saved by the technological and software advances that we make when applied to the existing tasks. It is up to us how we make use of that extra time.

    • #3344479

      5 Years of School Wasted?

      by gary_joanne ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      I’ve been in school for about the last 5 years seeking an education in IT. I’ve obtained my Associates degree in Computer Information Systems, gotten certification in PC Help Desk Specialist, PC Repair Specialist, MS Office Specialist and about ready to graduate with my BAS in Computer Information Systems, certifications in Database Administration and Web Administration. I build, repair and sell custom computers out of my home and recently closed my online computer hardware ecommerce site. And why?

      As I see it lately, I feel as though I’ve been wasting these recent years getting a degree in a dying field. The good jobs have been outsourced and though we have a president who encourages this, the idiot people voted him back in. In my opinion, everyone who voted for Bush can only blame themselves for being out of work.

      Studying Economics over the past year, it’s predicted that this coming June, our economy in the US will be back to how it was before Sept 11th. We will see?

      Now what do I do after spending the last 5 years educating myself in a dying field? At middle age, go on to working at McDonalds for $7-8 an hour or unloading trucks at a little more money than that and how long would my body last doing that work?

      I don’t have a lot of hope as I approach graduation. Now I’m at the point of learning all these new IT skills in a book, yet I’ve not had the opportunity to apply any of these skills? What are my chances of getting an Entry Level position while there are tons of skilled IT workers out of work?

      I’m Lost!

      • #3344455

        Your own fault

        by masteraaron ·

        In reply to 5 Years of School Wasted?

        First off you chose your own field of expertise! So you have no one to blame but yourself. IT Technology has been over inflated for more than 5 years. As per the whole Outsource problem this is not president Bush’s fault this started back during the Clinton days when they allowed free trade with China. I am an Economist and every time a demon-cat gets into office they do the tax and spend and by the end of there terms it always spirals into the pits, then a conservative comes into office and get the economy restarted. Everyone turns a blind eye and blames the conservative party. The people have spoken and they are tried of the minority telling the majority what to do. If you do have degree at the end you will much more equipped to get a position, but without experience in the field you will have to take the lowest of positions which is normally Help Desk. But it is a great start, and will take about 10 years to reach a Network/Admin position with the pay that goes with it. I don’t cry over spilled milk, I had the crappiest jobs even for IT for over 10 years. I was off work for over 1 1/2 year but didn’t blame Clinton or Bush…we all look for excuses. I finally found a place to work and have been working for 3 years now and didn’t get good pay till this year. I have worked in this industry for over 15 years. Patience and perseverance is what you need. I wish you the best of luck in your endeavor to find a job. But keep the politics out of your posts about jobs due to the fact that most real admistrators are conservative and don’t want to share there money with rest of the people who want a free ride. I do ask in a interview about a persons’ views in an interview and I tend only to hire shelf motivate people if get my point.

        Manager of Information Systems

        • #3344393

          Thanks aaron, but facing reality creates positive change

          by gary_joanne ·

          In reply to Your own fault

          I agree with most of what you’ve said aaron and appreciate the feedback, but facing the reality of what exists, creates positive change. Sure, I’ve got some hands on experience, I program, I maintained a LAN network for over 1-year, run my own ecommerce site, design Web pages, do technical support out of my home and maintain a small income at home, but lets look at the facts. You can say leave politics out of it, but clearly you must have been one to vote for Bush. That’s okay and some of what he does is good. I’m not a Democrate of Republican, I’m for the person who does the best for our country and I don’t really care who that is as long as it’s our best interest as Americans who is gaining. Clearly things need to be done. Instead of rewarding people for outsourcing, tax them so that it makes more common sense to keep the business(workers) here employed. I’ve got friends who were/are programmers making decent money, yet now, they outsource the programming for low prices. I go to help people be repairing their equipment and at times, I’ve had to call my customers tech support for their broken down equipment and I sit on the phone for hours and when I do get someone on the phone, it’s someone in India who I have no idea what he/she is saying. As with most of my customers, I get the response, (I’ve had it with them! Every time I call them, I can’t understand them!). That seems to be the overall concensus in that area. Reality is, I’m somewhat thankful for that because it’s been keeping me into some sort of income on the side. It doesn’t matter who’s in office, who does what, but I will say that changes need to happen for positive change to affect the IT world. Businesses are scared to invest in the IT departments because they don’t know whether they will go broke tomorrow. In other words, tight with their money. Now, tell me I’m wrong? And, before IT, I was a manager for over 15-years and in charge of hiring and firing, I never brought in a persons views other than what they felt they had to offer on the job.

    • #3344478

      Re: Real Value of IT Work

      by cigarguy29 ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      I think if you are looking for real value in IT work, you may want to start thinking about consulting, programming, or starting your own business. In todays business world, IT workers are only as good as they bottom line that they help produce or, as you said, the amount of money they can save a company.
      It is like IT has become the new VAVE Dept. of the 21st Century.
      Maybe it is not what kind of work you are doing, but who you are doing it for and why?
      My whole reason for doing this kind of work was to have a career that would allow me to work part-time on up into my pre-retirement years and hopefully do a lot of consulting work. I’m shooting for early retirement no matter what.


    • #3344476

      Do some good during off-times (to start with)

      by rolf gitt ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      I think IT is still an intersting career. Every career has its ups and downs. In terms of contributing to the greater good of humankind – I think that depends on your perspective. We can’t all be social workers, or Red Cross workers, but perhaps becoming a volunteer on a suicide prevention line, or something like that, can help you perceive that you are doing something for the “greater good”.
      Or perhaps, staying in an IT vein, get involved with ensuring that the poorer in society have a chance at education (perhaps through computer based distance education) via libraries, etc… there are ways to volunteer to make these ideas a reality.
      The key to life is balance (it’s NOT just a cliche!!). You need to find something that makes you feel that you are contributing – something beyond the walls of your cubicle or office. I don’t think you have to give up your day job to make a contribution. Start by volunteering somewhere/anywhere. It may take you to a whole new career – your IT skills may come in handy as an “enabler” for some volunteer project…who knows where things could lead?….

    • #3344474

      What kind of liberal crap is this?

      by anarchocapitalist ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      I didn’t get into IT to save the world; I got into IT because I enjoyed working with computers–plus, I was pretty good at it.

      Stop being so jealous of wealthy people who worked hard, and took a lot of risks, to get where they are.

      If you don’t like your situation, you are free to do what they did: 1) get a good education; 2) develop a business model; 3) secure financial backing; 4) fight through all of the governmental obstacles that get in the way of those who want to start a new business–and then deal with the IRS, OSHA, etc., on a continuing basis; 5) put together a logical layout for your building; 6) deal with hiring, firing and other human resource issues–and so on, and so forth.

      If you don’t have the time, drive, education or resources to do what your employer did, be grateful that he did; you wouldn’t have your current job, otherwise.

      As for saving the world, I can see a future where IT pros become the last line of defense for privacy and security. If that doesn’t trip your trigger, go hug some trees.

      • #3344418

        right on

        by admin17 ·

        In reply to What kind of liberal crap is this?

        Other than insinuating that IT workers are uneducated, I agree with you. There’s a lot of work to be done whether in IT or in CEx level management.

      • #3344411

        OUCH! That kinda hurt….

        by unclerob ·

        In reply to What kind of liberal crap is this?

        Your reply kinda hurt, I don’t think the original poster was looking for that kind of response and he was asking some decent questions. I wouldn’t call it liberal crap either, just an opinion given freely asking for some input from others in this line of work. You will say that your opinion was given freely too but there is a difference, he didn’t attack anyone with his original post he just asked some serious questions. I believe most people got into IT for the same reasons as you specified but I think it’s foolish to think everyone can hold on to & maintain that original feeling.

        I don’t think he ever said he was jealous or rich people, he’s just observant of the situation around him and I would wager that the same issues hold true in alot of different companies & organizations.

        Alot of the companies were working for are fortune 500 businesses, probably been around for decades or more and developed into the businesses they are today and as such probably didn’t have to go through that mess of red tape you mentioned. As much as we’ve gone forward, it’s probably harder today than any other time to start a successful business. Don’t stick up for rich people, they have lawyers for that kind of stuff and their lives are padded enough so they don’t require any additional defense. Another point to take into account is that it isn’t hard to question your work if you’ve ever been in the position of working for what you thought was a strong & vibrant company but turned out to be a cash cow for rich people who think they can rape a company and an industry dry (see Enron, Tyco, Worldcom, etc.) Do you know everything that your employer does, how honest are they, is it possibly that your company could be next? In such an age where companies fold faster than a deck of playing cards, it’s easy to question your work & your worth and your role in helping your employer possibly perform a similar feat.

        You probably don’t know about aspects of his personal nature like time, drive or education so you shouldn’t comment on those things either.

        As for privacy and security, it’s 2005 and it’s sad to say that we have none of those things on this connected planet we live in and it would be foolish to think you or other IT Pro’s can accomplish things like that. Information technology is such that our goal is provide the tools that provide access to information to ourselves, our peers, our employers, other businesses, the world, etc. In such an environment where the transfer of information is a constant you will never achieve total privacy & security. If Microsoft can’t do it what makes you think other “IT Pro’s” can. Whatever measures are in place to protect privacy & security, there will always be countermeasures to circumvent any protection available – that’s the flipside of human nature, on one side there are those that that try to help others, on the other side there are those that take advantage of others. Don’t fault anyone for questioning their current position and what they’re doing and where they fit in.

        As for the trees, it’s winter right now, once the snow melts, I may actually look for a tree to hug. You may want to try it yourself, I hear it’s quite “liberating” and maybe you need a hug.

        …That’s my 0.02 cents.

        • #3323852

          Good Grief

          by anarchocapitalist ·

          In reply to OUCH! That kinda hurt….

          Don’t go down the path of telling me what I “shouldn’t” comment on. I believe in people having the right to say what they feel. It’s an often overlooked little thing called “freedom of speech.”

          By the same measure, others are free to comment on, and even disagree with (gasp!), the things that I say. What’s good for me is good for them. I believe in equality and personal responsibility–something that is very lacking in our nanny-state culture.

          As for the rest of your comments, it seems as though you have a problem with “rich” people and companies, too. Sounds like you are the person who needs the hug.

          If you don’t care for your station in life, or your income level, do something to improve it. If you aren’t willing to work hard to achieve what you want, I don’t want to hear you whine about your circumstances.

          I may come across as a bit harsh, but I am sick and tired of lazy crybabies in this country, and liberals (socialists/communists) who want to use the power of government to steal from the producers to give to those who are content to leech. Every time I hear someone start to whine about things like this, it sets me off.

          As for the future, read over my comments again. I did not say that IT pros would be able to stop every little threat or attack. I simply believe that we may end up being the best hope, and last line of defense, for the future of privacy and security.

          Without us, what’s the alternative?

        • #3323827


          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Good Grief

          You’re hired.

      • #3326066

        Harsh, but fair.

        by colinfromthecrypt ·

        In reply to What kind of liberal crap is this?

        The title says it all.

    • #3344471

      The Mercenary Approach

      by psifiscout ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      I must admit that I have a unique situation where I work, I am retired military and I have apension to fall back on, so I have a little leverage when dealing with the hierarchy. I tell them what I need (always erring to the financial high cost side to give myself “wiggle” room). Then I tell them that either I get what I need or they won’t get what they want. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I have threatened to quit in the middle of projects, that gets their attention as well. But all that aside the key to happiness is that I always bear in mid that I will not get “personally” involved. I was looking for a job when I found the one I have and if this one goes away there will always be another. Also I am not tied to one particular job either, I work for a major Aerospace and Defense Corp and there is always work to be had. Today I may do network admin, tomorrow I could be doing graphic design, and after that, sweeping the floor, who knows. I simply remain mentally flexible but hold to my principles when dealing with the heirarchy. The worst they can do is fire me, but that would be their loss.

    • #3344469

      The best move is often the most difficult

      by shmuel66 ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      I have experienced many of the same feelings during my 14 years in IT. Sure, I’m supporting my family, but at the end of the day the best I could say I have accomplished was to help some sales folks sell more widgets faster. Not exactly world-changing.

      The best question seems to be “What do you like to do?” I love to teach and want to be more involved in mentoring of high school and college students, so it seemed that the only way for me to acquire a productive life was to get back to school. Of course, that would mean some hardship for my family as our income would be severely reduced and my home office would no longer suffice as my single place of work.

      I thought about this for a couple of years, all the while complaining of the lack of fulfillment in my life. Then I was laid off by my company – that was the best thing that could have happened! I started back to school Fall 2004 for a second Master’s and, hopefully, a Ph.D. in Sociology. I’m the 2nd oldest student in the departement, already have opportunity for mentoring and teaching and get along splendidly with the faculty – even those who are younger than me! My only regret is that I did not take this leap when I first knew that it was the right thing to do.

      I’m still consulting part-time in IT, and am fortunate to have a research assistantship through my university which pays a stipend large enough to pay the mortgage. By the time I start my core Ph.D. work, I hope to have completely backed out of IT. This may not be the answer for others who are seeking fulfillment, but I can tell you that my three daughters appreciate the fact that I have ceased to complain about work, am generally in a better mood when I am home and have more interesting things to talk about.

      The bottom line – decide what you want and do what you need to do to get there!

    • #3344468

      Maybe it’s time for a change

      by howard.silver ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      It sounds like you are looking for a career that is more fulfilling on a different level than you are currently working at. If you are trying to make a social difference, then it may be time for a change of career.

      By the way, I agree with all of the things you say about corporations and I have even told my children to look for other careers when you are ready to go to college and eventually enter the work force.

    • #3344467

      IT does nothing for the world

      by timeros ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      First let me say I think about 80% of the replies are on target. There are always many perspectives you can put on the issue. The bottom line is “IT” does nothing for the world, people do.

      In general I believe computers are part of the evolution of man. I think as technology progresses, it will become a partner and (in some cases) a companion.

      Helping people with technology in our time means designing technology that will help. (i.e. medical devices, food generators (I know . . ), etc) Ex. I have a friend with a BS is Psychology and a AS in Computer Science. He is writing a program that will assist Psycho Therapists in tracking and resolving mental patient issues. I consider that very noble, being a crazy person myself.

      Ofcourse, that doesn’t mean you can’t quit and do something different. I just say like everyone else, “find something you like and you’re good at. Do it well and everything else will fall into place”.

    • #3344462

      Value of IT vs. Value of Self

      by net_prof ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      As I read through the growing myriad of responses here, I think that some people are getting the Value of Self confused with the value of IT. Several of the responses explore what it takes to help one identify how to make one’s self feel better vs. what it takes to identify the value of IT. How identify the value of one’s self doesn’t just hinge on a single job or location, you have or may need to do this if you develop or are having doubts about who you are or what your role in the job market or your company really is. And there is an entire medical community out there that will be glad to help you with identifying the value of your self and related issues.

      To focus this response on IT really boils down to taking one action – ask yourself if the company removed all the computer equipment, servers, workstations and replaced them with basic phone systems, typewriters, paper & pens could your business still function. Chances are the answer is yes, but would it be as effecient or effective? The answer there is probably no and the business probably couldn’t continue to survive. IT is not going anywhere any time soon. The face of IT is changing partly because of outsourcing, but mostly because of the face of technology itself, but there is still a tremendous amount of activity and positions available for everyone. I was laid off from my last company back in August. I was an EDI/EC Manager. My boss had quit the May before that. The only person remaining is a young (22 yo) hacker type who claims to know how to run a business IT. However, the business has only gotten worse over the course of the last 2 or 3 months – they are now considering dropping their entire Retail sales division because this person does not know how to manage EDI (which used to account for 30% of total company orders and about 75% of Retail Sales orders), they are constantly having problems with their accounting system because it is SQL server based and he does not know how to properly manage the databases and the system it is installed on, etc., etc., etc. The point here is that all too often companies take IT for granted, but they do that with accounting and most other departments from time to time until some happens that helps identify the true worth or value of their services they are providing to the company as a whole.

      IT is definitely needed, but I will admit that the types and locations of the jobs are changing. The trend for outsourcing is/will be continuing until companies realize that there are a tremendous amount of hidden costs in not having onsite IT people. Some companies fail to realize that IT is much more than this set of hardware and software, thinking that just anyone can manage the system from virtually anywhere in the world. If you have noticed, lately there have already been some major reversals in this trend.

      As far as myself, I have joined forces with my former boss from my old company and started to market EDI, UCCnet and RFID services to several thousand companies regionally. There is a difference between the jobs, pay, hours and activity, but I’m staying with IT and ultimately, I feel the new position will have much greater rewards than the previous one did.

    • #3344461


      by cmiguel ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      Packratt, I’ve been where you are and I know for a fact that 99% of all people that work and have careers feel the same way you do. I?ve been in the business for 15 years now and even though the feeling of emptiness was in the back of my head for a long time, it wasn?t until 5 years ago that I knew for sure that I had made the wrong decision in getting into the IT field and thinking that a career was the answer to my problems, it was time for me to do something about it and I did. The problem is very simple, 99% of all people don?t know what they want out of life and a career is not the answer. Also, a huge percentage of these people are not earning enough money, and that also contributes to the problem.

      Of all the people that I have met throughout my career and working experience, none, have really shown that they are truly happy doing what they do or been where they are. Some people might tell you that they like what they do, and to a certain point that?s true, I believe people adjust and accept their defeat by saying things like that, but then you hear them talking about the lotto or that they wish they had money so they could do what they really love doing. It?s a fact of life that workers spend most of their time looking at the clock, thinking about their personal life and the things that really matter to them, waiting for break time to come, waiting for 5:00 o?clock to come so they can go home and do what they really love doing, than doing actual work.

      How do people at work spend most of their time? They spend it surfing, and wondering about other things not related to their jobs. How many times have you found yourself surfing the net looking for information and reading about things that really interest you?
      Why do you think companies have such a big problem with workers surfing the net, it?s very simple, people rather be doing what they like to do.

      Packratt, don?t waste another minute of your time, I know exactly how you feel and what you are thinking, you are reaching and crying out for help and that?s ok, listen to yourself. I urged you and anybody else here that wants to know how to get out of this vicious circle and wants to find their real purpose in their lives to contact me today.
      I can help you find what you are looking for.
      I?m still in the field, but working towards my goals and loving it.

      You might be asking what is it that I do.
      Well, basically I know that I have a gift; I know that I?m enlightened and I know that I can help people. I can troubleshoot the most complex computer and network problems with ease, and now I?m applying the same principle to people, I now troubleshoot people?s problems.

      I?m a self made guru on life, I study and practice the art of brainstorming and this is what interests me, besides other things that I like doing. I know why people are stuck doing what they do; I know that people are miserable doing what they do. I help people by showing them a different perspective. I troubleshoot and analyze people, I motivate them and reprogram them, and I love it.
      I make all my decisions base on logic, not religion or spirituality.

      I?m looking for computer experts that want to work independently and want to earn more for their skills.

      Carlos Miguel

    • #3344442

      Working in the public sector

      by dawuf ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      Your skill sets are needed in the public sector such as working for the State Agencies, Government and Charitable organizations. The hardest choice you will make is personal economy. These jobs generally pay a lot less than what you make in the private sector, but you would be making them more efficient at serving the public. Thus you would be contributing to the public good. Of course, teaching and some healthcare jobs (not all, nurses actually make a lot more then they used to) would also affect your bottom line as well. At least if you work in IT, you can keep your skill sets up should you choose to go back and work in the private sector. This choice becomes much harder when you have a family to consider as they will have to come along for the ride on your journey of self-discovery. Hard choice.

      Good Luck!

    • #3344437

      The Value is there, but the reward isn’t

      by jjlov ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      Of course it is a worthy job. The problem is in the eye of the beholder (that mythical/dnd monster), known as management. This country could not run itself without what we bring to the table.

      Current management philosophy says cut costs as the best way to maximize profits. They pour billions into advertising, marketing, give more away as sales incentives, rather than spend a penny on infrastructure, its support, or product development (there are notable exceptions).

      As to eliminating other’s jobs. My take from 25 years in the business is that we create more jobs than we eliminate (usually performed by the same people) and permit them to be performed in an easier, safer manner, all while increasing the productivity of those we work for – if they use us properly.

      The problem is is that management is largely uneducated as to IT and how to use it well. Likewise, (outside the tech market) the CTO is usually the step-child of the board and not a equal member, and is usally a bit out of date with regard to technology. The sure sign of this is parade of consultants brought in to do ‘studies’ and ‘position papers’. A parade of salesmen is a different thing entirely.

      Sure signs of good management – implementation of a single infrastructure platform, sane procurement policies, staff work hours, and staffing levels.

      Signs of bad management – more than two infrastructure platforms being supported; staff working averaging over 45 hrs/week/person; outsourced, off-site only IT support; low morale; integrated VOIP, wireless and networking backbone (because of bandwidth requirements, security, and failover issues) and missed/lost vacation by staff.

    • #3344432

      You ask a question that alot of people don’t even bother to ask themselves

      by unclerob ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      You ask a really good question, what kind of difference do we make in this world with the type of career path that we’ve chosen. Unless you’re involved in some sort of revolutionary new system that would improve worldwide communications or children’s education, medical technology, etc, etc. it’s hard to see the value in what IT does. Managing a network, deploying new pc’s, rebuilding or repairing old pc’s, educating users on how to perform a certain task on their pc, etc. doesn’t carry the same weight that a humanitarian focus effort would and for all intents and purposes it shouldn’t. If you’re in IT, you are just another cog in the corporate machine, helping the rich get richer – I don’t know of too many system admins, network admins, or PC Lan Technicians who are millionaires (none actually). I work for a company that has several offices & distribution centres across North America and all IT decisions are made from one office in the U.S. and I had a friend that worked there for several years, and let me tell you something, this guy was a brainiac, uber geek, whatever the term du jour is. He was a cisco genius, knew ms networking inside out (nt3.51, nt4, win2k, linux,etc.) he was responsible for our company’s entire conversion from our existing novell 4.x network architecture to a MS NT4.0 and later Win2k network, several hundred servers and 5000+ users later, he did it all, even stuff he didn’t know about, he would just pick up a book or two and say “yeah we can do that, no problem”. Whatever they wanted and asked for he gave it to them, whenever any of us other site admins had issues or problems, we’d just ring him up on the phone, tell him what’s going on and we’d be fixed that day either by him doing what needed to be done or educating us on how to fix the problems ourselves. On top of all of that, he’s a Super nice guy, very funny, has a wife & family with 3 kids, and on top of that the guy is a super genius, and a bit of a geek (for fun he has his own server rack in his basement rec room, running several servers of his own just because he could doing whatever task he meant them for and making sure he was always on the “bleeding edge” as he called it of IT. One day, he just experienced a revelation that for all the hard work he had done and all the money he had saved for this company and other companies he had worked for, something was missing in his life. He made very good money for the work he’d done (not a millionaire but he’s a very good provider for his family) but that wasn’t enough for him, he realized that for all of his talents, what kind of difference had he made on a more humane scale and he didn’t think he had done anything or given enough of himself, I still don’t know what caused him to change, call it religion or spirituality or something else. He just quit one day. He went to school to become a nurse and he hasn’t looked back at all. I don’t talk with him as much as we used to but we still email each other occasionally, he still messes around a little bit with computers, IT and what’s new but he doesn’t give it the same focus or the amount of time he used to. He recently wrote me back after I asked him how things were going with his new job and if he missed his old work and he wrote back “I am completely out of the Computer biz. I get to sit back and bitch like everyone else now when the computers don’t work. Its great! Seriously, I am really enjoying the LPN work and RN schooling, it is something different everyday and some days you can look back and see that you actually made a difference in someones life which is something that never happened before.” No more ugly overtime, all nighters, weekends, etc. The work he does is worthwhile and he does make a difference. I envy him because of his new found morality and the courage it took to make such a huge change in his life. Of course he has a good support system in his family which probably made this change possible.

      In the end you ask a good question and if I have to answer honestly, for all my hardwork, too much overtime, weekends, and all the time I miss from my family, it’s really hard to justify IT has having alot of social worth. It’s just a corporate cost center. Who knows, maybe IT outsourcing may be a blessing in disguise as it may force alot (I know not all) of IT workers into taking up a new career path into something you would never have seen yourself doing with more social & humanitarian value than most IT jobs currently have. Alot of people may disagree but my opinion is given freely and I don’t expect anyone to adopt my view on this, just don’t bash me on this one, as it feels pretty good to share a success story.

      • #3326094

        Powerful networking software makes network admin less needed

        by james.chau ·

        In reply to You ask a question that alot of people don’t even bother to ask themselves

        Like the Novell CNE and MCSE Networking, thousands of network administrators are replaced by very powerful and sophisticated networking software built upon artificial intelligence and neural network technologies. There are now little needs of CNE, MCSE or Cisco administrators. I had never fallen to this sort of vendor driven money making schemes called certification. It is a huge mistake to equate IT with just one component such as network administration. Current IT capabilities allow predictive business behaviour such as Walmart merchandises being able to create its own customer instead of being planned through analyzing historical sales statistics, through the use of mySAP CRM.
        The current state of IT staleness is caused by the decision of IT vendors to make user friendly and commodity like tools and techniques in the ignorance that IT does have a very high need to innovate scientifically and engineering wise, when is the world going to have a true commercially available alternate energy source ? transportation means ? buildings ? entertainment ? political control systems ? at the rate IT is crawling human beings will NEVER be able to advance as a civilization, but perhaps we will have a lot of very happy nurses.

        • #3326560

          IT is a cost center remember

          by unclerob ·

          In reply to Powerful networking software makes network admin less needed

          The kind of systems you make reference to cost alot of money and don’t maintain themselves, there will always be a need for systems admin personnel to implement these solutions, maintain them, take care of users, educate users, repair/maintain/install new equipment, etc. etc. etc. Nothing runs by itself, any man-made systems will always require man-made assistance to continue functioning, – we’re nowhere near utopia yet. We may get there someday, probably not in our lifetimes and when we do get there and no one needs IT folk anymore, heaven forbid something breaks and needs to be repaired or replaced because none of the people enjoying utopia at that time will have ever had the need to become educated in working with anything that’s IT related. CRM products are only as good as their users and I don’t think CRM is driving business to Walmart, if you ever heard Sam Walton speak (I’m sure you know he is since you mentioned Walmart), Walmart works because of the simple fact that people work more now than ever in the past (utopia ain’t comin’ anytime soon), make less money than they ever have and need to stretch their spending dollar as much as possible, people don’t have huge families anymore, money is tighter for most families than ever before so Walmarts do well because people prefer/need to spend less for the goods that they need. CRM has nothing to do with it, Walmart was a success many years ago before anyone ever coined the term CRM, before computers were even involved in business tasks such as inventory, cost management, payroll, accounting, etc. Most folks in the know will tell you that CRM is really a solution looking for a problem, if IBM (who tries to peddle their CRM solution) can’t make CRM work I don’t know what other business could.

          Don’t knock nurses, it’s a time-honored profession. Heaven help us if your AI machine replaces them too. Hope there are plenty of IT consultants around when that happens, hopefully they can propose a solution to take care of that problem when it happens.

          Too bad you didn’t read the original post and reply to it as the poster had requested, replying to my post and making little of an important topic doesn’t help anyone least of all the post’s originator.

        • #3326294

          Are you talking to yourself?

          by james.chau ·

          In reply to IT is a cost center remember

          If you have access to the TCP/IP code base or SNA code base, which is strictly IBM propreitary code, please spend some time reading how they had changed incorporating AI and neural network techniques into their code. Network administrators had always been ring 0 users of these code bases but they almost never contribute to these code bases, programmers do that. The number of network administrators in the ads had dwindled significantly since the 1980’s if you care to do the counting. If you can access the six totally automated GM data processing buildings (the white ones in Plano, Texas owned by EDS America) you can see that there is not a single light bulb in any or all of these facilities since the entire facility is self-serviced, yes, I mean that the machines service themselves, from DASD / storage media fetching to hardware maintenance, and definitely not a single human being involved in the operation of this facility, and this Plano Texas EDS GM facility was built since the 1980’s, where have you been ? You don’t seem to understand what CRM is as well as what it was. If you had been working long enough in IT, the CIS (Customer Information System) was the must-have project for any major company worth its salt since the 1970’s. If you know what IBM’s CICS stands for you would know that commercial computer systems have always placed the customer front and center in all business scenarios. ok, CICS stands for Customer Information Control System, since you talked about IBM, and CICS was developed in the 1960’s, shortly after IBM developed IMS, which does not concern you at all. Walmart, whatever or however it did or does its business is really none of my concern, but Walmart is currently using mySAP CRM version 4.0 and I as well as many Walmart’s competitors are seeing clear and successful results which are again, none of your or my concern unless we own Walmart shares. I may not be a nurse but I can’t help notice that nurses earn a much more disciplined and honest living than the few so-called IT professionals who are not well trained in IT disciplines making all kinds of statements which they have no moral or professional right to make besides the constitutional right of freedom of speech, another kudos to the great demoncratic system we live in which is constantly free to be abused.

        • #3323236

          Full of hot air aren’t you?

          by unclerob ·

          In reply to Are you talking to yourself?

          Did you get it all out of your system? WOW, the amount of hot air you released with your last post could have easily powered dozens of REMAX balloons across the country for years. Moral or Professional rights? Who made you the lawmaker to determine moral & prof rights, what people can do or say. Take a step down from the pulpit, no one’s asking for preachers or politicians in this forum. You still never provided a decent reply to the original post (probably because your incapable), ranted for ages on topics not even remotely related to the original post – you definitely like to hear yourself talk – that is a dead giveaway. You need to calm down, pop a few pills, do whatever it is you do to get in your happy place and walk away from this type of work. You’re not suited for it whatsoever. When did the original post contain a request for info on CRM, CICS, DASD, TCP/IP or SNA base code or any other acronym you wanted to throw in there.

          You must be a consultant – don’t give the customer what they want, tell the customer what is you think they want and then provide zero of what you promised to deliver and charge a good fee for your time spent. Do you have a paypal account, maybe I can send you a donation (NOT!) for your good work on answering the original question in this discussion which wasn’t really technical to begin with – in the future try to keep on track with the topic at hand. This will be my last reply to you, I hope you don’t enjoy it.

        • #3324597

          The world needs values, not empty talks

          by james.chau ·

          In reply to Full of hot air aren’t you?

          Providing tangible business values to your paying customers is the reason why professions are created, IT is no exception. Understand the business requirements, know the trade, do the work professionally, deliver the products with ethics and quality. These are the real values of IT work, it is no different than any other trade.
          Calling things that you don’t understand “hot air” and making defensive statements while at the same time trying to talk about a profession you know little of is not an ethical thing to do.

        • #3324482

          ethics and quality

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to The world needs values, not empty talks

          I frankly can’t be bothered to read the rest of the exchange between the two of you very carefully right now. I will say this, however:

          Taken as a statement out of context, I’m inclined to agree with your last post, . . .

    • #3344429

      Find a non-profit

      by oppvill ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      It’s not the IT field that is intrinsically evil, it’s
      how the skills are put to use. You won’t get
      rich working for a non-profit organization, but
      at least you “do no harm.” I am the sole
      person in charge of IT at an agency providing
      services to individuals with disabilities. I’m in
      a rural area, underpaid, and spread thin; I
      don’t directly affect the people we serve, just
      support others who do. However…I’ve always
      derived some satisfaction from knowing that,
      ultimately, I am helping the greater good in my
      own backyard, rather than lining the pockets of
      a rich corporate owner. We’ve considered
      hiring an IT professional to be part of the
      team, but despair of ever finding someone
      with good skills who will work for less than the
      going rate in for-profit sectors (and less
      prestige). There are lots of non-profits like us
      in the same boat. Hopefully there are more
      people out there like you who want a deeper
      meaning behind their technical skills. At the
      very least, you can volunteer your services.
      We have tech volunteers who support a
      computer lab for our clients; help our re-sale
      shop post items on eBay; refurbish donated
      equipment; and we could find many more
      similar tasks, if we had enough qualified and
      interested volunteers . It’s not rocket science
      — just simple ways someone with strong
      computer skills could help others in need and
      feel good at the same time. Maybe that’s
      more valuable than being tops in your field.
      Good luck in changing the world.

    • #3344420

      Funny I was just gonna post something…..

      by answerman ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      Check this out people. This is a job advertisment I found from a fairly reputable job site. I contacted the company with a nasty email, although I don’t usually do that…. But since we’re talking about the value of IT, and whether that’s a beneficial career path, I thought I’d share……


      Desired Skills and Qualifications:

      2-3 years of significant Call Center support experience preferred
      Ability to work weekends and evenings
      Strong hardware knowledge
      Strong understanding of network concepts and troubleshooting including TCPIP, VPN, dedicated and dial-up Internet connectivity, LAN/WAN?
      Strong familiarity with Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000.
      DOS ?batch file creation skills.
      Knowledgeable of PCAnywhere and VNC
      ISQL abilities and understanding of Windows registry
      Excellent customer service skills
      Proven commitment to quality

      Position Summary:

      Resolve escalated customer technical issues utilizing hardware and software expertise.
      Provide advanced troubleshooting of escalated support calls through remote support utilities.
      Thoroughly document support calls following established procedures and guidelines.
      Provide direct support to Level 1 staff members by accepting and resolving escalated issues.
      Assist in providing technical documentation and information to Call Center department.
      24x7x52 on-call availability via pager.

      Leading developer of point of service retail store management software and business intelligence systems for loss prevention, customer solutions and e-commerce integration.

      And the price tag for all this knowledge?

      $25,000 per year……

      I was so “moved” by this outpouring of reward someone “unfortunate” enough to have to take this job, that I sent this response to the company:

      25,000 a year? 24x7x52 on-call availability via pager?

      You people are out of your minds! No wonder the computer industry is sinking into the crapper. That combined with outsourcing to non-english or part-english speaking people (especially on American made products, which REALLY makes me happy)…. The entire country is going to suffer for your immediate gain…..It will effect you too someday!! Have some pride in your country, your product, and your people.

      Wonderful stuff. $12 and hour. That’s why I spent big bucks for school, so I can make ALMOST as much as an Assistant Manager at McDonalds…….. geeeeeez.

    • #3344415

      You have value Packratt.

      by bbarnes3 ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      I am currently 55 and have been in and out of IT since 1980 and what I can tell you is this; Computers are an integral part of today’s workplace. People (the workers) must use computers to accomplish their tasks, and anyone who helps them do that has value. Whether you support hardware or software, or write software, or develop hardware, or train the end user, or build or maintain stable networks, you’re an important link in that IT chain.

      I current support the students, staff, and faculty of a university. Everytime I help the light to go on in someone’s brain, it’s been a good day. I do lots of other IT stuff, but it’s that light going on that makes my day.

    • #3344412

      A very old question that only gets asked now

      by rnmpleasant ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      First, most of us got involved with IT for one of 2 reasons. Either we enjoyed making machines and code do our bidding and solving the problems put in front of us or we enjoyed making a nice wage and being in ?demand?. Truth be told, many IT employees didn?t start out in IT but found their marketing or philosophy degrees just didn?t give them many opportunities. At this point, it should have happened that they asked ?What should I do with my life and how much value do I want to contribute?? but they instead probably asked ?How do I get jobs that pay well??
      Also, not many people actually journey down the road of asking what kinds of differences they wish to make in the world else we would have more teachers and volunteers.
      Having said all of that, I do understand your perspective and it is probably just a fact of normal growth and maturity that you are asking this. So, now that you are asking, you can only decide if you are not making the difference you wish in the world and take the appropriate steps to make any changes you see as necessary.
      In the world of IT, you are seeing what many never dreamed possible but is the same cycle as any other industry. When unionized wages ( and the costs of running a mill in the US) became too high to make profitable products in the steel industry, massive layoffs, bankruptcies, and off shore competition took over. Now, American Steel products are back but in a controlled manner on a smaller scale than before. I wonder if any steel workers asked about the true value of their occupation (that seemed to be easily replaced by foreign workers).
      The same issue is underway for IT. While the growth years were great, many of us got fat off the easy wages and unfounded reverence for our abilities. Not to say that we haven?t earned respect but most corporations don?t have a great understanding of what we truly can do and just accepted that we were the wiz kids that would drive profits up.
      Seeing that it is not that easy, many US corporations have jumped to the conclusion that if they must invest in IT, as a ?cost center?, then they should look to outsource for the cheapest costs. History shows this will change too because cheapest is not the same as best.
      As for you, maybe the issue is really that you are working in IT but for the wrong people. NASA, SETI and others seek to use technology for discovery. There are many other endeavors such as using technology to overcome handicaps, increase learning and such, all of which seem to be self evident in the value they bring. Quite possibly there is some area in your own backyard that you may see as an opportunity to use your skills for ‘the greater good’. Most of these do not appeal to the masses because they do not command highest wages but are worthwhile and most likely enjoyable. Maybe you should look into switching where you work.

    • #3344407

      IT Value.

      by sixaxis ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      Without people to build and maintain the plethora technologies that exist today, there would be an unspeakable loss world wide. Can you imagine where Stephen Hawkings would be right now, without Text to speech software and all the other technologies he has available to him? He would be parked in a corner of some institution, incommunicado and wasting, probably considered retarded and useless.
      These technologies that we work on every day have given countless souls new ways to communicate, learn and teach.
      When I was in the Air Force, I was a nuclear weapons tech on the B-1 and B-52 platforms, and I often thought what a strange situation I was in that if I performed my job as well as I could, and made sure everything under my control functioned perfectly, someday a massive group of people might be vaporized. I was able to weigh that notion against what could happen if I did not perform my duties to the best of my abilities, and I soon lost any sense of guilt on the matter.
      You need to love what you do, and accept that you are part of a larger construct that may move in directions that you find less than palatable. But that does not have to degrade your personal fulfillment of having done your personal and moral best with the task at hand.
      I often told people back then that I hated my work, but I loved my job. I still work in aviation, and I keep medevac helicopters up and running. A job I would not have discovered had I not first entered the field by way of keeping weapons of mass destruction functioning.
      Its all a big give and take.

      • #3326173

        IT value to who ??

        by tired-tech ·

        In reply to IT Value.

        lso workin an enviroment where we lok like we are automating ourselves out of a job. Our OS in more stable, the apps are better, etc.
        So now we don’t need as many folks to do the work. Those of us who have been here for a while (when the boom was going) are the really seeing this and feel a little frustration because we can’t figure out why.. we did our job !!!
        amybe a little too well (if that is possible)
        I have also used my “career” in IT to further my music interest ( playing on the weekends and such) and just like the entertainment arena when cost sutting starts where do you look ? the “extras” as we are known. companies that are trying to get us outsourced for less money because there are more of us …!!

        butI digress the value of IT you only see it when it doesn’t work and you need it fixed,…. yesterday


    • #3344395

      IT CAN make a difference

      by frank_gonzalez ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      Hi, Not too long ago, I worked on a government contract that had to do with developing database applications that would help the government entity I was working for ‘catch the bad guys’. I felt I had a true supporting role in helping our guys out in the field. I think maybe sometimes since we lose sight ( as well as those in other departments) of just how important our jobs are. Currently, I work for a small company (back in the private sector). The work I’m doing now is developing applications for the chamber of commerce…helping them draw more businesses into the area. My company is a smaller company and the way I look at it…my sense of purpose is to help contribute, in any way I can, to the livelihood that keeps our company alive and breathing. I do alot of volunteer work in my community that has to do with using my skills. All in all it really depends on one’s perspective. Search for balance, and if you’re still not happy then move on…life’s too short.

    • #3344388


      by steve v ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      To answer your point on “IT being worthwhile”, I think you have to look at the company that you work for in order to “SEE” value in your work. If you work for some financial conglomerate who’s only interest is making money so that the investors and upper tier management remains happy. I would see this as not as rewarding as, let’s say working for a hospital where patient records and important medical data is stored on the network. in these 2 examples there is a true difference between life and death if data loss and communication failure was to occur.
      ON your other point of IT being a cost center; this is the nagover effect from the DOT COM era of IT. Business owners and corporate management realized the error that was made by throwing large amount of money into unproven technology and idea, and it bit them in the butt. Now they do not want to repeat that process.

      Now on your last point of wanting to accomplish some social value. You would have to find some sort of project that is related to working with your community and fulfilling any type of need related to the IT industry.

      IT is not about social harmony. It is about one’s and zero’s harmony. We are a behind the scenes industry that no one pays attention to until something breaks. We are there to make sure that everything runs smoothly so that their jobs easier. We are here to make sure that the data that is created and saved is there for tomorrow nad the next day. We keep companies going so that everone that comes through the doors in the morninf still have a job to go to, so they can feed their families, pay the rent, and stay alive.

    • #3344383

      Its all about the salary

      by cg it ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      many many IT people lamate about the lack of a hot job market, promotion opportunities, in the information technology field. Well, its no different than any other field like engineering, medicine, nursing, banking, blah blah, yadda yadda. If the “hot market” becomes engineering, “everyone” becomes an engineer, when there is a down turn, engineers moan and groan about the state of the industry, then become real estate agents. Happens all the time in the aerospace field. IT is no different. Those in the IT field that actually “like” it [like the nerds] will stay and find a home someone happily doing their thing. Those that only got into IT for the $$ will move on to the next “hot field”.

      If those thinking of a career in IT do so because of the $$ and not because it’s their personal interest, get into real estate or medicine and become a doctor. They make gobs of $$.

    • #3344380

      Business vs. Personal

      by minjb ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      It’s nothing personal, just business. Lining the executives pockets with extra cash, improving efficieny, and overall improving the bottom line, that’s business. Corporations make sure you are compensated, (most times not well enough in IT), for working the business. Wanting to make an impact in the world, even if the world is your community, that’s personal. Personal aspirations incur a cost for a business. To give something and without an expectation of an ROI is contrary to good business.

      Don’t let business requirements interfere with your personal aspirations. I too am pondering whether I should leave corporate IT for teaching. I have been considering teaching math and or english to those in underserved high schools of New York City. It is a sad thing to see students full of energy and excitement going off to college only to have their excitement crushed because before they can start taking classes, they are placed in a remedial program to get them up to speed.

      Provide excellent IT service and maybe someone will remember your labor. Provide an excellent teaching and you are guaranteed to never be forgotten. Do what you can for who you can. Most of all do all you can for your family. They are the ones who are going to remember you the most.

    • #3344377

      Consider this.

      by rebjava ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?


      The simple fact remains that technology and business are permanently married. And as much as managers and executives hate to admit it, the costs of IT are the costs of doing business. Unfortuneately, IT professionals (and we are professionals) are like any other business supply. For example, a business needs paper to operate, and you can bet the company is going to doggedly search to find the cheapest multiuse paper that will meet their needs. Even when they’ve found their paper, they’re going to continue to look for a better deal. That’s the nature of the profit driven beast. Don’t take it personally.

      However, do continually update and expand your skills. Do this for yourself and not for your employer. If you lack job satisfaction, look for an IT gig revolving around the medical or educational fields or perhaps even something in the .gov domain. You’ll be doing something worthwhile for somebody in any of these fields. I did it and I’m much happier now. Good luck to you.

    • #3344376

      IT – a pain in the butt

      by frustrated_user ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      Well, first the gripes as a user & then some tips which could make you IT guys better loved, respected & valued by end users but not by your super rich bosses/owners who just want more profits.
      ……..I’ve been using IT since 1996. I thought I should become PC literate at age 47 for my daughter’s sake (school use etc…). Well……… it’s been & continues to be a VERY frustrating experience! Constant upgrading, crashes, lost data on re-installs (XP lets you encrypt with no warning to back up the certificate…..nice one guys!!!!!!!!!) software bloat rendering the PC useless without upgrading memory/cpu/disks/etc), software claims that don’t stack up when you try them or maybe do just once but not next time you try, constant re-configuring req. as bits of programs fail (XP is better but still too many problems). I build my PCs & in the last 8 years seem to be constantly chasing the dream of a PC I can set up & just USE! Fat chance! I now realise that ‘windows’ means never pausing with what you have for an instant. Suddenly that hardware you bought just 2 years ago won’t work with XP, new drivers req., search around, install, re-configure, test, OK! Then something else happens……software you don’t use very often…..launch the program…crash…..won’t work at all on XP! Damn! Too much changed now, have to buy new software to do that job, yet more expense! Get the picture? See now why we all see you as a reluctantly necessary cost/evil/nuisance/profit generator (for yourself & others – not us!). All us end users want is a PC that runs our programs & continues to do so stably. If you perfected the operating systems/software we have & didn’t dump it, half tested upon us, then move onto the next, bigger, more expensive, resource hungry version & try to flog that, we would be much happier. If you ever thought about the end users you would not bloat the programs with all the bells & whistles. You would cut it down to the basics so it could still run on, say, win 95 with a P100, 64 mb ram & a 5 gb disk. Just think how it would FLY on a fast PC!! By all means offer the full program at great cost to those that want it but stop this enforced upgrading – it’s alienating end users.
      As for enriching the human race – no, I don’t think you’ve contributed much in that field. Society is worse now as people sit in their rooms, alone, surfing, searching, downloading, trying to use their PCs instead of interacting. PCs waste resources as ‘old’ ones (2 years old!!!!) are not recycled & this must surely be one of the ultimate IT failures? We now have dramatic increases in internet pornography & paedophilia plus an amazing increase in paper consumption as everything STILL has to be kept on paper as PC storage is so unreliable………I can well understand the questioning of IT as a career & whether it is really worthwhile. I personally wish we could turn back the clock & not have the PC.

      • #3326155

        IT is not Windows development and sales

        by crake ·

        In reply to IT – a pain in the butt

        Sounds like your post is directed at Microsoft – not IT as a profession.

        Besides – let’s suppose your computer actually did run perfectly. How exactly would you use it to enrich the human race?

        You gave an excellent example in explaining that your daughter uses her computer for school.

        So do I. The volume and quality of resources available to us are vastly improved over that time in the past you seem to pine for. The price for accessing this endless wealth of data is that the end-user needs to be able to distinguish between what is credible and what is B.S.

        More examples of enriching the human race?

        Do you realize the same technology that accommodates convenient online banking is also used to set up charity funds for – say – tsunami victims? Cancer patients? Families who have lost loved ones?

        Of course – you couldn’t know that the new cancer-fighting drug, Tarceva, is a part of my daily fight against Stage IV Rencal Cell Carcinoma and that I wouldn’t have known about it without the Internet (at least not until it became FDA approved several years from now – if even then – and if I were still alive).

        Now, onto your diatribe regarding crashing PCs, bloated software, porno, et al.

        **If there were no demand, there would be no supply.** End of story.

        In effect, most of your gripes should be directed at – well – yourself and the end-user community. Microsoft (or whoever) spits out these “upgrades” and “improvements” because R&D tells them that’s what their customers want.

        Ask any company and they will tell you that their first priority is to generate profit and grow. Business 101.

        As an IT professional, I handle all facets of managing that crappy software you bought – including security, SPAM prevention, antivirus, Wi-Fi configurations, disaster recovery, etc.

        But I didn’t code the stuff, and I don’t sell it.
        (I’m more of a Linux guy anyhow.)

        As far as “people sitting in their rooms, alone, surfing, searching, downloading, trying to use their PCs instead of interacting;” I can only say it sounds like you are describing (projecting?) your personal experience.

        I spend each day on the computer – it is part of my job. I also personally interact with hundreds of people every week. That is another part of my job. I also enjoy a highly social recreational life – even with cancer.

        I believe a person’s experience with technology is much like the rest of life – it’s what you make of it.

      • #3326319

        IT is NOT a PAIN IN THE BUTT

        by jrowe ·

        In reply to IT – a pain in the butt

        First of all, all your gripes seem to be about the hardware and the software of different vendors and companies. How about complaining to them since they are the ones who built them? We only try to keep them going so that YOU CAN WORK!! Secondly, why don’t you use a Mac?

    • #3344375

      Your job isn’t your life.

      by darkar ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      I read many years ago, I think it was in a Tom Peters book, about the differences between Americans and Europeans view of their lives. In America if you ask a person what they are, they will normally give you their job title, i.e. IT person, banker, nurse, or what ever. In Europe if you ask a banker what he is, he may answer a mountain climber, a painter, a sailor, or what ever it is, he views himself as. His job is just the way he makes his living. If you want to ?make a difference?, do your job to support yourself and any family you may have and then go make your difference, be a social worker, help build a house for someone, help in your community. Don?t tie your job, hopefully something you?re good at and enjoy, to who you are or what you do.

    • #3344373

      “What Should I Do With My Life?”

      by bw3 ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      At times during my 25 year IT career I’ve had similar thoughts. I think some of the problem is being someone who likes to help people but being on the back end I don’t see constant reminders of how users benefit. And without good management and leaders IT is quite often left out of the rewards and recognition that companies realize. I consider myself fortunate however because most of the time I feel I add value to my company and its customers. I have also chosen to work for non-profit organizations in education and healthcare. Two areas I feel add great value and service to our communities. And there’s pro’s and con’s to everything and one of the con’s with my choices have been lower salaries. It has been worth it though. Each year I speak at a local university to IT students about IT careers. The most important advice I give them is to read an article by Po Bronson titled “What Should I Do With My Life? The real meaning of success – and how to find it”. I found it to be an excellent article and you can find it at
      Hang in there and keep looking, I’m sure there’s a place out there for you.

    • #3344366

      Real Value of IT Work?

      by raazeez ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      I’d like to believe that we are IT professionals due to our belief in the technology and in those it serves. I’ve asked myself this question, because this has been an issue for me for some time now.

      It wasn’t until I crossed over to the business side of technology that my purpose as a technology professional became clear. You see, as an IT professional, I could only see the technology. I knew it was good for the company, the employees and the clients these systems served. However, because information technology is OUR business, we tend to lose perspective on OUR purpose. Our purpose for being IS TO SERVE THE BUSINESS, NOT JUST THE TECHNOLOGY. Therefore, we must do more than serve the technology…WE MUST SERVE THE BUSINESS!

      As IT professionals, we must be willing to round out our profession with good, solid business sense. We must find ways to present the business case for technology. We can do this in a number of ways; cost comparisons, analysis, and savings must be done and presented to the business. Savings analysis and reports should be performed, as well, in order to prove our worth to the Company.

      Ours is an intangible world. One that is rooted in controlling the flow of information. Turn off the computer and all you have is a commodity. Turn on the computer and you have a transport for commerce. Operating systems, service packs, virus protection, virtual private networks, e-mail clients and browsers only exist when the computer system is on!! Although technology’s importance is realized everyday, we must commit ourselves to the quantification and qualification of technology’s presence for the business and thusly for ourselves.

      We can prove to our children that we did _____, because we make businesses GO! The trick is to turn the intangible into the tangible.

      I believe the IT field offers more of a career path today and in the future, because the technology era is still in its infancy. We are becoming more than IT professionals, we are becoming IT practitioners, not unlike our legal, medical, and dental counterparts.

      The answer to the Real Value of IT Work? question may lie in OUR rediscovery and redefinition of the field of IT.

      • #3344329

        i agree enjoy the business side if you can

        by dohnotgood ·

        In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

        I have had two diiferent job paths. The first was public health were i practiced epidemiology. I loved it but was tired of grant work which was the majority of work in my city. So I went into web development and eventaully database administration in the Distance Learning field with nothing to do with public health and I started to feel just like you. I worked long hours on skeleton crews to make things happen. But I still felt empty. So i stared to look for IT related jobs in the Public Health sector. It took me a year and a half and I was able to and did move within State to take a jobe where I am assiting in the development of a state wide web based disease surveillance system and loving it. I get to practice Epidemiology while keeping my hands wet with data modeling and messaging infrastructures.

    • #3344349

      Change who you are helping

      by lister of smeg ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      I am an IT Consultant and my clients are mainly organisations trying to make money. But with the knowledge, resources and time that this career provides me, I am able to help some very worthy charities for free. I can’t tell you how much the charity sector needs the help of IT Consultants – the majority of small charities are an IT nightmare, with no means of repairing or fixing their problems. The most infuriating part for me is usually how minor the problems are and how much difference I could have made if I had been there earlier! Instead of lining the pockets of the few, you can help the people who help the many. I get my clients to donate their old equipment to the charities that need it the most. This is a double edged sword as the charities are able to help my clients by safely disposing or reusing the old equipment and the client often comes round to the idea of offering their skills to help the charity. This part of my job is by far the most rewarding – and it gives me the sense of self worth I think you are looking for.

    • #3344326

      The bigger picture

      by reflecting on history ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      You?ve made a significant statement when you link the question to: what might I tell my children. It seems to me the underlying questions is: Is there a direct relationship between IT (what I do for a living) and what is happening in the world. The focus here is ?direct relationship?.

      As a college professor, adjunct, in a multi-disciplinary school, University of Phoenix: Seattle, this question constantly occurs because I work with students who are considering IT as a career and because I work with students employed in IT who are leaving the profession. These students want to know if they are making the world better than it was when they started working in IT. They seek to offer something of themselves as they try to engage problems related to food, shelter, hunger, etc. The recent Tsunami has helped focus this question for many people. The answer to this question is both yes and no.

      IT will never have a direct link to anything that is occurring in the world. However, it does enable efforts to change the world, sometimes for the better, sometimes not. I was trained, doctoral level, as a theologian and so these questions and comments are important to me as we all struggle to help make the world a better and safer place. Still IT can never be linked to a substantial change in quality of life. It can however be linked to changes in life. It is the use of IT and the benefits derived from IT that will make the difference, if and only if, there is a concerted effort to distribute the benefits across the entire population rather than on the up side of the digital divide.

      A major concern for many of us is the lack of the IT benefit across the population, particularly in second and third world countries. Because IT, science, and engineering workers earn substantially more than non-IT workers they are in a position to help change their environment. Yet this is not so much their possibilities but the purview of the business community and its willingness to redistribute income outside of the direct arena.

      As an individual, you make possible the existence of a better world. For example you speed up the tracking and movement of medical supplies, the use of technology in schools, or the distribution of food. You may not directly distribute any of these, but without your help it might not happen. You can also lobby your company to offer training for those who are interested but not skilled or provide resources to schools. You may not change the world because you work in IT, but the world may be better because you work in IT.

    • #3344324

      Use work to enable the good stuff

      by ttoe ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      I have been thinking about the same issues over the last few years. Friends have been laid off because of/in spite of the efficiencies that my team has created. Wages haven’t gone up, although benefits have been cut. The somber mood at this company sounds to be about par for the course right now.

      However, I’ve realized that my skills and opportunities can be put to use anyway. Rather than quitting my job and dedicating my time overseas to the problems, I’ve found that there are plenty of things to do. It helps me sleep at night, although I will always wish I could do more. I’ve become a Big Brother (, and I will be volunteering one night a week at a local shelter. Of course, there are plenty of opportunities available, wherever you are.

      If that’s not enough, you can always do your best to donate money to a charity doing good work. I like AmeriCares ( and Results ( but with recent events, there are plenty all over the news.

      Oh yeah, voting the correct way always helps too… 😉

      Don’t give up trying to improve the world around you. I can assure you, if there were more people who cared about this like you do, hunger and poverty would no longer exist.

      Good luck!

    • #3344316

      My perspective…

      by vanight ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      I too have have been reflecting much the same as you. For my self I simply had to realize that my true lifes purpose is not going to be found in my job. Now, I totally understand the lack of satisfaction in having “few” people outside of IT understand the value of what we do. My Dad is a builder and when he builds a house it absolutely puts me in AWE. Even someone that digs a ditch has the satisfaction of seeing the ditch when its done at the end of the day.

      I have been reading a book called “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren. Be forewarned it is based in Christian principal, but regardless, it has been on the NY times best seller list for a long time and sold millions of copies. I will just say it helped me immensely and leave it at that.

      Do you have an other hobbies you can do on the side to give you the satisfaction you desire? Music, Art, etc…

      The issue here is an industry problem in my book. I strongly feel that there needs to be a change of accounting practice in order to truly change the attitude. On the other hand, I have been blessed to be working in a NOC that is a key profit producing center. Much of the problem is also in the way IT people have been slowly changed into viewing themselves. We need become agressive in showing the value and profit we can bring a company by being inovative and leveraging our skills and knowledge of software and hardware. Bottom line though, I sympathize with you as I have often reflected in the same way. Good luck in your self discovery and may you find the purpose your looking for.


      • #3326199

        One more day

        by tomsutor ·

        In reply to My perspective…

        It seems back in the day before I got into IT whenever I would go to a place like CompUSA, the people always “talked down” to me like I was intrusive for asking IT questions about computers. When I started my home repair, I noticed the same attitude from competition IT people. Always being aloof and they are not to be questioned. Had IT been more caring and not so self satisfied with their knowledge, they might still be at the top of their profession. As it is, the high schools now teach IT as a trade and that will lower the price people will pay for IT. Also, now that IT has to give customer support to keep their job, only the best of both will get the high paying jobs.

    • #3326191

      Oh I don’t even want to think about it!

      by pm0020256 ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      I’ve sept the majority of my adult working life in IT, and oh have I become so disenchanted with the whole thing. I’ve seen a ocean of inept senior management who just don’t understand and in most case don’t want to understand.

      I used to think that IT is a true enabler, but your right it your speculation that the beancounters see it as overhead and senior management see it as a drain on the bottom line.

      I also have that horrible feeling that I’v spent almost 20 years doing something of no value. I guess I’m lucky in one respect that I also hold a Facilities Managerment role, and do get a good deal of satisfaction from it, and if the truth where know I’d dump the IT Managers role in the blink of an eye.

    • #3326179

      IT has a wider scope in improving human life

      by kdeva ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      For example, consider all the software that goes into medical equipments. Also, my first job in US was as a development tech lead for a Positive Train Separation System, software that is installed in locomotives and with the help of the servers installed in control rooms several thousand miles away and using GPs, will help in identifying any train that is moving on the same track ahead and then help in applying brakes when it is reaching its safe braking distance(in other words – getting “too close” to the other train). I felt proud that the software I was developing and helping others to develop was going to be deployed in all locomotives run by Union Pacific and might actually help in averting accidents thereby saving people’s lives and property.

      Now, just imagine if all our automobiles are equipped with similar software then it might prevent several accidents. In this process if a few CEOs pocket some money that should not be a big concern, right?

      Also, consider the latest havoc that affected a dozen countries in the form of tsunami. Only if those countries had a tsunami warning system, then at least part of those loss to human lives could have been saved. If scientits can come up with probes that can detect such earthquakes and related tidal waves, then our internet and IT can play a major role in conveying those signals right from those probes to be broadcast to all the concerned nations.

      So actually IT does make life on earth much better. And we as IT professionals do make a difference. Just dont get worried about the current lay-offs. As economy picks up further and more innovations spring up there will be retraining and reorientation of work force. I am not saying that there will be 100% reutilization, but a major number of people who were laid off will be rehired.

    • #3326157

      Value of IT

      by the unknown it guy ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      I have been in the IT field for 20 years and worked for 3 different companies and every one of them has been the same. The feeling I have gotten every time is that IT is “a necessary evil”.

    • #3326154

      Stick in There

      by emlesz ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      I am an old timer (35 years) in the industry. Your problems will not change, you will just learn to manage them better. One of my Technology hero’s Carl Sagan said:

      Could there be some conceivable selective advantage in our evolutionary make-up? Our science and high technology have given us the ability to effect our long-term future as never before. Aren’t these models of unflinching commitment to the truth more necessary to our survival than ever? The themes of the permanent revolution of science and the never-ending struggle to create and preserve a democratic society are interwoven throughout every one of these heroes of science.

      IT is the new revolution, eclipsing the Industrial Revolution, so take heart and realise that your job is truly worth while.

    • #3326121


      by gometrics ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      Has automobiles improved our lives? How many carriage makers when out of business, passenger train lines, and how about all these crazy interstate roads and traffic? What about the airplane? Are we better off zipping all over the place, it certainly put the big ocean liners out of business.

      Innovations cause people to lose jobs but usually creates more jobs than are lost otherwise our U.S. economy would not be the strongest model in the world. Consider yourself an innovation enabler. This is all heading somewhere but only God knows where and can tell you if you are in the right place in this adventure called life. If you take all the innovation away you will probably live something like a quaker…not what I’m called to. I’m sure you do your best considering you reflect about these things. That says you care about people…not just the $. Cheers…

    • #3326116

      Open your own business with your own IT deliverables

      by james.chau ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      Objectively I think you are painting an almost holy picture of IT while forgetting that IT is itself becoming one of the principle driving forces of our global economies, albeit an often misguided force. Let’s take a brief ride into the IT past and progress into the present with a little conclusion.
      The ENIAC costed millions doing just a few calculations, the real IT value at that time was to prove that machines could do…well, just a few calculations, therefore the cost was considered justified. The IBM System/360 costed millions also, but it did a lot more calculations and has the ability to perform input and output with humans. Unix costed less doing the same things a little differently. Apple and PC do them for a lot less money even though they do a lot less work. As you see, here the real IT value had been largely vendor-oriented, namely writing software to enable the manufacturers to sell more hardware. Microsoft has changed that a little bit, namely to partner with manufacturers so that higher hardware demand would also drive higher software sales also. By 2005 the profit in IT has become razor thin, hardware or software, the push for open source and standards is a strong contribution to non-profit paradigm and it is having a financially detrimental effect on the whole IT universe, how can you derive lifeblood profits in a non-profit paradigm ?
      The business world cannot understand this paradigm since it cannot fathom why would this be happening, and the IT world cannot get out of its own peril since it has matured into adulthood where it has to generate its own livelihood. From my point of view, it is time for the IT world to take over the business world (like Bill Gates’ initiative a few years ago when he tried to get into banking). The basic question is this, why are we IT professionals so naive as to give away our hard earned skills and labor to help the business world make billions while we are perfectly capable of defining and executing our own business enterprises from the IT deliverables that are being virtually given away for free ? This way, the profit IT generates would make the IT field a lot more attractive and rewarding while enabling the world to become technically more advanced and better, thus freeing the IT people from the realm of slavery-like status of cost center and in general a nuisance to the business people who have recently stopped contributing their share to making the world a better place for all.

    • #3326104

      worthwhile of course !!

      by cppwhite ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      Dear Packratt, in reply to your question of whether you make a differnce in the world of I.T., i am become recently diabled, and if it were not for the programs and games and information that so many people like yourself create, then i would not now have a window to the rest of the world,,,i can understand and relate to your feelings of low self esteem, shit happens bro,,,from another perspective,what would you be doing if you were not an it pro?would you be a manual worker also lining the pockets of some company or boss??
      I feel I must share with you that I have only had this pc for 18 months and am totally self taught in troubleshooting and running this thing, i have no idea of how to write a program or even write my own web page, but itis very rewarding to me to be able boot up and surf the net,,,it was once written “in reading lies knowledge,and in knowledge lies wisdom”,,,
      Consider what all the kids would be doing if it were not for people like yourself, I dont agree with spending every moment in front of the pc or ps2 or xbox, that is not good for anyones sanity,,,suggestion,,try writing some game programs that do not shoot or harm another being, suggestion 2, take a sabatical and get out into the real world where you can make a difference in so many different ways,,,and not necessarily to do with money,,,there are many people who need “hands on” help,,,take it easy packratt

    • #3326089

      I was having the same thoughts

      by ansed ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      It?s funny to see this topic when I was just thinking the same thing not to long ago. Most companies look at us a some necessary evil and then end users think we are some how responsible for the major changes in the industry instead of realizing that the fact of the matter is that we are the ones who have to try to keep up with the changes in order to be able to help them.

      I realized also that alot don’t see us for the work that we do. Alot of people get very defensive in our presence and don’t view us as trying to help them, they view as some how trying to blame them.

      As much as I love computers, I don?t think I make that big of a difference to the world and if I do you would never guess it from the people I work with. But having said that, my company offers great benefits so I will work there until I get my degree in Justice and then hopefully can make my mark on the world doing something that will hopefully make a difference in the lives of other.

    • #3326079

      A question of perspective.

      by jarnett ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      It sounds to me your problem is not what you do but who you do it for. If you don’t feel appreciated in what you do then find another employer.
      If you truly don’t like what you do and want to help mankind then find a job with a charity.
      Believe me there are many worse jobs than IT. They ususally pay less and sometimes have worse hours. I do field installation work. I install high tech security and surveilence equipment in factories and computer centers. The hours are long (12 hour days on average). I worked 60 hours the week between Christmas and New Years.
      The pay is poor until you get 15 or 20 years in.
      Thankfully I have my 20.
      I don’t much care for my Corp., but I love the work, I like most of the customers, and my coworkers are a good group.
      In short I count myself fortunate.
      What you have to decide is; deal with it, or move on.

    • #3326055

      a vote for a nonprofit computing career

      by jennyn ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      There are many people and organizations doing fantastic work to improve the world on many levels. They all need to type stuff, send emails, manage finances, use databases, have websites. Some have networks, mail servers, SQL servers… any private sector skills you have, have a place with organizations doing good. And you get to see the outcome of your work directly as the people you support make it happen. Even though I’ve moved back & forth between commercial & nonprofit sector, the later is my home. Because of the emphasis on mission rather than profit, I find there’s actually more focus on good practice than in the commercial sector. Work can be rewarding (even if the pay might be crap)

      Here are some resources/groups if you want to move into the charity/nonprofit sector:

      (list that advertises nonprofit tech jobs mainly in US)
      (has nonprofit tech jobs and more)
      (General list for nonprofit technicians)
      * (internation eRiders list – eRiders serve multiple nonprofits on a model known as Circuit Riding)
      (general nonprofit tech group)
      (website for eRiding movement)
      (nonprofit technology resource site – including the administration of SW donation programs by Microsoft/Macromedia/Intuit/Symantec etc etc etc)
      (she’s a tech networker who pulls together info from the lists and other resources)

      • #3326023

        Very Impressive

        by packratt ·

        In reply to a vote for a nonprofit computing career

        Thank you for that wealth of information, I’ve looked into a few of the links and will go through them in more detail as I am able.

        It’s interesting that my family and I have had to rely on the help of others very recently and that at the same time I’m trying to find ways that we can help others despite our situation.

        Hopefully information such as this will enable me to help my family and others at the same time.

        Thank you again.

        • #3326684

          more on a nonprofit IT career

          by jennyn ·

          In reply to Very Impressive

          This is the tip of the iceberg. I worked corporate the first 3 yrs of my IT career, then wanted to give something back. Started applying to all sorts of social & NP orgs, until I got a job in a large HIV services org in the 90s. It was the best job ever, and there was a very clear connection between what I did and what the org gave the clients. Supporting the staff was as good for me as providing the service. And if I ran an efficient ship and a stable network – I new charity money was being well spent.

          Now I am what is called an eRider or Circuit Rider (see eRiders in previous list) – i have a grant funded position and travel around a pretty large territory providing a wide range of tech services to NP groups. Admittedly this is a fairly unusual job, but any large NP organization needs IT staff on board – so if you are in the city it is easier to find work (big nonprofits).

          If your drive is political, of course there’s work there too. As well as the job listings I mentioned, whatever your passion is, look for organizations in that field and contact them.

 is a database of all nonprofits in the US, and you can search by geography or type.

          You can spend days researching all the np tech resources. Have fun doing it.

    • #3326054

      Yes…IT is valueable!

      by afarooqi78 ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      Ever tried hitting a nail with a hammer into the wooden wall? Its similar Like Finance & Other departments acting as a Hammer to hit the business process nail get into a competitors wooden wall, IT remains the direction and position of hand driving the whole thing.

      No wonder shrunked job market and technology has supplemented to de-value IT persons, but IT work needs a lot more projection to the company. You need to market your success among the other fellow company men. This will greatly help to avoid IT being seen as just a “Cost Centre” in views of people.

    • #3326035

      Get on UNDP

      by llauren ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      You could always do what i did, get a job on the United Nations Development Programme ( Initially, i applied for a job in Bhutan, declined an offer for Ethiopia and ended up here in Timor-Leste (that’s East Timor for the rest of you 🙂

      Technically, i do pretty much what i did before, except that my main role is that of an “Advisor”. The idea is that the two local IT guys of my department can do “my” job when i’m gone.

      The pay certainly isn’t spectacular but the people are; both the local people and the others in the UN crew doing other development stuff are dedicated, friendly and approachable. It’s a very nice setting and i do feel that what i do can make a difference for the people and the country here.

      Oh, and there’s a very cute advisor in another office who also digs Linux 😉


      • #3326025

        Thank you

        by packratt ·

        In reply to Get on UNDP

        Thank you for the information… Seems as though it’s a worthy effort you’ve embarked upon.

        I did have a question though. Does working in such programs provide one with enough resources to bring one’s family along and provide for their wellbeing? Or are such endevours only advisable to the single or the parents of well off or dual income families?

        Thank you again for your input.

    • #3326028

      IT is more than worthwhile

      by enmichael ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      Take a look at the Telecommunications Industry especially in Nigeria, the whole industry is driven by IT; without IT the industry is dead. They all need our services to ensure that their network work very well. We are a very important integral part of the society, and we add so much value to life. No IT, no communication. cheers guys!!!

    • #3326027

      A Brief Summary and Some Questions

      by packratt ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      Before I begin I wish to thank everyone who has participated so far for their contributions and for their willingness to at least think about such things as this. Even if I may disagree with you I appreciate and applaud your willingness to air your beliefs.

      So far there seems to be four camps of answers to my question.

      1. Working any job is in and of itself socially beneficial no matter what that job is and whence forth those efforts go and that business is and of itself a good thing.

      2. IT Work is beneficial because of the good works it enables or at least makes more efficient, even though it also enables such things as the degredation of humans through mass pornography, SPAM, vulnerabilities to harm through malicious coding, unchecked invasions of privacy, etc…

      3. It does not matter if working in the IT field causes more harm or not. What matters is what you do on your own time so long as the company grants you such a thing as “your own time”.

      4. Working in IT can be good or bad depending on where one’s efforts in that field are applied. (i.e. working for a non-profit instead of a for-profit org).

      Camp 1 does not present a strong enough case for me to consider really as their’s is a faith based declaration. (i.e. trust me, IF corporations had no rules to control them they would benefit mankind even though historical or even present evidence contradicts me.)

      Camp 2 worries me a bit as it requires a bit of rationalization to make it palatable. (i.e. The suffering of those who are laid off by use of technology and those who are made to suffer in other ways are not important when compared to the good technology does for those who can afford to benefit from it).

      Camp 3 seems reasonable enough but then again, and it’s a self admitted simplification, let’s apply another analogy and say that you work in the IT field as a web developer for pornographers but justify it by saying that you give a portion of your income to the poor. Do the end results of your income justify the means of obtaining said income? (another analogy perhaps, let’s say your efforts result in the layoffs of a hundred people, but you give a thousand dollars to charity a year… Was the end result beneficial or harmful overall?)

      Camp 4 provides a potential personal avenue out of the moral/ethical quagmire I proposed. Yet it does still leave the fact that for every one person who can afford such a sacrifice of working for a non-profit, there are others who may be willing but cannot afford to work without benefits nor a wage that would enable one to raise a family well… What of them? (i.e. should a person consider sacrificing the health and welfare of a child, who is by nature innocent and dependent on that adult, in order to be a moral agent within society?)

      Thank you all again for your input.

      • #3326432

        Not all Non-Profits are No-Money

        by pmercer ·

        In reply to A Brief Summary and Some Questions

        Hi Packratt!

        I work for a nonprofit healthcare delivery system in IT. The wages are competitive with the community, and the work is always challenging and interesting. We are never on the bleeding edge of technology, and we take a pretty conservative approach to the new stuff, upgrades, etc. but, because we are rather large, there are lots of systems, and lots of avenues for growth. In addition, our organization is known (at least internally) for promoting within, and supporting folks that are interested/willing to look for opportunities to grow.

        So, working for a nonprofit organization (i.e. Red Cross, Blood Banks, nonprofit hospitals, etc) does not necessarily mean having to work without the benefit of a competitive wage and benefit package.

        Good luck in your quest for answers!

      • #3326832

        A little Zen

        by jdmercha ·

        In reply to A Brief Summary and Some Questions

        All life is a balancing act. You have to take the bad with the good. There is no purely good occupation. You have to take from your life what you can. If you need justification for your occupation, then you have to weigh the good against the bad, and decide for yourself which outweighs the other. I challange anyone to come up with an occupation that I cannot show that it harms somebody.

        1. Any occupation is benificial to someone. If it was not, then the occupation would not exist. By the same token, any occupation is also harmful to someone.

        2. Any occupation requires rationalization to justify its beneifits.

        3. Here’s that balance question again. Someone will benefit and someone will loose every time.

        4. Non-profit does not mean non-harm. Even the Red Cross’s Tsunami relief effort causes harm to somebody.

    • #3326010

      your intention

      by oxyjen ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      Some people in IT should have done an arts degree and worked with humans for change. Others find passion in a computer. Then there are some in the middle who should maybe read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and learn about man’s extension of self into machines. I think it’s refreshing that the originator of this post has a higher self looking for purpose and understand his frustrations. However, IT workers are generally cogs within cogs within cogs. Working for huge corporations is a fast track to disallusionment and not a healthy environment for a spiritual seeker. In the corporate world IT people are Aldus Huxley’s beta model humans (Brave New World) who fix corporate machines. It is not job satisfaction sought by Packratt as much as it is the age old question of finding purpose in life beyond work, death, and taxes. If you find it let me know.

    • #3325998

      Emotional maybe?

      by munezrhep ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?


      I also feel the same way towards work. But I never generalize what I feel to IT. I’m still in my early twenties. Little experience.

      I suggest you to write about what you think. And maybe you’ll be famous.Who knows.

      Best regards.

    • #3325973

      Make a change ?

      by mitb67 ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      None or very few through IT. As long as – you put it – it will only be a mere discussion about cost/ profit centers. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against earning decent money. There’s only an issue about this “decent” word. There is a thin line between completely different consequences of automation and IT involvment in the social aspects of our modern civilizations whenever one looks at it only from a business perspective. I personally have seen very (stress that) few IT projects that had a significant social impact in terms of social improvement. The majority just keep increasing the gaps. And this is not only the case of the industry we are nowadays working within. I have a medical background and, for the last ten – business – years (at least), I’ve witnessed a profound degradation of the healthcare act in terms of availability, quality and, above all, compassion towards a suffering fellow. Phrases like “making a difference”, “bridging the digital divide”, “healthcare availability”, “education for all” are only fumes that emanate from our big brothers’ politically correct Neo-cortex.

    • #3325916

      What is the value of IT

      by jim asbille ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      What is the purpose and value of IT? Unless these questions can be answered than nothing else about this issue is meaningful. Does IT exist for the benefit of staff? To a certain extent yes but then why are people laid off when efficiencies are gained? Does IT exist for the benefit of IT staff? Some think so except then IT staff lose jobs and have reduced pay. The reality is that IT exists for the benefit of the Enterprise and for the fulfillment of the corporate mission. The inability of so many IT departments to get this has generated tremendous ill-will towards IT departments. It is also why when efficiencies are gained people get laid off. If the enterprise values efficiencies and lower personnel costs then staff lose jobs. IT professionals need to be more cognizant of the values and mission that their organizations hold. Instead of creating efficiencies that reduce personnel we should create efficiencies that allow the redeployment of resources to accomplish the corporate vision.

      • #3325885

        IT is just Technologies for enabling the use of Information as an asset

        by james.chau ·

        In reply to What is the value of IT

        Jobs are gained or lost through economic and political conditions, environmental elements, government and fiscal policies, supply and demands, competition, and innovation. Tariffs, an increase of oil prices or the borrowing cost such as interest rates, tsunami, have far more impact on economy and employment than any IT related issues. The declines of empires were not due to efficiencies gained or lost through the deployment of resources, but the mis-management of resources due to lack of good decisions, control, and the availability of good information. Is a good society one which has 100% employment ? stability is not achieved through preservation of the status quo, cost and revenues are subject to many uncontrollable conditions. IT only provides information, not solutions, it is the will of a society which has the desire and capabilities to grow and to compete responsibly that can sustain itself infrastructurally and politically.

    • #3325882

      Not my carreer!!

      by wadeowen ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      My IT job is extremely rewarding. I manage a group of technical professionals that develop and maintain a system that manages Child and Elder Abuse and Neglect Cases. The things we do affect people’s lives every day!!! Maybe the problem is not IT. Perhaps you should consider working for the government sector. The pay is not as good, but I never wonder why I’m coming to work.

      • #3326285

        Hurray ! blessed are the children and elderlies through IT’s help

        by james.chau ·

        In reply to Not my carreer!!

        God bless you for putting into use one of God’s many wonderful gifts, the ability to help children and elderlies in distress through information and the appropriate actions to the situations. Whether you are part of the government or just a Samaritan passersby, whichever way you can help your fellow human beings, God bless you for doing it and enjoy the reward for being a part of it all. Regards.

    • #3326519

      Volunteer your IT Skills

      by net-engr ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      Many have written to say they feel their only contribution is to streamline businesses that operate for profit. While I may feel this way about my day job, I volunteered to maintain the IT systems of a local non-profit. Very rewarding!

      I used to (before moving) volunteer with the local Red Cross chapter. I was their only IT support for several years. I helped them purchase, install, maintain, and upgrade all of their IT resources.

      Why is this different than corporate IT? For one example, in aftermath of the hurricanes that hit the Carolinas a few years ago, many stopped by the Red Cross office to donate money. I don’t remember how much was donated, but copies of the checks, many for $10 or less — all someone could spare — filled several 3 inch binders, five to a page. I was able to get a computer working at the front desk that ran their bookeeping software. This allowed donations to be entered directly into their books. I probably saved the woman who was the accountant/office manager/computer person a few hundred hours of re-keying donations that would have been captured on paper. Those were hours she could spend at home with her kids.

      Your skills are valuable not just to for-profit corporations. The next time you wonder how you can “make a difference in the world” only knowing IT, think about the relief agencies that are helping tsunami survivors. Think about the web sites that have been set up to provide information and capture donations. Think about the laptops that being used daily to record survivor information and reunite families…

      I encourage you to volunteer your time, putting your IT skills to work for those organizations that ARE making a difference in the world. Or go to work for them! While they often don’t pay anything near corporate IT, many non-profit groups are desperately seeking people with computer skills. After all, computers are as much a part of their daily activities as most for-profit corporations. The next time you upgrade and donate your older equipment, think about who will try to make it work.

    • #3326509

      Back in IT after 2year layoff and making excellent $$ again!

      by ross.elkins ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      Perspective is everything! I’ve had 10 odd jobs since 11/02. This teaches you quickly how personally rewarding a job in IT is compared to some crap jobs and employers out there.
      I started out in 1981 and felt like I was a pioneer in the info revolution. Maybe many of you felt that way and now are left with the comparative boredom of bizness computing. Its hard to live and work with that after soaring like an eagle. It’s much harder to be up against the financial wall and forced to try physical labor, more menial work or the same skilled IT work for 1/3 pay. My last job 2 years ago as the IT mgr for a small ISD was a shot at doing more interesting and scientific work then biz computing and look where it got me! I have steered my children away from IT and I just hope I can finish out my career in the great opportunity I started in over 20 years ago.

    • #3326505

      IT in education

      by highthoughts ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      lots of great opinons for this discussion.

      i know that right out of tech school with some college i worked for compaq doing tech support in the building for a couple of different departments.
      not very rewarding.
      after doing that for 2 year i took a job doing roaming tech and server support with a public school. the pay was less than compaq but the hours were flexable and those people were always glad to see me.
      currently i am a network administrator at an independant school K-12. i do have some interactions with the more tech savvy students and know that i really do something.
      in a profession where doing your job right means that no one knows your doing anything at all working in education is mentally and emotionally rewarding where other positions are not.

    • #3326486

      Life is Now…Not a projected future or past!

      by ericlundeen ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      You said; ?Recently I’ve been pondering a lot about the real true value of what I do for a living, that being IT of course. When I say real value, I mean, what can I point out to my children and say “look, dad did this and it helps people and is worthwhile because ______.”

      It seems that you might be mistaking ?the real true value of what I do for a living,? with the real true value of living, that is ?being?. If your mind cannot be stopped at will?to experience the value of being, then your mind runs your life, not the essential being that you are.

      The mental dilemma that you are constantly rehashing appears to ignore a basic principal of life?life is! If your children say ?my father taught me the value of being? there is no greater gift you could give them. Using your being to ?weight the scales of justice? can lead to right action that is in itself justification for anything that you ?do for a living?.

      Perhaps, your presence alone is the reason you do what you do for the people you work with?that when you have given those within your immediate sphere all the help that they need, you will move on to another place where your presence is needed more?

      It is difficult, but not impossible in this day and age, to remember that all the answers that you seek are within you. The dissatisfaction you experience leads you to change the situation of life that creates disharmony. When you ?grow? it can be a painful process, but you will grow.

    • #3326466

      Real Value of IT work?

      by diannasopinion ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      Dear Packratt,

      I am always wondering about the same thing. I am starting to think that teaching people how to use computers may be better than actually working in IT. At least I will be able to trully help people and enjoy the feedback. IT is a thankless job with none of the old perks. I think a lot of us are rethinking our careers, especially those like me who have been relearning for 20 years.

    • #3326446

      Understand the Big Picture

      by rsanchez ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      In my experience I have found that the more I am familiar with the business-end of my organization (this includes cost vs benefit analysis) not only helps to lower my frustration as to my worth to my organization, but the positive by-product of better communication with the non-techie side of the house has increased my level of input and participation in marketing and planning meetings and consequently has resulted in an increase in job satisfaction and salary; once you are able to directly relate to what the other side of the house is doing you can then have a more positive impact on design and development of needed tools – educate yourself on marketing, data analysis and cost/benefit analysis.

      • #3326277

        So IT is helping you in business collaboration through information

        by james.chau ·

        In reply to Understand the Big Picture

        IT currently being technologies in enabling the use of information as an asset is also benefiting your knowledge of what your business does as a whole, without organizational or functional (departmental) boundaries. I think this is a natural process where a business was created as a concept and implemented into organizational units, and here you are re-engineering this business back into a concept(s), kudos to you.

    • #3326390

      Well… I’ve made a difference.

      by phil perry ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      My first project at the government agency I work for was creating a web search page which enabled families in my state to locate affordable day care in their town. My next project was ongoing maintenance of a system that gave annual grants to child care workers based on how well (and for how long) they thrived at a given job (they don’t make as much money as they should and every little bit helped). Other projects I’ve been involved with include a system which tracks government policies as they moved through the bureaucracy (that one turned into a death march, but was eventually rescued by a larger team), and ongoing maintenance of payroll applications which support state employees (who in turn help the people of the state).

      Pretty much everything I’m involved with is very socially progressive and helpful to the people of my state. If you really want to make a difference, get into social services and help them help others. You’ll find it very rewarding; it’s much better than helping company X create a prettier widget for their next software release.

      Just my opinion.

      • #3326272

        Yes, information help, but it is you who makes the difference

        by james.chau ·

        In reply to Well… I’ve made a difference.

        While smaller scale projects are usually big in satisfaction, it is mainly due to the non IT related impact that gives it highly visible (to you) results, such as satisfaction. In most large scale projects the satisfaction is usually quite meaningless in non IT related ways, such as code efficiency and high performance and elegance or reusability, most of these IT tangible satisfactions are ignored by non IT people and the end results are often trashed by the road side without an iota of understanding and therefore appreciation by anyone else, and yes, it is indeed quite painful many times, I know.

    • #3326349

      Real Value of IT Work?

      by dony_bruk ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      I view IT like mathematics, as an exercise in logic. I enjoy it for its intellectual stimulation, for being able to solve a problem. I did like to think it helps others and increase efficiency and reduce drudgery. But now the drudgery had returned, courtesy of the bureaucracy in the form of paperwork (project charters, CRM, post evaluation…), that both the user and IT hate, and the efficiency is lost in the bargain!

    • #3326337

      12 YEARS

      by jrowe ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      I have been in the Help Desk business for 12 years and worked myself up to a very good second level position, until management changed and with it my second level position. I was given the choice of a first level position or the door. I am very good at what I do but the people that were kept at a second level position hardly did anything to deserve that title. Seems kind of nuts that all of a sudden there are no second level type positions anywhere. Does anyone have any suggestions for the Chicago area? I’ve been thinking about a new career also. I just don’t know what would match my current salary and its pretty important that it stays the same or goes up. I’m pretty sick of hearing that IT doesn’t make money. If you look at the big picture, if IT didn’t do what it did, THERE WOULDN’T BE ANY MONEY!!!! But does management look at it that way? Not a chance….

      • #3326270

        IT does make a lot of money for them, they lied

        by james.chau ·

        In reply to 12 YEARS

        Looks like u have to do something. And you can help yourself too if you do it right.

    • #3326258

      i can relate

      by kenobi5 ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      I can certainly relate to Packratt. Those who define the value of their work by how much money they saved the company (and how many jobs they cost others), are small little souls who can’t see beyond themselves. The world is only about money if we allow it to be. I also wanted to do something more fulfilling and help people. I have channelled my IT energies into getting involved with a local NDP riding association (for you Americans, the NDP is a major political party in Canada, much further ‘left’ then your Democrats or our Liberals). At the local level both political and non-profit groups are starving for tech savvy volunteers, and eventually the volunteering can lead into a full time paying career. You aren’t going to get rich at it, but you can look yourself in the mirror everyday and know that you helped make the world a little better at the end of the day. Opening lines of communication, reaching out through e-media to the wider community, connecting people with the answers or resources they are searching for,…it does make a difference. They aren’t plentiful, but meaningful IT jobs are out there.

    • #3326218

      Reality is hard to chew for too many

      by dgalen ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      Often IT is defining itself as what was “LOST” after the boom. Frequently we are
      all talking about how we went from making X to making X – 20, 30 or even 50 thousand
      less then we are now. We are really talking about the bubble, the bubble yields the
      same answers as a bubble as it does a defunct industry, mostly what I see is people
      complaining that they are not making what they were before or that they are now Unemployed. Reality is simple here, some (probably more than half) enjoyed cushy jobs at extreme rates because there were simply not enough bodies to occupy the
      Needed positions. Unfortunately for these people they now need to understand that the quality of people is now scrutinized, and most of their goals and achievements are now a postscript or an internet cache file. The bottom line is that many people who got jobs in this era, just don’t have the skills needed to do the job. I hate
      to bring it up but since the majority of posts at techrepublic are how the world got

      Horrible for people after the bubble, and sometimes not even the bubble but just A willingness to dump on the president. I feel it is necessary. By and far the entrenched “TECH” industry is still doing their job or finding ways to improvise about their Technical problems. In the end it?s really simple, there were not enough bodies to fill These positions so people filled them, even if they didn?t honestly meet the REAL requirements, the positions had to be filled faster than the needs. The reality is simple; more people were training to be IT/IS technical staff than were able to contribute to the reality. Most people need to seriously take a look at their skill set and decide whether they are IT professionals or IT/income-hopefll/wannabees. This is a difficult position to admit, but many people clearly are only associated with IT/IS/Information technology, because it was simply a popular income source.

    • #3326854

      I can relate

      by david.cropper ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      I work for a major airline in Atlanta. After 25 years with the company and a spotless record, my job is in the process of being outsourced. I have a semi-IT job in the training department.

      To me, the corporate world is not the place to be if you would like safety. IT or no IT. The corporate world is all about money.

      If you are not one that can make the decisions, then you are the one that gets a raw deal. Plain and simple.

      To me, the IT jobs that we should be seeking are in small business, not the corporate world.

    • #3326815

      It’s all in the heart man

      by jthornberry ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      I have been in the IT field for 6 years or so now having changed careers at 40 from non profit management. I spent my 20’s and 30’s “making the world a better place” with organizations such as Red Cross, Cancer Society, Urban Corps and don’t get me wrong; I loved every minute of it. But at 40 I was looking for a new challenge and IT seemed a good way to go. Since then, I’ve done IT for one of the largest international ministries; a HUGE (more 2000 students) private Christian school and for a small non profit running their technology center and doing tech support/network administration. In the past two weeks I took a job with our local county government as an IT Support Specialist. It isn’t IT that is the problem. I find great satisfaction in knowing that what I do enables people; such as a nationally known Pastor and evangelist or our county commissioners; do what THEY do better. My heart every morning says what I do makes a difference because without me – the social workers and public health nurses and senior advocates and judges and DA’s and so forth would have a harder time doing what they do.

      Look around friend, find an IT position with an organization you believe in. You may take a pay cut – but the job satisfaction will raise immensely.


    • #3326784

      Imagine a world without IT

      by lumens ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      Try going back to the days of old with no automation. With the rising population comes greater demand for better, nore efficient ways of doing things. If hospitals had to process insurance claims manualy it would take countless hours and higher costs which would get passed to patients through higher hospital bills and increased insurance premiums. As far as lining the pockets of the already wealthy, they must be providing a service or product that people want and are willing to pay for, otherwise they wouldn’t be succesful, and the efficiencies that are gained from automation eventually lead to lower costs for consumers. Also IT has been the underpinning for adavancement in a lot of fields including healthcare, weather forecasting, agriculture and many others. Imagine mapping the human genome without IT. Imagine trying to get a package delivered without IT. These and many other tasks that we take for granted would be next to impossible without the current infrastructure that we have. Even the power companies rely on IT. What we do is often seen as a cost center, only because we in the industry don’t do a good enough job quantifying the value of what we do. When we throw out a number for the cost of a project shouldn’t we also explain the benefit in gained productivity?

      • #3326713

        I can’t help myself

        by maxwell edison ·

        In reply to Imagine a world without IT

        Excuse me for taking this off on an unrelated tangent, but something you said just BEGS for a “therefore” conclusion.

        You said, “If hospitals had to process insurance claims manually it would take countless hours and higher costs which would get passed to patients through higher hospital bills and increased insurance premiums.”

        So true, and I agree 100 percent.

        However, therefore:

        If hospitals didn’t have to process insurance claims at all, it would take NO hours and NO costs which would NOT get passed to patients through higher hospital bills and increased insurance premiums.

        Therefore, insurance makes medical care MORE expensive, not less expensive. So let’s do away with insurance totally.

        No, I’m not kidding. Yes, I’m absolutely serious.

        • #3326626

          you don’t understand…claims processing is extremely manual

          by james.chau ·

          In reply to I can’t help myself

          I have worked at very large insurance firms, one of the most manual process is the claims business process, it is almost entirely manual, scores of claims personnel handle the claims today, often one claim gets passed up the chain in a usually very long and tedious fashion. Does that explain why the time and costs are so unusally high and going higher ? Regards.

        • #3327179

          Regardless – my point was this

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to you don’t understand…claims processing is extremely manual

          Regardless of the extent to which insurance processing may or may not be automated, medical insurance makes the cost of delivering health care more expensive – much more expensive. The irony, however, is that the “insurance industry” is marketed to people who are looking for cheaper health care for themselves, but by its mere existence it’s made health care more expensive for everyone.

        • #3327062

          We’re off topic but

          by lumens ·

          In reply to Regardless – my point was this

          How do you figure insurance raises the cost of healthcare? Insurance is for people who can’t afford a huge bill but can afford to pay a small premium each month. I don’t understand how that translates into higher healthcare costs. The insurance industry wants to make money, therefore its not in their best interest to have rising healthcare costs.

        • #3326994

          Yes – Insurance RAISES the cost of health care

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to We’re off topic but

          Let’s assume that your doctor wants to make $750 a day, and she bases her fees accordingly. Let’s further assume that she sees her patients for 20 minutes, and will see, on average, twenty patients a day. If she had absolutely no expenses, and divided her $750 salary evenly between the twenty patients, each patient would have to pay about $38.00 for the visit. In my opinion, that sounds like a really a pretty reasonable fee.

          However, as we both know, she does indeed have expenses. She has rent and utilities, so add $5 per patient. She has a full time receptionist and a nurse on staff, so add another $10 per visit. She has all the other expenses, such as supplies and equipment, so add another $5. And she has the magazines (a little medical humor, there) so add a buck or two for those. So these expenses bring each patient’s cost up to $60 per visit. But she ALSO has one or two people, not to mention additional equipment and office space, who do not contribute at all to the delivery of health care, but ONLY to process insurance claims. So add another $10 per patient per visit for that as well. So make that $70 per visit.

          The necessity to process the insurance claims does indeed require your doctor to hire people whose sole function is anything but delivering “health care”. If the doctor didn’t have that expense, the office visit would be less. But now consider the huge HMOs and clinics and hospitals, who have to maintain entire departments for the processing of insurance claims. My guess is that the average hospital in America spends tens of millions of dollars each and every year simply processing insurance claims. Do you think those costs are taken out of the hospital’s profits or doctors and nurses salaries? No, they’re not. They are passed on to you and me — the consumer of health care.

          And do you want to consider the additional expense of medical malpractice insurance premiums? If you want to estimate what the average hospital might have to pay in premiums, just consider that your family doctor has to pay upwards of $100,000 per year just for the insurance premiums. That’s another cost that’s passed on to you and me — the consumer of health care.

          But wait. Because these doctors and hospital costs are getting so high, the consumer of health care, you and me, buy medical insurance. We pay thousands of dollars each and every year in insurance premiums so that we have the pleasure of having that insurance company nickel-and-dime everybody to death so they can make their profits as large as possible. Don’t you just love it when you pay thousands of dollars every year to your insurance company so they can turn around and deny the $100 claim for lab work that your doctor recommended? Oh, you don’t pay the insurance premium, you might say. Your company does. Well don’t be fooled. Whether you actually write the checks for the premiums or your company does, it is indeed part of your overall salary package.

          But what about the people who don’t have insurance? Well, there’s the free clinics and city hospitals that will take them for free. They provide FREE medical care for all those skinned knees and runny noses, and drug overdoses and abortions, and just about anything that happens. Isn’t that just swell? Nope, those costs get passed onto the others who really DO pay.

          Even looking at it in this simplistic way: You pay the medical insurance, and the medical insurance pays the doctor. But where you pay $100 for the insurance, the insurance company pays only $50 to the doctor. Why not eliminate the middle-man and you pay the doctor directly? Medical insurance is indeed part of the medical delivery system. And it’s a cost that does absolutely nothing for the delivery of health care.

          Don’t fool yourself. Nothing is “free” and nothing is “cheap”. Someone pays for it in the long run. And who might that be? The consumer of health care, you and me.

          If we could wave our magic wand and totally do away with the “someone else pays” system of health care, and we purchased health care just like we might purchase our groceries, the costs would literally spiral – a downward spiral, that is.

        • #3327883

          But I don’t understand

          by lumens ·

          In reply to Yes – Insurance RAISES the cost of health care

          I guess their is an implicit cost to having insurance in the system. But I don’t think your alternative ( removving insurance from the system) is practical unless you’re talking about a public system like Canada’s. In the context of a free market system, insurance is a good thing for those who don’t have the money to self pay. As far as insurance premiums go, its not lawsuits that raise premiums, like malpractice insurance premiums, those play a small role. Rather the performance of investments made by the insurance companies. If the stock market is up, insurance premiums trend down, if interest rates are up, they trand down. We’ve been in the reverse situation for several years until 03. Low interest rates and a fauiltering stock market. That’s why all the rates are trending up. Unless you’re arguing for public healthcare, which is another matter entirely, insurance is a necessary expense that allows us to all share the risk of whatever it is we want insurance for in the first place. The implicit costs are something we all share because we can’t afford the alternative.

        • #3327853

          lumens – To the contrary

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to Yes – Insurance RAISES the cost of health care

          Absolutely not. I do not support even a hint of a public health care system. In fact, I would support just the opposite.

          In my opinion, you should purchase your health care, and I should purchase mine.

          There is no such thing as “free” health care, and especially not in Canada. Somebody pays for it, and in Canada’s case, everybody pays for it whether they want to or not, and whether they use it or not.

          And in my opinion, health care in America always WAS affordable until the advent of the insurance system. Whenever you have a third-party payer system for anything, the cost will increase.

          I don’t expect anyone else to pay for my automobile body repairs; and I don’t expect anyone else to pay for my personal body repairs. And neither should anyone. That’s what public health care systems do; and that’s what our insurance system does, albeit to a lesser degree.

        • #3327591

          to: maxwell, re: healthcare

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Yes – Insurance RAISES the cost of health care

          Somehow I knew I’d grow to like you. This is just my “metoo” post to indicate my agreement with what you’ve said on the matter.

        • #3328601

          insurance industry vs. insurance

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to We’re off topic but

          Completely aside from maxwell’s points about insurance increasing healthcare costs, the extant insurance industry increases insurance costs as well. The realities of an insurance system run within the resitrictions of corporate law in this nation do a lot to jack up prices behind the scenes. It takes a lot of bureaucrats just to keep the paperwork machinery moving, for instance. There’s also the fact of insurance in a corporate system being more vulnerable to lawsuits than in a direct insurance (noncorporate) system, as the complexities of corporate law and the indeminification of individuals against personal litigation actually contribute to the prevalence of lawsuits directed at the corporation, which in turn increases insurance premiums across the board to “correct” for the losses to legal overhead. The most insidious problem of it all, though, is based in the simple fact that the people running the insurance industry actually prefer higher healthcare costs and will do what they can to increase them.

          To think that they want healthcare costs to be lower is naive, I’m afraid. Lower costs do indeed increase the profit margin for a given insurance premium rate, but without volume of business that rate is meaningless for determining profit. Insurance companies cut down on their costs not by cutting healtchare costs, but by increasing volume of business. The more business they do, the more the process of dealing with it can benefit from automation. Automation procedures have a fairly static buy-in cost, with extremely small increases in cost for adding more “units” of service. That means that the more business they do, the more money they make above and beyond the initial buy-in cost (which is often measured by quarter or by fiscal year). Volume of business is increased by ensuring that healthcare costs are too high for anyone to reasonably afford without insurance.

          Of course, without insurance businesses on the scale of major corporations like Blue Shield, the power to affect the base cost of healthcare wouldn’t be there. Smaller providers (such as would exist in a system where only sole proprietorships existed, for instance) don’t have that kind of across-the-board power, because there just isn’t the ability to expand to fill out so much of the market and exert influence there.

          When a business gets too big, it begins to be able to use coercive measures to alter the state of the market. For instance, insurance companies regularly sue doctors, ostensibly to get out of paying on a particular claim. Usually, the suit costs more than paying the claim would, though. One can only assume, I think, that the real reason for the suits is to help keep healthcare costs artificially inflated so that people will need insurance to be able to afford doctor visits.

          Examples of how the insurance industry, its top providers being powerful corporate interests, manipulate the healthcare industry are numerous.

        • #3322095

          Is health insurance needed at all ?

          by james.chau ·

          In reply to I can’t help myself

          You don’t need insurance if you have the money to pay for the hospitalization. Insurance helps those who cannot pay, so naturally ones who can pay do not want to help the ones who cannot pay through insurance. When you compute the costs of processing claims you have to factor in the total cost of hospitalization. For low cost hospitalizations the claim costs are high, but for high cost hospitalizations the claim costs are quite negligiable. The privatized structure of health care is the cause for spiraling of health costs due to the profit driven nature of private health care. Note: without a health care structure which can pool together huge resources in establishing infrastructures capable of providing better and more expensive operations which may cost into hundreds of thousands of dollars.

        • #3321962


          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Is health insurance needed at all ?

          That’s a great bunch of unsupported non-facts. Try offering some supporting evidence for these bizarre claims about cause and effect, if you expect anyone to agree with you for reasons other than mere social programming.

        • #3337738

          Americans without health insurance at a record high

          by james.chau ·

          In reply to Nifty!

          According to the Census Bureau the number of Americans without health insurance rose by 1.4 million last year to 45 million (15.6% of the population). A full report on the uninsured as well as the number of people living in poverty can be read at
          About 28,000 Americans died every year as a result of medical problems requiring surgeries but were unable to afford them. This figure is also rising rapidly.

        • #3337655


          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Americans without health insurance at a record high

          You’ve made some interesting assumptions, there. For instance, you assumed (or at least presented the assumption) that because someone was unable to afford a surgery, he or she was unable to afford insurance. That’s not strictly the case.

          Insurance, including government healthcare programs (regardless of the country in question), often doesn’t cover a wide range of necessary surgeries. Furthermore, there are a great many people who accept lesser-quality healthcare because it’s “cheaper”, or even “free” in the case of government handouts. Government healthcare programs provide a strong disincentive for actually getting some health insurance of your own, even though the healthcare provided is necessarily (due to economic constraints on a strongly bureaucratic, not-for-profit system) of lower quality than actual paid-for health insurance provides.

          Statistics can mean whatever you like, as long as you’re willing to ignore important matters like motivating factors and social causality.

        • #3337637

          Hypothetical vs Reality

          by packratt ·

          In reply to assumptions

          Of course, you are answering assumptions with assumptions, pots and kettles et al…

          Allow me to explain what really happens, at least in my case, and you’ll see it has nothing at all to do with your government bogeyman.

          Family of four; me, wife, two sons. Wife has a painful and debilitating, but treatable chronic illness that prevents her from working but could be healed with surgery. Had one surgery that was successful for a few years but the condition returned after I had lost employment and medical coverage. The condition is due to a congenital defect, so it wasn’t a result of neglecting one’s health.

          So, we have to live on one income. I haven’t been able to find full time employment that pays enough to support a family on one income while offering insurance and the ability to take enough time off to care for my family while my wife has a major operation… Heck, can’t find perm employment at all, been moving around to contract after contract after we lost the house.

          Contracts do not offer medical insurance, and when they do it’s at a high rate that I cannot afford, besides the ones I can get have pre-existing exclusion clauses. Private coverage is way too expensive (since group coverage is), and I do make just over the ammount that would qualify for government coverage.

          My wife has endured this painful and debilitating and potentially life threatening curable disease for years because we cannot afford coverage and definitely cannot afford the treatment. Doctors only order tests we cannot afford and Emergency rooms refer her to a doctors office or specialist that we cannot afford, all the while those bills just add to the overwhelming debt.

          For us, a government solution never entered into the equation, we don’t have that option. But the private solutions don’t exist and still wouldn’t exist even without government.

          Imagine, if you could, that you were forced to endure dibilitating pain, pain so bad that it made you curl up in a ball, for years. All the while knowing that someone could stop that pain but wouldn’t just because you couldn’t afford to pay that person. Doesn’t that sound like the worst sort of extortion there is?

          No wonder doctors and insurance companies can charge unpayable fees. Your money or your life. I shudder to think what it would be like without even the minimal government regulations that exist today as you would propose we have.

        • #3337566

          to: Pac (heh)

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to assumptions

          I haven’t made any assumptions about it at all. Your statement that I made assumptions then went on to ignore the idea of actually identifying any assumptions in what I said. I have gone over what I said, looking for any accidental assumptions I made on the matter, and found none. As such, I dismiss it out of hand until such time as you actually identify an assumption I made. If and when you do so, I will consider the matter once more with an open mind.

          You present your circumstances as somehow representative of the whole. Anecdotal evidence of one “test case” doesn’t equate to strong evidence of prevailing trends. Without being able to show a fairly linear trend in similarity of percentages at different scales of supposedly representative population segments, there’s just no justification for presenting any selection from the whole as being representative of that whole, and one single case proves nothing unless you’re arguing against an absolutist argument. Since you’re not, your anecdote serves no useful purpose in this discussion that I’ve discerned. I feel for you, really, but it doesn’t change the facts of the issue at hand.

          On the other hand, even making the assumption (for argument’s sake) that your particular set of circumstances is representative of a significant segment of the population (which it may or may not be), it certainly doesn’t provide any good reasons for going to a socialized healthcare system. You point out that some people fall through the cracks in our hybridized system, which is true. You assume that no fewer people will fall through the cracks in a truly free (that doesn’t mean anarchic) market, and I quite disagree with that, but for the sake of the argument we’ll just pretend you said “Even if less fall through the cracks in a free market economy, there are still some falling through the cracks,” and with that I tend to agree.

          None of that in any way indicates that a fully socialized medical system would make anything better. In fact, there’s a great deal of evidence to the contrary, including the fact that Canada is hemmorhaging trained medical personnel, most of the best treatments in the world (not counting those that haven’t been approved by the FDA) are available primarily (if not only) in the United States. Also keep in mind that using hospitals in countries with more-socialized medical care is like having to deal with the California Department of Motor Vehicles to get a doctor’s visit (keep in mind that I’ve personally had to deal with both the CA DMV and hospitals in countries with heavily socialized healthcare).

          To your statement that “private solutions don’t exist and still wouldn’t exist even without government,” I say: Prove it. At least give me a logically sound explanation of why not. Then, if I don’t decapitate your argument with ease, proceed to tell me how socialized healthcare would make things any better.

          Another quote from your post: “Imagine, if you could, that you were forced to endure dibilitating pain, pain so bad that it made you curl up in a ball, for years. All the while knowing that someone could stop that pain but wouldn’t just because you couldn’t afford to pay that person. Doesn’t that sound like the worst sort of extortion there is?”

          Sure, it would if it were being inflicted on me by another person. If, however, it’s the result of bad luck and genetics, I’d probably consider it to be, err, bad luck. Nobody has any “right” to violate the laws of physics, nor to be compensated for bad luck at the expense of other people just because they don’t suffer the same bad luck. Stealing my money won’t make your luck any better: it will only make mine worse, along with your integrity.

          Doctors and insurance companies can “charge unpayable fees” because they exist in a controlled, monopolistic market, not because they address a necessary problem in the course of doing business. If nobody could pay their fees, and they weren’t able to extort money using the government strongarm to shoehorn them into the industry, insurance conglomerates wouldn’t be able to charge exhorbitant rates because nobody would be paying them. If government wasn’t so involved in the insurance market, companies whose purpose is to provide healthcare coverage at various economic levels would be able to fill in the gaps in the system and provide various levels of insurance for various economic classes. True competition, where one can enter the market simply by being able to provide a needed service effectively, would cause prices to minimize at a level that covers expenses plus some nominal provit, whereas profits are maximized in the current system because direct competition doesn’t exist.

        • #3337641

          So What?

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to Americans without health insurance at a record high

          If there were 300 million Americans without health insurance, the cost of health care would plummit.

        • #3337644

          Somebody PAYS

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to Is health insurance needed at all ?

          You said that, “Insurance helps those who cannot pay.” And you went on to say that, “ones who can pay do not want to help the ones who cannot pay.” And then you blamed “profit” motives for higher prices.

          There are two things wrong with these statements.

          First of all, it’s a fallacy that private enterprise causes higher prices because of profit motives. Actually, private enterprise, when competition is allowed to exist unencumbered and without interference, actually results in LOWER prices, not higher. Monopolies — whether they are private or government — is what causes higher prices. To blame “profit” motives is silly.

          Second of all, you make the assumption that people who can afford it “don’t want to help”. Again, that’s silly. Lower prices will help everybody. And competition ALWAYS results in lower prices — ALWAYS. Name one industry where competition has not resulted in lower prices.

          Moreover, health care is not a right. It is a commodity. And what gives you the right to demand that someone else pay for your commodity — your health care — just because you can’t afford it? I suppose you expect someone else to buy your computer as well?

    • #3326720

      IT 4 Me is Fun.

      by admin ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      I do it anyway. It has a value to myself, and the world fluctuates on it’s value constantly.

      Refusing to work anywhere that is not fun severly limits your value in the eyes of the world though, but, as my old school biker bretheren used to say: “FTW”. Perhaps original Christianity put it more kindly saying: “Be in the world, but not of it” but basically, what does matter that is valued by the world in the end?

      IT is no different.

      Do what ya want- Do what ya like. Don’t expect anyone else to thank you but you. That’s my Mantra today :>

      • #3326624

        As for the Sin, Man shalt till the field and sweat for….

        by james.chau ·

        In reply to IT 4 Me is Fun.

        In Genesis, it is said that Man must labour for food and shelter instead of from the trees of Eden, and so it was to be….

        • #3328604

          Sweat is good for your health and well-being :)

          by admin ·

          In reply to As for the Sin, Man shalt till the field and sweat for….

          As is labor. I like to till. I go home and till in my greenhouse for fun these days.

          Of course, you could be saying we sit on chairs too much in IT and this is outside of God’s plan… but if you believe that, why sit here and post 🙂

          Of course its a drag about the sin thing and all, but hey, it’s still fun for me to do work I like 🙂

    • #3326627

      Empowerment – Storytellers, &c.

      by gdoc ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      Storytellers, cave painters, scribes, printers, computer and network engineers. This is a truncated list of “information technology” workers over a period of years. Though some actually came up with the content, it is the relay of this content that gives it significance to the world as a whole. Someone may be brilliant, but if they cannot relay the information how can it be of any import?

      You work in an industry that permits the widest possible, to date, dissemination as well as correlation of “content”. The uses of this content is varied, some good, some bad, but you are not directly responsible for the use anymore than a automobile manufacturer is responsible for a bank holdup if their product is used as a getaway car. You provide the conduit for information, or knowledge that is integral to modern communication. This includes research, critical support services, education, as well as the rich getting richer, the powerful getting more power, &c., but are we worse off than when books were rare, and few could read? I think we support the capability for people to make informed decisions, as to whether they use that capability??sigh.

      • #3326620

        printers, computer are fine, but people would die if plugged in…

        by james.chau ·

        In reply to Empowerment – Storytellers, &c.

        You left out a key part of IT, that being electricity. Although it is still information, but IT would not work without electricity, yes, batteries are fine too. Is newspaper part of IT ? hmm… about the fingerprints on the newspaper which was used to conceal the weapon in a bank holdup ? or the CRT used to bonk the poor soul on the head ?
        IT doesn’t just make the rich richer, but also go bust, look at the dot com folks, or the news media or business form publishes, airlines, hotels, shops, etc…

    • #3326597

      As an IT worker

      by zlitocook ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      I get alot of old, second hand and I just dont need computers, laptops and assorted computer equptment. Dont tell MS but I fix up the stuff and give it to people for free. People who can not get computer any other way, like disabled folks with fixed incomes or people who are just getting by with their incomes. If you have a computer and can use it, it gives you a step up in the real world. You can tell an employer that you can use a computer, can use Excel or other things and mabie get a better pay rate. It also lets the kids of those famlies learn about computers like the others. But when the computers you give away brake down they come to you to fix them, because computer shops charge to fix them.

    • #3327266

      Life is Strange

      by bsod_420 ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      To sum it up…

      At work: I work in the IT field to do the exact functions you described, and more.

      At Home: I work in the IT field to provide for my family. Also, when I am not at work, I engage in activities that make me feel like I am “Really Helping People”.

    • #3327009

      Fact & philosophy?

      by qualasaida ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      My Greetings to you all
      First of all I think you are very lucky being a father. The fact that you are using your knowledge and skills to perform networking tasks and thus making a living to support your family shows that you are doing a job of great value.
      Please remember that no one can change the world alone. You might be able to change or affect a small part of it, and change it to the better. But even that requires a lot of time and effort…and sacrifice. I am sure that many of us do have the will, but do we have the means? Individuals like Mother Theresa did try, and some did make a difference. But that’s only because they put aside their personal needs; no family, no car, no house, no kids or family…etc.
      The problem is that money is so central in everyone’s life. There is something wrong with the way our society is organized. That has worried me for a long time, and the fact that we are being so materialistic reminds me of other problems such as pollution, world resources…etc. And that’s when I come to the conclusion that the world can only change when your and my boss change to less greedy individuals and start giving to the needy.
      Just want to add that you seem like feeling guilty because you cannot see “the result”. Have you considered working with Health Information Systems? Personally I think it is one of very few areas where IT does make a big difference.
      Or perhaps you are the right person for a PhD degree where you can do research on solving a major global problem?
      Only together we can achieve. Remeber the puzzle? You need all the pieces to solve it, just like you need every individual’s resources and co-operation to make the world a better place.

    • #3327679


      by ssebaugh ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      I sooo, agree with your point..having done exactly what you described for a boss that is now on his way to jail (Bernie from MCI/Worldcom). I saved them money and then trained my replacement who took the job out of the country to India!
      I have asked this question myself, and I put in many 60-70 weeks for these dudes!! What a knuckle head heh?

    • #3327675


      by ssebaugh ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      I sooo, agree with your point..having done exactly what you described for a boss that is now on his way to jail (Bernie from MCI/Worldcom). I saved them money and then trained my replacement who took the job out of the country to India!
      I have asked this question myself, and I put in many 60-70hr weeks for these dudes!! What a knuckle head heh?

    • #3328240

      definitely worthwhile

      by biztechchick ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      For me it’s the science, but even if the amazing things that electrons can do doesn’t give you religion there’s still the fact that our real job is to bring people together. We allow them to share thoughts and ideas in better and better ways and too solve more and more complex problems and to be part of something larger than themselves. We’re becoming a component of the glue that holds our society together as well as a catalyst for it’s evolution.

    • #3328224

      Don’t worry, be happy.

      by aussierob ·

      In reply to Real Value of IT Work?

      Your IT job gave you the means to have and support a family. I assume you gained some satisfaction from what you did while you were doing it. What more justification go you need?

    • #3327968