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Posted Monday, August 21, 2006 4:08 PM


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Stress


We all face it, today's headline article deals with it, as does this report from CIOs that acknowledges it. The levels of stress can be high in IT and while we may be proud of how hard we work, it isn't always the best way for us to be the most productive over time.


It's 2:30pm, sometime around 2002, and a new worm is hitting Outlook at my company. It was an attachment mistakenly opened, but all of a sudden our Exchange servers are being overloaded and we need to start working on the issues. The crisis team convenes and after a few hours of working with Symantec, we have an idea of the scope and solution, but it will be hours of work cleaning mailboxes and clearing queues.


At 5:30, one of the crisis team needs to leave. His kid has a baseball game and he's going, even if he's on the crisis team. He's a senior person and not directly responsible for Exchange. There's some grumbling, but the director lets him go. I stick around to see if I can help and end up scripting out some small cleanup tasks that automate the work and we're going home around 2am.


That's probably a familiar situation for many of you. Maybe it was Slammer, maybe a release needs some last minute bug fixes, maybe something else, but there are times when you need to go the extra mile and work harder. My buddy left because he knew the drill, knew that not everyone needed to stay there to work the issue, and he doesn't need the stress. There are times when he does need to work, but he's old enough to know that he also has to develop a balance.


I knew that as well, but I didn't have anything pressing at home, knew my wife would understand, and it was a chance for me to learn more about a new company and perhaps help.


We make mistakes when we're stressed. We're irritable, we don't think as clearly, and we aren't as much fun to be around. We're also missing out on our lives because we because too focused on one thing: work. It's no different if you're getting divorced, have a sick family member, or any number of other stressors outside of work, but work is a stress that we don't often consider.


In IT we live under stressful situations most of the time. We learn to deal with it, some better than others, and some not at all, but we tend to forget the pressure to get a report completed, a project finished, or some other part of our daily work is nothing compared the crisis situations where systems are down. And then we wonder why mistakes are made, things take longer, or we miss more deadlines over the next few weeks or months.


Do yourself a favor. Get away from work, think about something else at night, get a hobby, and learn to balance your life. Work hard, grow your career, but remember there are other things in your life.


And most of all, take your vacation. Don't sell it, bank it, or do anything other than enjoy using it.


Steve Jones






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Post #303069
Posted Tuesday, August 22, 2006 2:50 AM
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I am a developer (generally IT) ,  

u really describes the life of people sticking 12 hours a day on screens try to think for the machines discarding thier sacial life

just want to add ( or insert in sql convension )

When we r at work , we should be totally at work

When we r not at work , we should completely forget everything about work

Thx again

Post #303143
Posted Tuesday, August 22, 2006 6:47 AM
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...And most of all remember, your children are only young once and they need parents, not stressed out adults who are too over-worked to give them enjoyable quality time.
Post #303183
Posted Tuesday, August 22, 2006 7:25 AM
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Absolutely.

There is your work, and there is your life, and although there may be a lot of overlap between the two, remember that they are not the same.




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

C8H10N4O2
Post #303190
Posted Tuesday, August 22, 2006 9:09 AM
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I am a working mother.  In another word, I have two jobs.  I am a SQL Server developer working in a company 10 hours a day (not including 1.5 hours driving time.)  Of course there are all kind of stress dealing with deadline, company politics, co-workers conflict..... Before and after work, I am a maid (mother), cooking, cleaning, doing dishes.....at home.  Over weekend, I have to do grocery shopping, cleaning, working the lawn, laundry, plus being my kid's driver.  Talk about stress, I don't even know how to spell it because it already becomes part of my life.
Post #303225
Posted Tuesday, August 22, 2006 9:12 AM
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Wow... this is a very timely subject for me. In the article, there's the list of "cumulative stress" symptoms - I'm hitting most of them. I figured I was stressed out, but didn't think it was quite that bad, but taking a minute to step back and look at things, I'm noticing that I need to work at managing stress better. Thanks for posting this today.
Post #303228
Posted Tuesday, August 22, 2006 10:42 AM
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Thanks for reminding me (us) Steve.  I am guilty of it right now.  I am on vacation and for the second day in a row, I VPN'ed in to work to check e-mail.  I know I am not the only person that does this, however it is a bad habbit.

Frank

Post #303263
Posted Tuesday, August 22, 2006 11:28 AM
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Cowboy, you've made my day. Not that Im happy that you're stressed of course, but if we can help one person recognize stress and start to change their response, thats an article worth publishing!

Andy
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Post #303275
Posted Tuesday, August 22, 2006 3:32 PM
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Great article, great editorial.

I'll be sharing both with my work mates.

Must be time for that holiday (and I would NEVER take my technology with me).

Thanks Andy and Steve. This is very important in our industry, particularly for those who haven't been around that long and as 10 foot tall bullet proof youths, they just keep grinding through instead of recognising where they are at.



Regards,

Steve

Life without beer is no life at all

All beer is good, some beers are just better than others

Post #303358
Posted Tuesday, August 22, 2006 3:32 PM
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Great article, great editorial.

I'll be sharing both with my work mates.

Must be time for that holiday (and I would NEVER take my technology with me).

Thanks Andy and Steve. This is very important in our industry, particularly for those who haven't been around that long and as 10 foot tall bullet proof youths, they just keep grinding through instead of recognising where they are at.



Regards,

Steve

Life without beer is no life at all

All beer is good, some beers are just better than others

Post #303359
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