Too Large a Workload?

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 715117

    Comments posted to this topic are about the item Too Large a Workload?

  • duvvit

    SSC Enthusiast

    Points: 150

    I think you have made a lot of valid points there.

    Other issues I have noticed:

    We want SQL012 Cluster installed, you know all about this don't you, as your the DBA guy.

    We don't know anything about licences, but you'll know all about that and organize it, as your the DBA guy.

    Some of our ETL processes we wrote are failing, we want you to fix them, as your the DBA guy.

    Personally, I have been working single handed on one project for 14 months.

    I would love to have the luxury of being able to actually "design" different processes. Experiment with different methods, try out various methods, just to get it right.

    With project "deadlines", we are expected to come up with "the best way", first, and not need any trial designs.

    This deadline push, is generating more headache, as we actually have to "re-visit" the initial design, just to get it how we should have had chance to get it initially.

    I think "project design", is severely lacking in the area of "design, trial, rework".

    Although we are expected to know everything, sometimes we don't, and we are constantly having to think on our feet, just to get by.

  • Freddie-304292

    Mr or Mrs. 500

    Points: 589

    It really varies where I work, I've gone through times where I'm working overtime every night, and times when I'm struggling to find things to do. Having a well deserved lull at the moment, which is nice.

  • alex.sqldba

    SSChampion

    Points: 10045

    I've noticed Internal Billing really helps cut back on the crap and unnecessary tasks that we used to get given.

    That coupled with not letting the business make work requests directly to the DBA team but via an intermediary who both understands the business and requirements and also translating that into something meaningful to a DBA. Whilst blocking stupid and redundant requests. But you really need a person who can say no when necessary.

    Most of the ones I come accross are all yes-men (or women, or people)

    But most places I've been treat any technical department (of any kind, dev, graphics, dba) as a bottomless resource - and part of that problem started when adopting the term 'resource' to refer to a human being. But I wont get into a rant about meaningless management speak though.

  • call.copse

    SSCoach

    Points: 16770

    Like Freddie, sometimes, comes and goes. That's generally the nature of working for a smaller business. I put the hours in when I need to, relax more other times and work on better solutions and all-round improvement.

  • Xavon

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2280

    Yes. I am expected to be a full time developer, part time DBA, and part time production support (which sort of ties into the first two, but it still adds to the work load). And the latter two mean I am on call 24/7/365.25. And to add to that, I cannot tell you the last time I had a vacation or sick day that was not interrupted some sort of call...

  • Ian Massi

    SSCertifiable

    Points: 5931

    Sure I have a large workload, but I'm only working 40 hours in a week or so. I manage expectations and do the best I can. The work tends to come in waves anyway. One month I might be overloaded and the next month will be lighter. So if work carries over from one month to the next then it evens out, which happened for me between December and January this year. I just need to figure out when these waves of heavy work are likely to occur so I can plan my vacation time better. I don't like being in the middle of an important project and saying that I'm taking a week off, so everyone will have to sit tight for a bit.

  • RayC-714046

    Mr or Mrs. 500

    Points: 551

    Well, I work for one of those yes men, and that means I don't get to focus on any one thing for too long. In my department, I am the DBA, the Document Imaging expert, iSeries/AS400 expert, and the former Network Administrator that gets called into action every time one of the Network Admins leaves for greener pastures. I am currently the most senior person in the department, so I get to be the go to guy. There is no such thing as following a plan anymore, it is put out the fires, jump when the boss says "Sure, we can do that right away" and to top off the whole thing, there are no boundaries in our department, so anyone can be mucking around in a server or database and guess who gets to clean up the mess.

    My point here is, if you are going to work in I.T., it is my advice that you find a company that will allow you to focus. It can be good experience to be the one person I.T. shop, but that is a quick path to burn out. Do the homework on the company you are applying at, so you aren't walking into a heart attack waiting to happen. I have learned, the hard way, that health has to be considered in your career choice. From my above description of my current position, you can bet, I am working on making a healthy change where I can focus on SQL Server, and leave some of the rest behind.

  • GA Programmer

    Old Hand

    Points: 327

    I've commented often about this issue within our industry. I think the biggest problem is ourselves. We don't set down the proper expectations, so when they ask us to do more, we do it. Then we do it again, then again until we are overwhelmed. Many other departments may also be overworked, but for the same reasons. I work for a company where the expectations are clearly defined. I work a 40 hr week, except during emergencies or planned off-hours upgrades. No one expects you to say "not my problem" during emergencies or tight deadlines, but it should not be the norm. Learn the power of NO.

    The workers in this industry have done this to themselves, incrementally, over time and unless people start trying to change it, they should expect to spend the rest of their life in an overworked panic mode. Sure, everyone is scared of losing their job, but if you are overworked (and therefore, by definition, underpaid), then is it really a bad thing?

  • OCTom

    SSChampion

    Points: 11755

    I have always believed that I.T. staff is overworked. There are times when I've enjoyed it; times when I've been overwhelmed. There are those in management that have unrealistic expectations. That is our fault for not standing up to them.

    Tom

  • rwaring 96203

    SSC Enthusiast

    Points: 194

    I have been in this business for 30 years and I think the explosion in new technology has added to the workload and stress of the I.T. professional. We are expected to know such a breadth of knowledge that it is daunting to keep up. In the 80's I was a COBOL programmer and that was easy. Very easy. You had a sense of mastery and when asked to produce something there was a feeling of competence. That was probably the last time I felt that way about my job. Now I am frequently asked to do things I've never done before, in a complex and stressful environment. I rely on Google and software manuals to figure things out on the fly but there is always anxiety associated with that. I have recommended against an I.T. career to the younger generations of my family.

  • alex.sqldba

    SSChampion

    Points: 10045

    rwaring, I would agree 100%

    I've not been in this industry as long as you, probably half as long but I can relate, completely.

    I too have given people an unedited version of IT today, which was in most cases enough to dissuade them from following.

  • melissa.dougherty

    Old Hand

    Points: 326

    Over the years we have been expected to produce more, do the work of more than one person, etc. But, over the weeks, months, years, there are busy times and slow times. All in all, I believe it evens out. I would recommend a career in IT to everyone that asks.

  • djackson 22568

    SSChampion

    Points: 11713

    I often hear the technical staff in many organizations complaining about the amount of work they are tasked with managing. Plenty of technology professionals view their jobs are stressful, and I've had no shortage of people say they would never recommend their job, or even this industry, to others as a career choice.

    Agreed, it's one thing to have a temporary crisis, but today companies seem to believe we can all function in crisis mode forever. When our days are spent putting out fires, we don't have the luxury of spending time on maintenance to prevent the next fire.

    Our skills are easy to acquire, with any of us able to learn new skills and gaining knowledge as quickly as we are able. Often, our ability to learn is limited only by the time and effort we put into understanding a skill, not any external factor.

    Um, I can't believe you said that! Our skills are certainly not easy to acquire. Granted it might be relatively simple to execute some commands by using Google or another source, but rarely does that mean you understand what effect it will have. Our skills are require years to acquire, and expand with each new task we take on. Our skills provide limited value as we leave school, but are immeasurable as we gain experience. I disagree with the wording you chose 100%. I imagine what you are communicating and what I am reading aren't in line - as I know you understand the challenges we all face each day.

    However that also means that our employers seem to expect that we can learn without training, quickly, on our own, and that we can instantly be experts that make computer systems do our bidding. When we can't respond quickly enough, or as quickly as we did for the last request, our managers feel that we're just being lazy this week.

    Agreed, we may appear to easily solve issues, and it may appear that it happens quickly, but as I said, that depends on your experience and the task.

    Perhaps we do respond quickly, and get tasked with even more work. This might not be the case for most of you, or even many of you. I'm sure plenty of you are in situations where your managers understand the complexity of your jobs, but I wanted to ask about your situation: Do you have too large a workload at your current job?

    Does a bear, um...

    Dave

  • rwaring 96203

    SSC Enthusiast

    Points: 194

    Glad to hear it, Melissa! Someone will have to take over when us old codgers retire. Which for me, is four years away. But who's counting? 🙂

    Rebecca

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