A recent poll from Harris Interactive confirms what many of us already know: We’re stressed at work! Out of about 2,700 respondents surveyed in the United States, nearly a quarter report they have “a lot” of stress in their lives, and close to half indicate they have “some.” Three percent said “none at all.” (Incidentally, the unemployment rate is about 4 percent.)
Common sources of stress for this group included the usual suspects — cost of living, health problems and trouble getting to sleep. Yet, I saw some issues in the report that made me think more than a few techies participated in the poll. These included:
- Too Many Things to Do. IT pros these days are expected to accomplish so many different things: Be an effective, technically proficient IT pro; keep up with what’s going on in the industry; learn how the business works; get certified; help co-workers with their computers in the office; help friends and family with their computers at home. And people wonder why so many techies seem to lack a social life?
- Problems with Work, Bosses and Fellow Workers. This comes with the territory of just about any job anywhere, but it can be especially difficult for IT professionals, who frequently have large workloads, short deadlines and unsympathetic superiors.
- Too Much Information to Process at One Time. This one needs no further elaboration.
The pressure brought on by these factors often is manifested in what some are now calling “desk rage.” Basically, it’s like road rage but with, you know, desks. These office outbursts are similar to the ones that take place behind the wheel — white-hot, sometimes profanity-laced tirades that are released following minor offenses but are really the result of a combination of mounting frustrations.
To their credit, the majority of IT professionals handle it all in stride. In fact, many of them thrive on stress. It’s part of what draws them to a technology career. But even the most dogged and determined go-getters have their limits, and in today’s working environment, those almost assuredly will be tested.
If you ever get to the point where you feel a desk rage episode coming on, excuse yourself and run, don’t walk, away from that scene and get to a location where you can really vent.
You can always offer a reason later on as to why you had to bail out of there, but you can’t afford to blow up like Mount St. Helens at work.
And as always, if you ever need to let off steam, you can come to us.
Certification Magazine offers our techie readers a place where they can sound off, whether it’s with their colleagues on our discussion boards at www.certmag.com/forums or directly to us at editor (at) certmag (dot) com.