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POLL: Were you happier before you started working in I.T.?

tomhudson (43916) writes | more than 2 years ago

The Almighty Buck 12

This story touches on some of the health problems in IT. While it might seem to focus on the effects of shift work, I think it's a lot more widespread.

Simply put, I.T. is the new sweatshop. Ask yourself, when all is said and done, were you happier before you started working in I.T.?

This story touches on some of the health problems in IT. While it might seem to focus on the effects of shift work, I think it's a lot more widespread.

Simply put, I.T. is the new sweatshop. Ask yourself, when all is said and done, were you happier before you started working in I.T.?

Looking back, I know I was. In the end, the extra hours, the nights and weekends lost and unappreciated, dealing with the STUPIDITY ... it wasn't worth it.

So, Were YOU happier before you worked in I.T.?

[_] Yes
[_] Hell, yes!
[_] There was a life before?
[_] What is this "life" you speak of?
[_] What is this "happiness" you speak of?
[_] Sorry, I haven't got time to reply - it's eternal crunch time here.
[_] In Soviet I.T., work IS life!
[_] Thanks for reminding me that I have no life, you insensitive b*tch!
[_] I'm going to continue to "tough it out" even if most days I want to slit my wrists!
[_] Help, I'm trapped in a code factory!
[_] I don't know how to do anything else any more, so I'm gritting my teeth and bearing it.
[_] I'm trapped - I can't afford to even try to do something else.

There is life after I.T. For the first time in decades, I have a decent tan, and I've been able to see relatives I haven't seen in 2 decades except at weddings and funerals. Looking back, I'd rather be broke than go back to a job as a dev. My resume now states clearly at the top "Not interested in any development job." Any code I write from now on will either be to "scratch an itch" or because someone is willing to pay enough to make it very interesting, and also to adhere to a proper methodology and schedule. And we all know that in this industry, in this economic environment, that second option just doesn't happen. Not that I care any more :-p

.

.

12 comments

Missing option: N/A (1)

plover (150551) | more than 2 years ago | (#36772144)

That's right, Not Applicable, because your "There was a life before?" option was obviously sarcasm. This question simply does not apply to me, as I was quite literally born into IT. As a small child (about age 4 or 5), one of my earliest vivid memories is that of playing ring-toss in the computer room at my dad's office, with a big box of the colorful write-enable rings [wikipedia.org] used on the 1/2" reel tapes. At age 6, I remember going in to work with my dad one Saturday, where he sat me down at his drafting table, gave me his IBM flowcharting template stencil and a pencil, and asked me to draw a flowchart of my normal day. I had start and end terminators labeled "wake up" and "go to bed", and diamond-shaped boxes for all the important 6-year-old decisions like "what to eat for breakfast?". At Christmas I received gifts like rolling-marble-operated state machines. By age 11, I was writing programs in BASIC on a Teletype at school, dialed into a mainframe. At 12, I learned to write RPG-II on coding sheets, and punched them on 80 column cards. And at 13 I was hired into my first paid programming job.

So here I am, 36 years of professional programming experience stored behind my glasses, and I can still enjoy going to work in the mornings, and getting stuff done with a group of people I like. Well, maybe not every morning, and maybe not every person every day, but it's not bad. And even though I'm no longer a front-line coder I can still take the occasional opportunity to get my hands dirty in the code.

I keep an ancient plastic IBM flowchart template here on my desk at home, but mostly because it reminds me of my dad. I don't think I've drawn a rectangle with it in the last 17 years.

But my son has.

Re:Missing option: N/A (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 2 years ago | (#36772766)

My dad also did that with me! I remember drawing ASCII art on the IBM Mainfraimes when he was called in for an emergency and nobody could watch after me (mom 'n bro were out of town). I also have played with the flowchart templates.

I keep an ancient plastic IBM flowchart template here on my desk at home, but mostly because it reminds me of my dad. I don't think I've drawn a rectangle with it in the last 17 years.

That's one of the sweetest things I heard in a long time. Thanks for that.

Does my job count as IT? (1)

tqft (619476) | more than 2 years ago | (#36772218)

Part of my job involves writing VB6 code. I do use a lot of spreadsheets and spend my day in front of a computer.

Were YOU happier before you worked in I.T.?

[_] Yes
[_] Hell, yes!
[_] There was a life before?
[X] What is this "life" you speak of?
[_] What is this "happiness" you speak of?
[_] Sorry, I haven't got time to reply - it's eternal crunch time here.
[_] In Soviet I.T., work IS life!
[_] Thanks for reminding me that I have no life, you insensitive b*tch!
[_] I'm going to continue to "tough it out" even if most days I want to slit my wrists!
[_] Help, I'm trapped in a code factory!
[_] I don't know how to do anything else any more, so I'm gritting my teeth and bearing it.
[_] I'm trapped - I can't afford to even try to do something else.

When I was unemployed I had more time for other pursuits. But no money to pursue them and a lack of motivation to do much else except find a job. Now I have a temporary job I am still looking for work and working with less time for anything.

Grrr behind the paywall (I saw this in the paper in the coffee shop while scanning it for jobs)
"Light fades for the jobless"
PUBLISHED : 15 Jul 2011 00:03:20
http://www.afr.com/p/national/light_fades_for_the_jobless_RYtvN9jzrkYvtkjPPNQ86H [afr.com]

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CBcQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fafr.com%2Fp%2Fnational%2Flight_fades_for_the_jobless_RYtvN9jzrkYvtkjPPNQ86H&ei=T9MfTs2PJ4WNmQWs8qH2Bw&usg=AFQjCNEx8IHGDroNedeR-pshZw8QrFrRyA&sig2=iLAO3eR_ZFEGpppU-L68cQ [google.com]

Google search stats tracking behaviour wwhen unemployed - benefits, a job, useful things, porn.

Re:Does my job count as IT? (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#36773528)

VB? We feel your pain.

When I was unemployed I had more time for other pursuits. But no money to pursue them and a lack of motivation to do much else except find a job. Now I have a temporary job I am still looking for work and working with less time for anything.

"Aye, there's the rub!" The last time I was out of work, finding a job, and fixing up stuff so that I had lots to show for any interview, became an 80-hour-a-week task. This time, I refuse to get on that bandwagon. The jobs are disappearing (we lost another 15,000 full-time jobs here last month despite the claims of being into a "recovery"). This is 1981 all over again - but worse, because it's going to take until 2020 to resolve.

I enjoy writing code, but as a job, it's no longer a viable career here. So I'll use the opportunity to re-invent myself as a writer, work on my tan, and get a life again. What's the worst that can happen? If I fail, so what? Nobody will take me out back and shoot me who wasn't going to do that anyway, right? And you don't get anywhere if you don't try.

I'm also keeping open the option of relocating westward - but only WITH my dogs.

Difficult to answer (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 2 years ago | (#36772748)

[_] Yes
[_] Hell, yes!
[X] There was a life before?
[X] What is this "life" you speak of?
[X] What is this "happiness" you speak of?
[_] Sorry, I haven't got time to reply - it's eternal crunch time here.
[X] In Soviet I.T., work IS life!
[X] Thanks for reminding me that I have no life, you insensitive b*tch!
[_] I'm going to continue to "tough it out" even if most days I want to slit my wrists!
[_] Help, I'm trapped in a code factory!
[X] I don't know how to do anything else any more, so I'm gritting my teeth and bearing it.
[X] I'm trapped - I can't afford to even try to do something else.

It's a tough question. I have bits running through my bloodstream since I actually started doing hacking on computers, which would be around the time my dad got an IBM PS/2 Model 50, with a clear interest in computers even before that. I'm not 100% sure, but I have been "into" computers ever since that that I came back from summer camp and the PC was there (My mom, who helped out on the summer camp was furious because he bought it without her consent. She threatened to throw it out of the window, until she heard what it cost. About the price of a small car)

How old was I? I think 12, but there is no way to be certain without asking my dad (he probably still has the bill somewhere.. "Accountant oblige"). Given that I can barely remember anything from my school years (highly repressed memories..), it is impossible to remember much about the time before IT and computers entered my life. By the age of 15, I was the "computer kid" fixing other peoples computers.

As a matter of fact, I can't imagine doing anything else but IT. I have no exploitable skills whatsoever, I am effectively trapped in a prison of my own making.

Happiness? I don't think I ever truly was happy. Perhaps, short periods of time, but even then I can hardly remember those. Life is not a series of happy moments, it's a struggle, a fight, a series of problems to be solved, and when one problem is gone, the next pops up.

How about after leaving IT? (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 2 years ago | (#36773322)

I know I am happier now that I am no longer strictly in IT. My current position includes some IT roles but is primarily not actually an IT job.

It is a huge improvement, even though it doesn't pay as well as a regular IT job.

Good jobs are out there... (1)

pnutjam (523990) | more than 2 years ago | (#36773722)

Worked my way up from helpdesk, starting around 2000. Currently a Network Analyst which is much more end user support then I like. Maybe I will get back to System / Network Administration soon.

I truly enjoy working in IT. There are interesting challenges. I get to deal with almost everyone in the company. I get to make decisions that have real impact and I get to learn every day.

My last job was more intellectually stimulating, and I miss that, but it was also more hours and always on-call. Hourly pay made it bearable, I pulled down some nice OT.
Current job is less responsibility, but I actually have other people in my dept and I'm only on call once a month or so. I also work 7.5 hour days and still get overtime for on-call work (pretty rare around here). I get to pursue some of my own projects....
Work is usually enjoyable, but family is where the real fun is at. 4 young kids make every day an adventure.

Missing Option: (1)

RM6f9 (825298) | more than 2 years ago | (#36775200)

[X] Not necessarily happier *before*, but ECSTATIC *after*.

Yes, helping people really does feel that much better.

Re:Missing Option: (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#36792026)

For people who know the feeling of having to "decompress" after a bad stretch or a bad job, think of the "AFTER" as being the relief of decompressing 24-7, with the knowledge that it (the death marches, the crunch time, the massive ineptitude) will never happen again.

So for me, there's a bright side to my eyesight going - so far, it's not so bad that I can't write the occasional post, but coding as a job is history, so I don't have to worry about it any more.

None of the above (1)

Ruzty (46204) | more than 2 years ago | (#36775626)

Before: Lost, unfulfilled and flittering from one thing to the next as I enjoyed none of them.
After: Focused on something I love, working at a great company and 19 years of experience behind me that I enjoyed most of.

Sorry your experience is different but it doesn't project onto me.

Glad to hear! (1)

npsimons (32752) | more than 2 years ago | (#36828850)

I'm glad to hear you are happy. Maybe I'm too young, but I am still loving "I.T.", although the situation I'm in right now is not making me happy (Mathcad and VB are *not* my idea of a good time, nor will they be going on my resume). Maybe I'm just happy because I've been getting interview offers at places I would like to work when I haven't even been pushing my resume. Maybe I wouldn't be happy anywhere. But I'm fairly certain of one thing: I /really/ like writing code.

Happy trails and good luck in all you do!

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